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The Checks and Balances System

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by

Anna V

on 24 April 2014

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Transcript of The Checks and Balances System

The
Checks
and
Balances
System

How does it work?
What can the different branches do?
in the United States
by Anna V, Darya P, and Anna K
In this lesson (Chapter 9.6):

Review and new vocabulary.
What is the checks and balances system?
How does it work?
What can the different branches do?
Why is it useful/important?

*You can ask clarification questions throughout the presentation, and we encourage that you take notes for the worksheet you will complete after this presentation.
What is the checks and balances system?
Why is this system useful and important?


The system of checks and balances is a very important part of the Constitution. The
checks and balances system
allows each of the three branches of government to limit the powers of the others, so that they do not become too powerful. This way, each branch has the same amount of power; in other words, the different
branches
have the same influence when it comes to making decisions. No important decision can be made by one branch without the approval of the other two. Each branch checks the power of the other branches to make sure that the
power is fairly distributed
and the decisions made are just.
What can the different branches do?
Works Cited
New Vocabulary and Review
Legislative branch
- The branch of US government in charge mainly of creating and debating laws or bills. It is also known as
Congress
, and is made up of the
Senate and the House of Representatives.

Executive branch
- The branch in charge of
enforcing laws
, mainly made up of the
president
, the departments and the agencies.

Judicial branch
- The branch in charge of
interpreting the laws
, made up of the Supreme Court and the lower federal courts.
Judicial review
is the ability of this branch to decide whether laws and acts of the other two branches are constitutional or not.

Constitution
- The document that acts as a basis for the United States's government, written in
1787
in the Constitutional Convention.

Checks and Balances
- The system that allows each
branch
of government to limit the power of the other two.

Veto
- The right
to reject
a decision made by another branch, mainly laws or bills.

Every branch has the power to block the actions of another branch. The legislative branch,
Congress
, can vote and pass bills. However, these bills cannot become laws until the executive branch, the
president
, approves and signs them. He has the power of
vetoing
, or rejecting, bills. The legislative branch can
override
this veto if they have a two-thirds majority in each house and believe that the president's actions are incorrect. Once laws are in action, if someone believes a law is unconstitutional, it can be brought upon the
Supreme Court
and rejected. In turn, the executive branch is the one responsible for nominating Supreme Court justices, and the legislative branch can approve or deny these. Also, the judicial branch has the power of rejecting treaties signed by the executive branch.
Legislative branch
(Senate and House of Representatives) - can override the president's vetoes and approve the appointment of Supreme Court judges.

Executive branch
(president) - can veto bills and nominate Supreme Court justices.

Judicial branch
(Supreme Court and lower courts) - can reject laws from the legislative branch that are unconstitutional and reject treaties from the executive branch.
As we already know, federal government is divided in three branches, all of them with
powers and responsibilities
that are unique to that branch. The executive branch enforces laws and signs treaties, the judicial branch interprets the law, and the legislative branch is responsible for creating the laws. These branches are
not "independent"
from each other, and can change what another branch has done. Every branch has some sort of control over the other two. This means that the executive branch can influence both the judicial and the legislative branch, the judicial branch can control both the legislative and the executive branch, and the legislative branch can change what has been done by the judicial and the executive branch. In a way, it is like a system of teamwork between the three sections of government.
The checks and balances system is an
essential
part of the government of the United States. It was developed in the
Constitutional Convention
by the framers of the Constitution, who were extremely concerned with the protection of every individual's
freedom
, but also with the building of a
strong central government
. They divided the government in three branches, but each of them had huge power and its own personal interests to defend. To ensure that one branch would not overpower and dominate the other, they created the checks and balances system. With this mechanism, originally developed in Greece, every one branch could limit the power of the other two, while also being controlled by them. No one decision can be put into action without the approval of the other two branches, as every branch can block the actions of the other two.
One of the delegates to the Constitutional Convention once stated,
"From the nature of man, we may be sure that those who have power in their hands... will always, when they can... increase it."
What do you think the delegate meant by this? Do you think it had an effect on the development of the checks and balances system?
"The Legislative Branch." The White House. The White House, n.d. Web. 03 Apr. 2014.
"The Executive Branch." Harry S. Truman - Library and Museum. National Archives and Records Administration, n.d. Web. 06 Apr. 2014.
"United States Government Information." Portland State University. Portland State University, n.d. Web. 04 Apr. 2014.
"The Constitution of the United States." EnchantedLearning.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Apr. 2014.
Hart, Diane, Bert Bower, and Jim Lobdell. "Chapter 9." History Alive! Palo Alto, CA: Teachers' Curriculum Institute, 2002. 165-77. Print.
Full transcript