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Three Branches of Government

Three Branches of Government

The three branches of the U.S. According to the doctrine of separation of powers, the U.S. Constitution distributed the power of the federal government among these three branches, and built a system of checks and balances to ensure that no one branch could become too powerful.

Separation of Powers

The Enlightenment philosopher Montesquieu coined the phrase “trias politica,” or separation of powers, in his influential 18th-century work “Spirit of the Laws.” His concept of a government divided into legislative, executive and judicial branches acting independently of each other inspired the framers of the U.S. Constitution, who vehemently opposed concentrating too much power in any one body of government.

In the Federalist Papers, James Madison wrote of the necessity of the separation of powers to the new nation’s democratic government: “The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elected, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.”

Legislative Branch

According to Article I of the Constitution, the legislative branch (the U.S. Congress) has the primary power to make the country’s laws. This legislative power is divided further into the two chambers, or houses, of Congress: the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Members of Congress are elected by the people of the United States. While each state gets the same number of senators (two) to represent it, the number of representatives for each state is based on the state’s population.

Therefore, while there are 100 senators, there are 435 elected members of the House, plus an additional six non-voting delegates who represent the District of Columbia as well as Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories.

In order to pass an act of legislation, both houses must pass the same version of a bill by majority vote. Once that happens, the bill goes to the president, who can either sign it into law or reject it using the veto power assigned in the Constitution.

In the case of a regular veto, Congress can override the veto by a two-thirds vote of both houses. Both the veto power and Congress’ ability to override a veto are examples of the system of checks and balances intended by the Constitution to prevent any one branch from gaining too much power.

Executive Branch

Article II of the Constitution states that the executive branch, with the president as its head, has the power to enforce or carry out the laws of the nation.

In addition to the president, who is the commander in chief of the armed forces and head of state, the executive branch includes the vice president and the Cabinet; the State Department, Defense Department and 13 other executive departments; and various other federal agencies, commissions and committees.

Unlike members of Congress, the president and vice president are not elected directly by the people every four years, but through the electoral college system. People vote to select a slate of electors, and each elector pledges to cast his or her vote for the candidate who gets the most votes from the people they represent.

In addition to signing (or vetoing) legislation, the president can influence the country’s laws through various executive actions, including executive orders, presidential memoranda and proclamations. The executive branch is also responsible for carrying out the nation’s foreign policy and conducting diplomacy with other countries, though the Senate must ratify any treaties with foreign nations.

Judicial Branch

Article III decreed that the nation’s judicial power, to apply and interpret the laws, should be vested in “one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.”

The Constitution didn’t specify the powers of the Supreme Court or explain how the judicial branch should be organized, and for a time the judiciary took a back seat to the other branches of government.

But that all changed with Marbury v. Madison, an 1803 milestone case that established the Supreme Court’s power of judicial review, by which it determines the constitutionality of executive and legislative acts. Judicial review is another key example of the checks and balances system in action.

Members of the federal judiciary—which includes the Supreme Court, 13 U.S. Courts of Appeals and 94 federal judicial district courts—are nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate. Federal judges hold their seats until they resign, die or are removed from office through impeachment by Congress.

Implied Powers of the Three Branches of Government

In addition to the specific powers of each branch that are enumerated in the Constitution, each branch has claimed certain implied powers, many of which can overlap at times. For example, presidents have claimed exclusive right to make foreign policy, without consultation with Congress.

In turn, Congress has enacted legislation that specifically defines how the law should be administered by the executive branch, while federal courts have interpreted laws in ways that Congress did not intend, drawing accusations of “legislating from the bench.”

The powers granted to Congress by the Constitution expanded greatly after the Supreme Court ruled in the 1819 case McCulloch v. Maryland that the Constitution fails to spell out every power granted to Congress.

Since then, the legislative branch has often assumed additional implied powers under the “necessary and proper clause” or “elastic clause” included in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution.

Checks and Balances

“In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty is this: You must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place, oblige it to control itself,” James Madison wrote in the Federalist Papers. To ensure that all three branches of government remain in balance, each branch has powers that can be checked by the other two branches. Here are ways that the executive, judiciary, and legislative branches keep one another in line:

· The president (head of the executive branch) serves as commander in chief of the military forces, but Congress (legislative branch) appropriates funds for the military and votes to declare war. In addition, the Senate must ratify any peace treaties.

· Congress has the power of the purse, as it controls the money used to fund any executive actions.

· The president nominates federal officials, but the Senate confirms those nominations.

· Within the legislative branch, each house of Congress serves as a check on possible abuses of power by the other. Both the House of Representatives and the Senate have to pass a bill in the same form for it to become law.

· Once Congress has passed a bill, the president has the power to veto that bill. In turn, Congress can override a regular presidential veto by a two-thirds vote of both houses.

· The Supreme Court and other federal courts (judicial branch) can declare laws or presidential actions unconstitutional, in a process known as judicial review.

· In turn, the president checks the judiciary through the power of appointment, which can be used to change the direction of the federal courts

· By passing amendments to the Constitution, Congress can effectively check the decisions of the Supreme Court.

· Congress can impeach both members of the executive and judicial branches.

Sources

Separation of Powers, The Oxford Guide to the United States Government.
Branches of Government, USA.gov.
Separation of Powers: An Overview, National Conference of State Legislatures.


Fact check: How often one party has controlled the federal government

WHO SAID IT: A Republic reader.

THE COMMENT: "With the inauguration of the next president and his appointment to fill the Supreme Court vacancy, this will be the first time since 1929 that one party controlled the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government at the same time."

THE FORUM: A letter to the editor in the Nov. 20 edition of The Republic.

WHAT WE'RE LOOKING AT: Whether 1929 was the last year one party controlled all three branches of the federal government.

The letter to the editor was written after November's election determined Republican Donald Trump would win the White House, giving the party control of the executive branch, and the GOP would continue in the majority in the U.S. House and Senate, thus controlling the legislative branch. A vacancy on the Supreme Court will allow Republicans to also gain a majority there and control of the judicial branch.

The letter implied that one-party dominance of all three branches of the federal government led to the Great Depression. A letter responding to that reader questioned the claim, saying Democrats controlled all three branches from 2009 to 2011.

It turns out both letter-writers are wrong. Here's what records kept by the White House and Congress, and InsideGov.com's analysis of Supreme Court divisions show:

  • Between 2001 and 2007, Republicans controlled at certain points all three branches while President George W. Bush occupied the White House. GOP control was interrupted between 2001 and 2003, as the Senate majority flipped to the Democrats as one senator switched his party affiliation, one senator died, and when the 2002 midterm elections shifted control of the upper chamber.
  • From 1961-1969, Democrats controlled all three branches during the administrations of Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson.
  • The 83rd Congress (1953-1955), during the presidency of Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower, saw the deaths of nine senators and the resignation of one. These changes shifted the balance of power in the Senate with each new replacement, according to the U.S. Senate website. When Republicans held the Senate majority during those years, all branches of government were under Republican-control, as the party also held the White House and Supreme Court.
  • From 1937-1945, Democrats controlled all three branches of government during the administrations of Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman.
  • And from 1927-1933, Republicans controlled all three branches of the government when Presidents Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover occupied the White House.

The other letter-writer's claim about one-party domination of all branches between 2009 and 2011 is also incorrect. Democrats did control the White House and Congress during those years, but the Supreme Court had at least five Republican justices, even after Democrat Elena Kagan replaced Republican John Paul Stevens in 2010.

It’s worth noting that although presidents appoint Supreme Court justices, their appointees don’t always perform as presidents expect. As a result, the Supreme Court is not as partisan as the other branches.

Two famous examples are Justices Earl Warren and William Brennan, who were appointed by Republican Dwight Eisenhower in the 1950s.

Those justices took consistently liberal stances in the court, much to Eisenhower’s dismay. Eisenhower is sometimes said to have complained, "I have made two mistakes, and they are both sitting on the Supreme Court." Biographers have long debated whether Eisenhower actually said it.

BOTTOM LINE: The last year one party controlled all three branches of the federal government was 2007, when Republicans held the White House, both chambers of Congress and a majority on the Supreme Court. Democrats or Republicans have controlled all three branches at various other points since 1929.


Legislative

The legislative branch of government is composed of the State Assembly, the State Senate, and several other departments. Together they are the principle law-making powers in the state. The Legislature will propose, analyze, and debate over 6,000 bills in a single two-year session.

The State Assembly is made up of 80 members and are elected to two-year terms while the State Senate is made up of 40 members and are elected to four-year terms with one-half reelected every two years. Assembly and Senate districts are apportioned on the basis of population.

Prior to their election, Legislative candidates must be over the age of eighteen, United States citizens, a resident of California for at least three years, and live in the district which they represent for one year.


Contents

Antiquity Edit

Aristotle first mentioned the idea of a "mixed government" or hybrid government in his work Politics, where he drew upon many of the constitutional forms in the city-states of Ancient Greece. In the Roman Republic, the Roman Senate, Consuls and the Assemblies showed an example of a mixed government according to Polybius (Histories, Book 6, 11–13). It was Polybius who described and explained the system of checks and balances in detail, crediting Lycurgus of Sparta with the first government of this kind. [1]

Early modern mixed government in England and its colonies Edit

John Calvin (1509–1564) favoured a system of government that divided political power between democracy and aristocracy (mixed government). Calvin appreciated the advantages of democracy, stating: "It is an invaluable gift if God allows a people to elect its own government and magistrates." [2] In order to reduce the danger of misuse of political power, Calvin suggested setting up several political institutions that should complement and control each other in a system of checks and balances. [3]

In this way, Calvin and his followers resisted political absolutism and furthered the growth of democracy. Calvin aimed to protect the rights and the well-being of ordinary people. [4] [ need quotation to verify ] In 1620 a group of English separatist Congregationalists and Anglicans (later known as the Pilgrim Fathers) founded Plymouth Colony in North America. Enjoying self-rule, they established a bipartite democratic system of government. The "freemen" elected the General Court, which functioned as legislature and judiciary and which in turn elected a governor, who together with his seven "assistants" served in the functional role of providing executive power. [5] Massachusetts Bay Colony (founded 1628), Rhode Island (1636), Connecticut (1636), New Jersey, and Pennsylvania had similar constitutions – they all separated political powers. (Except for Plymouth Colony and Massachusetts Bay Colony, these English outposts added religious freedom to their democratic systems, an important step towards the development of human rights. [6] [7] ) Books like William Bradford's Of Plymouth Plantation (written between 1630 and 1651) were widely read in England. [ citation needed ] So the form of government in the colonies was well known in the mother country, including to the philosopher John Locke (1632–1704). He deduced from a study of the English constitutional system the advantages of dividing political power into the legislative (which should be distributed among several bodies, for example, the House of Lords and the House of Commons), on the one hand, and the executive and federative power, responsible for the protection of the country and prerogative of the monarch, on the other hand. (The Kingdom of England had no written constitution.) [8] [ need quotation to verify ] [9]

Tripartite System Edit

During the English Civil War, the parliamentarians viewed the English system of government as composed of three branches - the King, the House of Lords and the House of Commons - where the first should have executive powers only, and the latter two legislative powers. One of the first documents proposing a tripartite system of separation of powers was the Instrument of Government, written by the English general John Lambert in 1653, and soon adopted as the constitution of England for few years during The Protectorate. The system comprised a legislative branch (the Parliament) and two executive branches, the English Council of State and the Lord Protector, all being elected (though the Lord Protector was elected for life) and having checks upon each other. [10]

A further development in English thought was the idea that the judicial powers should be separated from the executive branch. This followed the use of the juridical system by the Crown to prosecute opposition leaders following the Restoration, in the late years of Charles II and during the short reign of James II (namely, during the 1680s). [11]

The first constitutional document to establish the principle of the separation of powers in government between the legislative, executive, and judiciary branches were Pacts and Constitutions of Rights and Freedoms of the Zaporizhian Host written in 1710 by Ukrainian Hetman Pylyp Orlyk. [12] [ verification needed ]

John Locke's legislative, executive and federative powers Edit

An earlier forerunner to Montesquieu's tripartite system was articulated by John Locke in his work Two Treatises of Government (1690). [13] In the Two Treatises, Locke distinguished between legislative, executive, and federative power. Locke defined legislative power as having ". the right to direct how the force of the commonwealth shall be employed" (2nd Tr., § 143), while executive power entailed the "execution of the laws that are made, and remain in force" (2nd Tr., § 144). Locke further distinguished federative power, which entailed "the power of war and peace, leagues and alliances, and all transactions with all persons and communities without [outside] the commonwealth" (2nd Tr., § 145), or what is now known as foreign policy. Locke distinguishes between separate powers but not discretely separate institutions, and notes that one body or person can share in two or more of the powers. [14] For instance, Locke noted that while the executive and federative powers are different, they are often combined in a single institution (2nd Tr., § 148).

Locke believed that the legislative power was supreme over the executive and federative powers, which are subordinate. [15] Locke reasoned that the legislative was supreme because it has law-giving authority "[F]or what can give laws to another, must needs be superior to him" (2nd Tr., §150). According to Locke, legislative power derives its authority from the people, who have the right to make and unmake the legislature: [16]

And when the people have said we will submit to rules, and be governed by laws made by such men. nobody else can say other men shall make laws for them nor can the people be bound by any laws but as such as are enacted by those whom they have chosen, and authorized to make laws for them.

Locke maintains that there are restrictions on the legislative power. Locke says that the legislature cannot govern arbitrarily, cannot levy taxes or confiscate property without the consent of the governed (cf. "No taxation without representation"), and cannot transfer its law-making powers to another body, known as the nondelegation doctrine (2nd Tr., §142).

Montesquieu's separation of powers system Edit

The term "tripartite system" is commonly ascribed to French Enlightenment political philosopher Baron de Montesquieu, although he did not use such a term but referred to "distribution" of powers. In The Spirit of the Laws (1748), [17] Montesquieu described the various forms of distribution of political power among a legislature, an executive, and a judiciary. Montesquieu's approach was to present and defend a form of government whose powers were not excessively centralized in a single monarch or similar ruler (a form known then as "aristocracy"). He based this model on the Constitution of the Roman Republic and the British constitutional system. Montesquieu took the view that the Roman Republic had powers separated so that no one could usurp complete power. [18] [19] [20] In the British constitutional system, Montesquieu discerned a separation of powers among the monarch, Parliament, and the courts of law. [21]

In every government there are three sorts of power: the legislative the executive in respect to things dependent on the law of nations and the executive in regard to matters that depend on the civil law.

By virtue of the first, the prince or magistrate enacts temporary or perpetual laws, and amends or abrogates those that have been already enacted. By the second, he makes peace or war, sends or receives embassies, establishes the public security, and provides against invasions. By the third, he punishes criminals, or determines the disputes that arise between individuals. The latter we shall call the judiciary power, and the other simply the executive power of the state.

Montesquieu argues that each Power should only exercise its own functions. He was quite explicit here: [22]

When the legislative and executive powers are united in the same person, or in the same body of magistrates, there can be no liberty because apprehensions may arise, lest the same monarch or senate should enact tyrannical laws, to execute them in a tyrannical manner.

Again, there is no liberty, if the judiciary power be not separated from the legislative and executive. Were it joined with the legislative, the life and liberty of the subject would be exposed to arbitrary control for the judge would be then the legislator. Were it joined to the executive power, the judge might behave with violence and oppression.

There would be an end of everything, were the same man or the same body, whether of the nobles or of the people, to exercise those three powers, that of enacting laws, that of executing the public resolutions, and of trying the causes of individuals.

Separation of powers requires a different source of legitimization, or a different act of legitimization from the same source, for each of the separate powers. If the legislative branch appoints the executive and judicial powers, as Montesquieu indicated, there will be no separation or division of its powers, since the power to appoint carries with it the power to revoke. [23]

The executive power ought to be in the hands of a monarch, because this branch of government, having need of despatch, is better administered by one than by many: on the other hand, whatever depends on the legislative power is oftentimes better regulated by many than by a single person.

But if there were no monarch, and the executive power should be committed to a certain number of persons selected from the legislative body, there would be an end then of liberty by reason the two powers would be united, as the same persons would sometimes possess, and would be always able to possess, a share in both.

Montesquieu actually specified that the independence of the judiciary has to be real, and not merely apparent. [24] The judiciary was generally seen as the most important of the three powers, independent and unchecked. [25]

Checks and balances Edit

The principle of checks and balances has come to be thought of only in terms of limiting or checking each branch and has power to limit or check the other two, which creates a balance between the three separate branches of the state. This principle induces one branch to prevent either of the other branches from becoming supreme, thereby securing political liberty. However, Polybius, who historically introduced Montesquieu, John Locke, the founding fathers of the United States and many others to this principle intended "a state of equilibrium" (p.311) whereby "the whole situation remains in equilibrium since any aggressive impulse is checked" (p.318) and referred to the entire constitution of the state, which he indicates is not just a balance between e.g. the roman consuls, senate, tribunes, [numerous times] "the people", who do check one another and are interdependent on one another (p. 318) but as much a reference to a "division of powers" between the kingship [Plato before him "the executive" [26] ], aristocracy, and democracy of whom "it is clear that we should regard as the best constitution one which includes elements of all three species this has been proved not only in theory by in practice. "(p.303) [1]

Immanuel Kant was an advocate of this, noting that "the problem of setting up a state can be solved even by a nation of devils" so long as they possess an appropriate constitution to pit opposing factions against each other. [27] Checks and balances are designed to maintain the system of separation of powers keeping each branch in its place. The idea is that it is not enough to separate the powers and guarantee their independence but the branches need to have the constitutional means to defend their own legitimate powers from the encroachments of the other branches. [28] They guarantee that the branches have the same level of power (co-equal), that is, are balanced, so that they can limit each other, avoiding the abuse of power. The origin of checks and balances, like separation of powers itself, is specifically credited to Montesquieu in the Enlightenment (in The Spirit of the Laws, 1748). Under this influence it was implemented in 1787 in the Constitution of the United States.

The following example of the separation of powers and their mutual checks and balances from the experience of the United States Constitution is presented as illustrative of the general principles applied in similar forms of government as well: [29]

But the great security against a gradual concentration of the several powers in the same department, consists in giving to those who administer each department the necessary constitutional means and personal motives to resist encroachments of the others. The provision for defense must in this, as in all other cases, be made commensurate to the danger of attack. Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. The interest of the man must be connected with the constitutional rights of the place. It may be a reflection on human nature, that such devices should be necessary to control the abuses of government. But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed and in the next place oblige it to control itself.

A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions. This policy of supplying, by opposite and rival interests, the defect of better motives, might be traced through the whole system of human affairs, private as well as public. We see it particularly displayed in all the subordinate distributions of power, where the constant aim is to divide and arrange the several offices in such a manner as that each may be a check on the other that the private interest of every individual may be a sentinel over the public rights. These inventions of prudence cannot be less requisite in the distribution of the supreme powers of the State.

  • Passes bills has broad taxing and spending power regulates inter-state commerce controls the federal budget has power to borrow money on the credit of the United States (may be vetoed by President, but vetoes may be overridden with a two-thirds vote of both houses)
  • Has sole power to declare war, as well as to raise, support, and regulate the military.
  • Oversees, investigates, and makes the rules for the government and its officers.
  • Defines by law the jurisdiction of the federal judiciary in cases not specified by the Constitution.
  • Ratification of treaties signed by the President and gives advice and consent to presidential appointments to the federal judiciary, federal executive departments, and other posts (Senate only). [note 1]
  • Has sole power of impeachment (House of Representatives) and trial of impeachments (Senate) can remove federal executive and judicial officers from office for high crimes and misdemeanors
  • Is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces
  • Executes the instructions of Congress.
  • May veto bills passed by Congress (but the veto may be overridden by a two-thirds majority of both houses)
  • Executes the spending authorized by Congress.
  • Declares states of emergency and publishes regulations and executive orders.
  • Makes executive agreements (does not require ratification) and signs treaties (ratification requiring approval by two-thirds of the Senate)
  • Makes appointments to the federal judiciary, federal executive departments, and other posts with the advice and consent of the Senate. Has power to make temporary appointment during the recess of the Senate
  • Has the power to grant "reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment."
  • Determines which laws Congress intended to apply to any given case
  • Exercises judicial review, reviewing the constitutionality of laws
  • Determines how Congress meant the law to apply to disputes
  • Determines how a law acts to determine the disposition of prisoners
  • Determines how a law acts to compel testimony and the production of evidence
  • Determines how laws should be interpreted to assure uniform policies in a top-down fashion via the appeals process, but gives discretion in individual cases to low-level judges. The amount of discretion depends upon the standard of review, determined by the type of case in question.

Constitutions with a high degree of separation of powers are found worldwide. A number of Latin American countries have electoral branches of government.

The Westminster system is distinguished by a particular entwining of powers, [30] such as in New Zealand and Canada. Canada makes limited use of separation of powers in practice, although in theory it distinguishes between branches of government. New Zealand's constitution is based on the principle of separation of powers through a series of constitutional safeguards, many of which are tacit. The Executive's ability to carry out decisions often depends on the Legislature, which is elected under the mixed member proportional system. This means the government is rarely a single party but a coalition of parties. The Judiciary is also free of government interference. If a series of judicial decisions result in an interpretation of the law which the Executive considers does not reflect the intention of the policy, the Executive can initiate changes to the legislation in question through the Legislature. The Executive cannot direct or request a judicial officer to revise or reconsider a decision decisions are final. Should there be a dispute between the Executive and Judiciary, the Executive has no authority to direct the Judiciary, or its individual members and vice versa.

Complete separation of powers systems are almost always presidential, although theoretically this need not be the case. There are a few historical exceptions, such as the Directoire system of revolutionary France. Switzerland offers an example of non-Presidential separation of powers today: It is run by a seven-member executive branch, the Federal Council. However, some might argue [ weasel words ] that Switzerland does not have a strong separation of powers system as the Federal Council is appointed by parliament (but not dependent on parliament) and, although the judiciary has no power of review, the judiciary is still separate from the other branches.

Typical branches Edit

Additional branches Edit

Three branches Edit

Australia Edit

Australia does not maintain a strict separation between the legislative and executive branches of government—indeed, government ministers are required to be members of parliament—but the federal judiciary strictly guards its independence from the other two branches. However, under influence from the U.S. constitution, the Australian constitution does define the three branches of government separately, which has been interpreted by the judiciary to induce an implicit separation of powers. [31] State governments have a similar level of separation of power but this is generally on the basis of convention, rather than constitution.

Austria Edit

The Constitution of Austria was originally written by Hans Kelsen, a prominent constitutional scholar in Europe at that time. Kelsen was to serve as a part of the judicial court of review for Austria as part of its tripartite government.

Czech Republic Edit

The Constitution of the Czech Republic, adopted in 1992 immediately before the dissolution of Czechoslovakia, establishes the traditional tripartite division of powers [32] and continues the tradition of its predecessor constitutions. The Czechoslovak Constitution of 1920, which replaced the provisional constitution adopted by the newly independent state in 1918, was modelled after the constitutions of established democracies such as those of the United Kingdom, United States and France, and maintained this division, [33] as have subsequent changes to the constitution that followed in 1948 with the Ninth-of-May Constitution, the 1960 Constitution of Czechoslovakia as well as the Constitutional Act on the Czechoslovak Federation of 1968.

Denmark Edit

France Edit

According to the Constitution of the Fifth Republic, the government of France [34] is divided into three branches:

  • Executive. This includes the popularly elected president as well as the prime minister and cabinet. The French Prime minister is nominated by the president, but the government is responsible to the lower house of the legislature, the National Assembly. . A bicameral legislature that includes the Senate (upper house) and the National Assembly (lower house). The relationship between the two houses is asymmetric, meaning that in case of dispute, the National Assembly has the final word according to Article 45 [35] of the Constitution. . This includes the judicial and administrative orders. It also includes a constitutional court.

Hong Kong Edit

Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region established in 1997 pursuant to the Sino-British Joint Declaration, an international treaty made between Britain and China in 1984, registered with the United Nations. The Hong Kong Basic Law, a national law of China that serves as the de facto constitution, divides the government into Executive, Legislative, and Judicial bodies. [36]

However, according to the former Secretary for Security, Regina Ip, also a current member of the Executive Council(ExCo) and Legislative Council of Hong Kong, Hong Kong never practices Separation of Powers after the handover of Hong Kong back to China. [37]

Nevertheless, Hong Kong’s policy was decided by the Governor in Council before 1997, and it became the Chief Executive in Council afterwards. No matter when, some members of the Executive Council are also members of the Legislative Council. When the same person holds positions in the executive and legislative branches at the same time, the two powers are integrated rather than separated, and so it does not constitute a strict separation of powers, it is because checks and balances has been lost. This institutional practice existed long before 1997 during the British rule and has been followed ever since. [ citation needed ]

India Edit

India follows constitutional democracy which offers a clear separation of powers. The judiciary is independent of the other two branches with the power to interpret the constitution. Parliament has the legislative powers. Executive powers are vested in the President who is advised by the Union Council of Ministers headed by the Prime Minister. The constitution of India vested the duty of protecting, preserving and defending the constitution with the President as common head of the executive, parliament, armed forces, etc.—not only for the union government but also the various state governments in a federal structure. All three branches have "checks and balances" over each other to maintain the balance of power and not to exceed the constitutional limits. [38]

  • President can set aside a law passed by the legislative or an advise given by the Union Council of Ministers when it is inconsistent with the constitution of India.
  • Even if the president accepts a law passed duly by the legislative, it can be repealed by the Supreme Court after a fair trial if it is against the Basic structure of the constitution. Any citizen of India can approach the Supreme Court directly to repeal the unconstitutional laws made by the legislative or executive.
  • President can be removed from office for unconstitutional decisions after an impeachment trial conducted by the parliament.
  • President can be removed by Supreme Court of India under article 71(1) for electoral malpractice or on the grounds of losing eligibility for the position.
  • Parliament can impeach judges of Supreme Court and High Courts of states for their incompetence and mala fides. A higher bench of judges can set aside the incorrect judgements of a smaller bench of judges to uphold the constitution.

Iran Edit

  • Government – Executive
  • The legislature of Islamic Republic of Iran – Legislative
  • Judicial system – Judicial

Ireland Edit

  • Oireachtas – legislature
  • Taoiseach, Cabinet, Government Departments – executive
  • High Court and lower courts – judiciary

Italy Edit

In Italy the powers are separated, even though the Council of Ministers needs a vote of confidence from both chambers of Parliament (which represents a large number of members, almost 1,000). [39]

Like every parliamentary form of government, there is no complete separation between Legislature and Executive, rather a continuum between them due to the confidence link. The balance between these two branches is protected by Constitution [40] and between them and the judiciary, which is really independent.

Malaysia Edit

  • Parliament – legislature
  • Prime Minister, Cabinet, Government Departments and Civil Service – executive
  • Federal Courts and lower courts – judiciary

Netherlands Edit

Nepal Edit

  • Legislative Parliament – Legislature
  • Prime Minister, Cabinet of Minister and Government Departments – Executive
  • Supreme Court – Judiciary

Norway Edit

    – legislature
  • The King, Prime Minister, Cabinet of Norway, Government Departments and Civil Service – executive
  • The Supreme Court, High Courts and lower courts – judiciary

A note on the status of separation of power, checks and balances, and balance of power in Norway today. [41]

In the original constitution of 1814 the Montesquieu concept was enshrined, and the people at the time had the same skepticism about political parties as the American founding fathers and the revolutionaries in France. Nor did people really want to get rid of the king and the Council of State (privy council). King and council was a known concept that people had lived with for a long time and for the most part were comfortable with. The 1814 constitution came about as a reaction to external events, most notable the Treaty of Kiel (see 1814 in Norway). There was no revolution against the current powers, as had been the case in the U.S. and France.

As there was no election of the executive, the king reigned supremely independent in selecting the members of the Council of State, no formal political parties formed until the 1880s. A conflict between the executive and legislature started developing in the 1870s and climaxed with the legislature impeaching the entire Council of State in 1884 (see Statsrådssaken [Norwegian Wikipedia page]). With this came a switch to a parliamentary system of government. While the full process took decades, it has led to a system of parliamentary sovereignty, where the Montesquieu idea of separation of powers is technically dead even though the three branches remain important institutions.

This does not mean that there are no checks and balances. With the introduction of a parliamentary system, political parties started to form quickly, which led to a call for electoral reform that saw the introduction of Party-list proportional representation in 1918. The peculiarities of the Norwegian election system generate 6–8 parties and make it extremely difficult for a single party to gain an absolute majority. It has only occurred for a brief period in the aftermath of World War II where the Labour Party had an absolute majority.

A multi-party system parliament that must either form a minority executive or a coalition executive functions as a perfectly good system of checks and balances even if it was never a stated goal for the introduction of multiparty system. The multiparty system came about in response to a public outcry of having too few parties and a general feeling of a lack of representation. For this reason, very little on the topic of separation of powers or checks and balances can be found in the works of Norwegian political sciences today.

Pakistan Edit

Philippines Edit

  • Legislative Department: bicameral Congress (Senate, House of Representatives)
  • Executive Department: President, Vice President, and the Cabinet
  • Judicial Department: Supreme Court and other courts

In addition, the 1987 Philippine Constitution provides for three independent Constitutional Commissions:

Other Independent Constitutional Bodies:

Turkey Edit

United Kingdom Edit

  • Parliament – legislature
  • Prime Minister, Cabinet, Government Departments and Civil Service – executive
  • Courts – judiciary

The development of the British constitution, which is not a codified document, is based on fusion in the person of the Monarch, who has a formal role to play in the legislature (Parliament, which is where legal and political sovereignty lies, is the Crown-in-Parliament, and is summoned and dissolved by the Sovereign who must give his or her Royal Assent to all Bills so that they become Acts), the executive (the Sovereign appoints all ministers of His/Her Majesty's Government, who govern in the name of the Crown) and the judiciary (the Sovereign, as the fount of justice, appoints all senior judges, and all public prosecutions are brought in his or her name).

Although the doctrine of separation of power plays a role in the United Kingdom's constitutional life, the constitution is often described as having "a weak separation of powers" (A. V. Dicey) despite it being the one to which Montesquieu originally referred. For example, the executive forms a subset of the legislature, as did—to a lesser extent—the judiciary until the establishment of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister, the Chief Executive, sits as a member of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, either as a peer in the House of Lords or as an elected member of the House of Commons (by convention, and as a result of the supremacy of the Lower House, the Prime Minister now sits in the House of Commons). Furthermore, while the courts in the United Kingdom are amongst the most independent in the world, [ citation needed ] the Law Lords, who were the final arbiters of most judicial disputes in the U.K. sat simultaneously in the House of Lords, the upper house of the legislature, although this arrangement ceased in 2009 when the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom came into existence. Furthermore, because of the existence of Parliamentary sovereignty, while the theory of separation of powers may be studied there, a system such as that of the U.K. is more accurately described as a "fusion of powers". [ citation needed ]

Until 2005, the Lord Chancellor fused in his person the Legislature, Executive and Judiciary, as he was the ex officio Speaker of the House of Lords, a Government Minister who sat in Cabinet and was head of the Lord Chancellor's Department, which administered the courts, the justice system and appointed judges, and was the head of the Judiciary in England and Wales and sat as a judge on the Judicial Committee of the House of Lords, the highest domestic court in the entire United Kingdom, and the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, the senior tribunal court for parts of the Commonwealth. The Lord Chancellor also had certain other judicial positions, including being a judge in the Court of Appeal and President of the Chancery Division. The Lord Chancellor combines other aspects of the constitution, including having certain ecclesiastical functions of the established state church, making certain church appointments, nominations and sitting as one of the thirty-three Church Commissioners. These functions remain intact and unaffected by the Constitutional Reform Act. In 2005, the Constitutional Reform Act separated the powers with Legislative functions going to an elected Lord Speaker and the Judicial functions going to the Lord Chief Justice. The Lord Chancellor's Department was replaced with a Ministry of Justice and the Lord Chancellor currently serves in the position of Secretary of State for Justice.

The judiciary has no power to strike down primary legislation, and can only rule on secondary legislation that it is invalid with regard to the primary legislation if necessary.

Under the concept of parliamentary sovereignty, Parliament can enact any primary legislation it chooses. However, the concept immediately becomes problematic when the question is asked, "If parliament can do anything, can it bind its successors?" It is generally held that parliament can do no such thing.

Equally, while statute takes precedence over precedent-derived common law and the judiciary has no power to strike down primary legislation, there are certain cases where the supreme judicature has effected an injunction against the application of an act or reliance on its authority by the civil service. The seminal example of this is the Factortame case, where the House of Lords granted such an injunction preventing the operation of the Merchant Shipping Act 1988 until litigation in the European Court of Justice had been resolved.

The House of Lords ruling in Factortame (No. 1), approving the European Court of Justice formulation that "a national court which, in a case before it concerning Community law, considers that the sole obstacle which precludes it from granting interim relief is a rule of national law, must disapply that rule", has created an implicit tiering of legislative reviewability the only way for parliament to prevent the supreme judicature from injunctively striking out a law on the basis of incompatibility with Community law is to pass an act specifically removing that power from the court, or by repealing the European Communities Act 1972.

The British legal systems are based on common law traditions, which require:

    or regulators cannot initiate complaints under criminal law but can only investigate (prosecution is mostly reserved for the Crown Prosecution Service), which prevents selective enforcement—e.g., the "fishing expedition," which is often specifically forbidden. cannot withhold evidence from counsel for the defendant to do so results in mistrial or dismissal. Accordingly, their relation to police is no advantage. convicted can appeal, but only fresh and compelling evidence not available at trial can be introduced, restricting the power of the court of appeal to the process of law applied.

United States Edit

Separation of powers was first established in the United States Constitution, wherein the founding fathers included features of many new concepts, including hard-learned historical lessons about the checks and balances of power. Similar concepts were also prominent in the state governments of the United States. As colonies of Great Britain, the founding fathers considered that the American states had suffered an abuse of the broad power of parliamentarism and monarchy. As a remedy, the United States Constitution limits the powers of the federal government through various means—in particular, the three branches of the federal government are divided by exercising different functions. The executive and legislative powers are separated in origin by separate elections, and the judiciary is kept independent. Each branch controls the actions of others and balances its powers in some way.

In the Constitution, Article 1 Section I grants Congress only those "legislative powers herein granted" and proceeds to list those permissible actions in Article I Section 8, while Section 9 lists actions that are prohibited for Congress. The vesting clause in Article II places no limits on the Executive branch, simply stating that "The Executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America." [42] The Supreme Court holds "The judicial Power" according to Article III, and judicial review was established in Marbury v. Madison under the Marshall court. [43]

The presidential system adopted by the Constitution of the United States obeys the balance of powers sought, and not found, by the constitutional monarchy. The people appoint their representatives to meet periodically in a legislative body, and, since they do not have a king, the people themselves elect a preeminent citizen to perform, also periodically, the executive functions of the State.

The direct election of the head of state or of the executive power is an inevitable consequence of the political freedom of the people, understood as the capacity to appoint and depose their leaders. Only this separate election of the person who has to fulfill the functions that the Constitution attributes to the president, so different by its nature and by its function from the election of representatives of the electors, allows the executive power to be controlled by the legislative and submitted to the demands of political responsibility. [44] [ disputed – discuss ]

Judicial independence is maintained by appointments for life, which remove any dependence on the Executive, with voluntary retirement and a high threshold for dismissal by the Legislature, in addition to a salary that cannot be diminished during their service.

The federal government refers to the branches as "branches of government", while some systems use "government" exclusively to describe the executive. The Executive branch has attempted [45] to claim power arguing for separation of powers to include being the Commander-in-Chief of a standing army since the American Civil War, executive orders, emergency powers, security classifications since World War II, national security, signing statements, and the scope of the unitary executive.

In order to lay a due foundation for that separate and distinct exercise of the different powers of government, which to a certain extent is admitted on all hands to be essential to the preservation of liberty, it is evident that each department should have a will of its own and consequently should be so constituted that the members of each should have as little agency as possible in the appointment of the members of the others. Were this principle rigorously adhered to, it would require that all the appointments for the supreme executive, legislative, and judiciary magistracies should be drawn from the same fountain of authority, the people, through channels having no communication whatever with one another. Perhaps such a plan of constructing the several departments would be less difficult in practice than it may in contemplation appear. Some difficulties, however, and some additional expense would attend the execution of it. Some deviations, therefore, from the principle must be admitted. In the constitution of the judiciary department in particular, it might be inexpedient to insist rigorously on the principle: first, because peculiar qualifications being essential in the members, the primary consideration ought to be to select that mode of choice which best secures these qualifications secondly, because the permanent tenure by which the appointments are held in that department, must soon destroy all sense of dependence on the authority conferring them. It is equally evident, that the members of each department should be as little dependent as possible on those of the others, for the emoluments annexed to their offices. Were the executive magistrate, or the judges, not independent of the legislature in this particular, their independence in every other would be merely nominal. [29]

Other systems Edit

Belgium Edit

Belgium is currently a federated state that has imposed the trias politica on different governmental levels. The constitution of 1831, considered one of the most liberal of its time for limiting the powers of its monarch and imposing a rigorous system of separation of powers, is based on three principles (represented in the Schematic overview of Belgian institutions).


In Pennsylvania all members of the executive branch are not on the ballot in the same year: elections for governor and lieutenant governor are held in even years when there is not a presidential election, while the other three statewide offices are elected in presidential election years.

Departments Edit

The Governor's Cabinet comprises the directors of various Commonwealth agencies: [1]

The Pennsylvania Bulletin is the weekly gazette containing proposed, enacted and emergency rules and other notices and important documents, which are codified in the Pennsylvania Code. [2] [3]

The Pennsylvania General Assembly is the bicameral state legislature composed of 253 members: the House of Representatives with 203 members, [4] and the Senate with 50 members. [5] The Speaker of the House of Representatives or their designated speaker pro tempore holds sessions of the House. The President of the Senate is the Lieutenant Governor, who has no vote except in the event of tie in the Senate, where the vote is 25-25. The legislature meets in the Pennsylvania State Capitol in Harrisburg. Its session laws are published in the official Laws of Pennsylvania, [6] which are codified in the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes. [7] [8] Members of the Senate and the House cannot hold a position in any civic office, and both the houses may expel a member with two-thirds vote. Any member who is expelled for corruption may never run again for reelection in either portion of the legislature. [9]

Pennsylvania is divided into 60 judicial districts, [10] most of which (except Philadelphia) have magisterial district judges (formerly called district justices and justices of the peace), who preside mainly over minor criminal offenses and small civil claims. Magisterial District Judges also preside over preliminary hearings in all misdemeanor and felony criminal cases. [10] Most criminal and civil cases originate in the Courts of Common Pleas, which also serve as appellate courts to the district judges and for local agency decisions. [10] The Superior Court hears all appeals from the Courts of Common Pleas not expressly designated to the Commonwealth Court or Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. It also has original jurisdiction to review warrants for wiretap surveillance. [10] The Commonwealth Court is limited to appeals from final orders of certain state agencies and certain designated cases from the Courts of Common Pleas. [10] The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania is the final appellate court. All judges in Pennsylvania are elected the chief justice is determined by seniority. [10]

In total, 439 judges preside over the Court of Common Pleas, 9 judges preside over the Commonwealth Court, 15 judges preside over the Superior Court, and 7 justices preside over the Supreme Court. Elected judges run in 10 year terms, at which point they are required to run in a non-partisan retention election if they wish to continue to serve. [11]

Local government in Pennsylvania consists of five types of local governments: county, township, borough, city, and school district. [12] All of Pennsylvania is included in one of the state's 67 counties and each county is then divided into one of the state's 2,562 municipalities. There are no independent cities or unincorporated territory within Pennsylvania. Local municipalities are either governed by statutes enacted by the Pennsylvania Legislature and administered through the Pennsylvania Code, by a home rule charter or optional form of government adopted by the municipality with consent of the Legislature. [13] Municipalities may enact and enforce local ordinances. [14]

Pennsylvania enacted the Local Government Commission in 1935, by an Act of Assembly. The commission is one of the oldest in the country, composed of five members of the state Senate and House of Representatives who are appointed by the President Pro Tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House. The commission provides assistance to Members of the General Assembly on researching local issues. [15]


Unknown History: A User’s Guide to the Branches of U.S. Government

The three branches of the U.S. federal government—executive, legislative, and judicial—keep each other in line through a system of “checks and balances.” What roles do each play? And who puts the brakes on the POTUS?

This week, the Uknown History podcast is looking at the Big Three—the three branches of the U.S. government: the legislative, executive, and judicial branches.

But before tackling that, let’s get one important thing out of the way. The system that keeps it all spinning—checks and balances. Because as Federalist Paper #51 puts it, “Ambition must be made to counteract ambition.”

What is the separation of power in the U.S. government? Checks and balances!

The framers were very much aware that the grand ideas and philosophies they laid out in the Constitution would have to be implemented by fallible humans. And fallible humans have a tendency to get a little wild-eyed where power is concerned.

The first step in creating checks and balances was to skirt the whole king issue by splitting the governing power across three branches—something called the separation of power. But that wouldn’t be enough. Those branches would need to keep a watchful eye over one another so that no one entity would get too big for its britches.

Who checks Congress?

So, let’s start where the Constitution starts—Congress. The legislative branch makes laws that govern the people of the nation. Pretty straightforward, right? Of course, that’s also an immense, almost staggering amount of power. You’ve got 535 mostly white, mostly male, mostly well-off people—that’s 435 congresspeople and 100 senators—making the rules for hundreds of millions of Americans. What could possibly go wrong?

James Madison had our back on this one. So here’s the catch, or in this case, the “check.”

In order for a bill from Congress to actually become law, the President has to either sign it or, alternatively, do this thing where he doesn’t do anything to it and the bill becomes a law on its own. But if the law says something like “Only Americans whose names end in the letter L are allowed to drive,” the President could say “Hey, I don’t like that. I’m vetoing it.”

But then Congress has the power to veto that veto with a veto override, which requires a two-thirds majority vote in both houses.

That veto override can be helpful if you’ve got a president who’s totally at odds with Congress. Andrew Johnson, for example, had 15 of his vetoes overridden. That’s a lot, given the fact that we’ve only had 111 veto overrides in the history of the United States.

The veto override, in and of itself, is a check, both on Congress and the President. But just because Congress overrides a veto to make that the law, it doesn’t mean that that law is good or right. Lucky for us, the framers thought of that one, too.

What about the judicial branch?

Is that the solemn swish of black robes we hear?

There’s keepers of the Constitution—the judicial branch, specifically the Supreme Court. If Congress strong-arms a law into being, the Supreme Court can then review it and strike it down if they deem it unconstitutional.

And that power to strike down laws is not constitutional power. It’s a power that the Supreme Court essentially gave to themselves in their ruling on Marbury v. Madison.

The ability to grant governmental powers is, in fact, quite an immense amount of power on its own. It’s the executive branch’s job to prosecute violations of federal law through the Department of Justice. And the prosecutor has the power to bring a case before the Supreme Court or not. And Congress has the power to regulate federal jurisdiction.

In other words, they can decide the kinds of cases that the courts have the power to rule on.

Impeachment and other checks

Congress has the power to impeach members of the federal judiciary. And, of course, they can also impeach the President.

The President is mainly checked by Congress. Impeachment is a big check, but a relatively rare one. More frequently, Congress holds the purse strings and can slow the President’s agenda by not budgeting for the things the President wants. They can also pass laws like the 22nd Amendment, which said, Yeah, no more Franklin Delano Roosevelt we’re limiting all presidents to two terms in office.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt became the 32nd President of the United States at the depth of the Great Depression. He served four terms (1933-1945) and instituted a series of programs referred to as the New Deal. He also signed the Social Security Act. Those who collect Social Security pensions and benefits or unemployment have FDR to thank.

But what do we do if the executive goes all rogue and we can’t wait for Congress to pass a law or an amendment?

That’s where those constitutional stewards, the Supreme Court justices, come into play again. The Supreme Court has the power to declare executive actions unconstitutional. It is a rare bird, that one, but all-important in a government where men are most certainly not angels.


What Are the Three Branches of Government?

The U.S. federal government affects all of our lives. It is made up of three different branches. The branches were established by the U.S. Constitution, which was adopted in 1787. The first branch serves in the Capitol building, the U.S. Capitol building, and it’s the legislative branch.

Now, there are two parts to the legislative branch. There is the Senate, which is made up of 100 members (two from each state), and there is the House of Representatives. The House of Representatives is made up of 435 members. All told, there are 535 members of the legislative branch.

These are designated based on census numbers to each state. A state like California has a lot more representatives than a state like Delaware. The second branch is the White House (this is the White House), and it’s the executive branch.

The executive branch includes the president, and you have the vice president and the cabinet. There are 15 different cabinet positions ranging from the secretary of state, which is the oldest most prestigious of the cabinet offices, all the way to the Department of Homeland Security, which is a more recent creation.

The third branch of the government is the judiciary, which is housed in the Supreme Court, which is the top court in the land. Now, the Supreme Court, underneath them, there’s the Court of Appeals, and underneath those are district courts. Very few cases actually make it all the way up to the Supreme Court.

Most cases are heard of the district court. Then, if one of the sides appeals, it may be heard by the Court of Appeals, and then the Supreme Court is the final arbitrator in any lawsuit that is filed. These are the three different branches of government.

They all have different powers. The Constitution was structured this way so that there are checks and balances between each of them and they each have a different function. The legislative function is to make laws. That’s why we hear about different congressmen or senators that may be arguing over which laws we should have.

The executive branch, they enforce the laws. The Supreme Court and our court system, they oversee the laws and decide which ones are constitutional and which are not. They evaluate them.


Three Branches of Government - HISTORY

The U.S. Constitution created a system of checks and balances and three independent branches of government.

Article II of the Constitution created the presidency. The president's powers were stated more briefly than those of Congress. The president was granted "Executive Power," including the power "with the Advice and Consent of the Senate," to make treaties and appoint ambassadors. The president was also to serve as Commander in Chief of the army and navy.

In delegate James Wilson's view, the presidency was "the most difficult [issue] of all on which we have had to decide." Americans had waged a revolution against a king and did not want concentrated power to appear in another guise. The delegates had to decide whether the chief executive should be one person or a committee whether the president should be appointed by Congress and how long the chief executive should serve.

On August 18, 1787, a Pennsylvania newspaper carried a leaked report from the Constitutional Convention. It was the first word on the proceedings that directly quoted a delegate. "We are well informed" of "reports idly circulating, that it is intended to establish a monarchical government. Tho' we cannot, affirmatively, tell you what we are doing, we can, negatively, tell you what we are not doing--we never once thought of a king."

The conflict with royal governors had made the public deeply distrustful of powerful executives. Alexander Hamilton argued for a chief executive to be given broad powers and elected for life. Edmund Randolph of Virginia thought executive power should not be put into the hands of a single person since a single executive would be "the fetus of monarchy."

To ensure a check on presidential power, Congress was given the power to override a presidential veto and to impeach and remove a president. Congress alone was given the power to declare war.

Article III of the Constitution established a Supreme Court.

The Constitution does not specify the size of the Supreme Court. Over the years the designated size of the Supreme Court has varied between six, seven, nine, and even ten members. Nor does the Constitution explicitly grant the courts the power of judicial review--to determine whether legislation is consistent with the Constitution.

Today, no other country makes as much use of judicial review as the United States. Many of our society's policies on racial desegregation, criminal procedure, abortion, and school prayer are the product of court decisions. The concept of judicial review was initially established on the state level and in the debates over the ratification of the Constitution.

In contrast to Britain, American judges do not wear wigs. When the Supreme Court held its first session in 1790, one justice did arrive wearing a wig. But the public expressed derision at wig wearing, and the justice decided that republican judges should not wear wigs.

The Constitution included no property qualifications for voting or officeholding like those found in the state constitutions drafted between 1776 and 1780. In a republican society, officeholding was supposed to reflect personal merit, not social rank.

The Constitution did not bar anyone from voting. It only said that voting for members of the House of Representatives should be the same in each state as that state's requirements for voting for the most numerous branch of the legislature. In order words, qualifications for voting were left to the individual states. The New Jersey constitution allowed women to vote if they met the same property requirements as men.


Advantages And Disadvantages Of The Three Branches Of Government

The United States is considered one of the most powerful nations, consisting of a strong national government that has been formed for many years. Today, the United States is well thought out as a constitutional democracy a government developed from the creation of the written constitution. The U.S Constitution was established in 1787. It was designed to protect the rights, and freedom of all citizens by developing, and imposing laws for our country. Without a system in place, Americans would be&hellip


Progressivism in America

Progressivism refers to efforts by social movements to improve the lives of Americans between the 1890s and 1920s. The Progressive movement sought to regulate the activities of large corporations, end corruption in government, and improve the lives of citizens by advocating for effective social policies. The movement was opposed to the idea that the church was the most effective driver of change in America.

For that reason, the movement believed that the government was responsible for solving social problems and promoting fairness in economic matters. Members of the movement believed that they could end corruption by taming politicians and their political bases of influence. Progressive measures are present today in form of legislation and government programs. Three such measures or programs include the, Social Security, and Antitrust law.

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act illegalizes bribery of foreign diplomats by Americans in order to fight corruption by government officials. Social Security is a program that strives to promote the social welfare of Americans. It gives retirement benefits to retirees in order to enable them live well in their old age.

Finally, the antitrust law promotes fair competition among businesses by illegalizing business practices such as price-fixing and monopoly. The law creates a level ground for competition and promotes public welfare by requiring businesses to sell quality products to consumers at affordable prices.


Watch the video: 3 Branches of Government. Kids Educational Video. Kids Academy (December 2021).