The United States created its federal government structure at the Constitutional Convention in 1787 with the separation of power in mind. The delegates wanted to make sure that no one person could have too much power. After being controlled by England, young America did not want to be overly regulated by a dictator or tyrant. However, they wanted the government to have enough power to effectively rule the nation.
The delegates made sure this happened by separating the Federal government into three equally powerful parts: the legislative branch, the executive branch, and the judicial branch. Even though these three branches must work together, they have different roles in the governing process. The legislative branch was established by article 1 of the US Constitution to create laws. It is composed of congress and other government agencies. Congress is made up of two elected bodies, the Senate and the House of Representatives.
The main functions of these two groups are to write, debate, and pass bills. Some examples of the bills that congress is responsible for include domestic and international trade laws, tax laws, and declarations of war. The executive branch was established by article 2 of the US Constitution to approve laws and represent the nation. It is made up of the president and his cabinet. Although the president cannot create laws, he plays a key role in the lawmaking process. After congress writes and debates a bill, the president approves the bill making it law.
He also has the power to veto a bill. When this happens it is unlikely that this bill will ever become law. However, congress can overturn his veto if two thirds of congress is in in favor of this. The president also serves as the head of state. He meets with leaders of other countries and negotiates treaties with them; although, congress must approve these treaties. Additionally, he is the commander in chief and can authorize troops. The cabinet is composed of the vice president, advisors, and heads of government departments.
The cabinet informs the president of important matters that affect the Unites States and advises him on these matters. The legislative branch was established by article 3 of the US Constitution. This branch is made up of all of the courts and headed by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is composed of nine justices that are appointed by the president and approved by congress. It is responsible for determining the meaning of laws, safeguarding that laws are applied correctly, and making sure that laws follow the US Constitution.
Once the Supreme Court makes a decision it can only be overturned by another Supreme Court decision or by changing the constitution. The separation of power creates checks and balances between the three branches of the federal government, which keeps each body from becoming too powerful. They must instead work together to create, enact, and enforce the nation’s laws. With these three branches, the founding fathers established a way to ensure governmental control without creating an opportunity for tyranny.