The Three Branches of the United States Government

Executive Branch

Directing the government falls into the hands of the executive branch, headed by the president of the United States. If a law is created, the executive branch works to carry out the law, and in some cases, the president will recommend new legislation that would be beneficial to the country.

The president can veto laws that they don't want to be created. In matters of defense and national security, the president is the commander-in-chief and directs all branches of the armed forces. When the time comes to deal with foreign entities, the executive branch represents the United States.

The vice president is also part of the executive branch and is set to take the place of the president should something happen to them. The Cabinet is made up of the individuals who lead various federal agencies. These men and women are also part of the executive branch and serve to assist and advise the president.


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Legislative Branch

Congress is the legislative branch of the United States government. Made up of two groups, the Senate and the House of Representatives, the legislative branch works to create laws. The House of Representatives is comprised of 435 members, each serving a two-year term. States are allotted a number of seats in the House based on their population. All spending bills originate in the House of Representatives.

The Senate has 100 members, two from each state, with each person serving a six-year term. The Senate can approve treaties and impeach government officials who fail to uphold their duties. Sometimes, looking at the list of members of Congress can be like looking at a lawyer directory, since many of the people who serve in this branch have some type of legal background or experience.


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Judicial Branch

The Supreme Court is the head of the judiciary branch, with each justice of the Supreme Court holding the position until they step down, pass away, or are removed from office through the impeachment process by the Senate. In these situations, a Supreme Court justice would need to talk to a lawyer to represent them through the proceedings.

There are nine judges on the Supreme Court. One serves as the chief justice, while the others are considered associate justices. The role of the judicial branch is to interpret laws and make sure that they comply with the Constitution.


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U.S. Government Explained

  • Branches of Government: While set up like a quiz, this site offers several graphics that help enhance understanding of the different branches of government and the various tasks they perform.

 

 

 

 

  • Constitutional Conflicts: Separation of Powers: Sometimes the three branches of government need to keep an eye on each other to ensure that no one part is going against the Constitution of the United States. This site details how this unique relationship works.

 

 

  • The Legal System in the United States: This worksheet details each of the branches of government with diagrams and charts, while offering exercises to complete to enhance understanding.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Balancing Powers in Government: There's a reason that no one person is in charge of the United States. This article details some of the reasons for balancing power between multiple groups.

 

 

  • An Overview of the U.S. Government: Each of the branches is featured on this site. The organization of the article helps to understand the various powers each of the branches possess.

This article was last updated on Tuesday, October 10, 2017.