Three Branches of Government
The Three Branches of Government include the executive, the legislative, and the judicial branches. Each branch has a special role in the function of the United States government and the running of the country. The three branches were established by the U.S. Constitution to separate the powers of government.
The Legislative Branch includes the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Senate is made up 100 senators, two from each state, elected by its citizens. Each senator serves six-year terms, but may serve consecutive terms. The Vice-President is the head of the Senate and only votes if there is a tie among the Senators. The Senate also approves nominations by the President to Cabinet, Supreme Court, federal courts and other positions. All treaties (agreements made with other countries) must be approved by a two-thirds vote.
The House of Representatives is made up of 435 elected officials elected from each of the 50 states with a number from each state based on the state's population. They are elected by its citizens and serves 2-year terms, and may also serve consecutive terms. The leader of the House is called the Speaker of the House and is elected by the representatives. Both the Senate and the House of Representatives must vote and ratify bills for them to become laws. They may also override Presidential vetoes of the laws that were passed.
The Executive Branch includes the President as the leader of the country, as well as the Vice-President. He or she is elected by the entire country to a 4-year term and may serve only two terms in office. The President approves and carries out laws passed by the Legislative Branch, though may also veto laws. The President also appoints or removes cabinet members, who are considered assistants to the President offer advice on running the country. They include the Secretary of Defense, Secretary of State, Attorney General, Secretary of Homeland Security and several others. The leader of the country also negotiates treaties, acts as head of state for the country, and is the commander of chief of the armed forces.
The Judicial Branch includes the Supreme Court, nine judges, who oversees the U.S. court system. The court consists of eight judges or justices, plus one chief justice, and there are no term limits; some justices serve until they die. They are nominated by the President, and approved by the Senate. The Supreme Court's responsibilities include explaining the meaning of the Constitution and laws, deciding whether something is constitutional or unconstitutional, meaning it is permitted or not permitted. They often decide new ways of interpreting a law, decides court cases, and settle court cases between 2 or more states.
In 1787, the writers of the Constitution did not want one person or a group of people to have complete power over the country and its citizens. The states' leaders wanted a national government that was strong, but also fair. They wanted individual freedoms protected, as well as preventing the government from abusing its powers. The Three Branches of Government is a system of checks and balances used to prevent this from occurring. This helps to make sure the power is shared by each branch.
The three branches of the government are expected to work together, cooperate, and do what is best for the citizens of the country. Each person in the government is elected by its citizens who must trust the leaders to manage the country as best as possible.
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