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The Government of the United States of America
3 Branches of Government The Constitution divided the United States Government into three branches: the legislative, the executive, and the judicial branch Each has its own responsibilities, but they work together through a system of checks and balances
Constitution The document which establishes the basic principles of the American government and way of life Written in 1787 by our country’s founding fathers
Checks and Balances Limits imposed on all branches of the government by giving each the right to amend acts of the other branches –ex. The President can veto a bill that both chambers of congress have passed –ex. The Supreme Court can rule that a law passed by congress is unconstitutional
Back to 3 Branches The legislative branch, also known as congress, is made up of the House of Representatives and the Senate The executive branch consists of the President, the vice president, and the presidential cabinet The judicial branch is the federal court system
The Legislative Branch House of Representatives –435 members Senate –100 members Primary job is to draft and pass new legislation (bills and amendments)
The Executive Branch The President of the United States Primary purposes: –Commander and Chief of the military –Signs legislation into law –Dictates foreign and domestic policies
The Judicial Branch The federal court system, including the Supreme Court, U.S. Court of Appeals, and the U.S. District Court Primary purposes are to evaluate the constitutionality and proper application of laws –District courts deal with criminal cases
So what are bills, amendments, and laws? Bill - Public bills deal with general questions and become Public Laws, or Acts, if approved by Congress and signed by the President. Private bills deal with individual matters such as claims against the Federal Government, immigration and naturalization cases, land titles, et cetera, and become private laws if approved and signed
What are bills, amendments and laws, cont. Amendment - A proposal by a Member to alter the language or provisions of a bill or act. It is voted on in the same manner as a bill. (Constitution Article 5, two thirds of each house of Congress must approve a proposed amendment and three fourths of the states thereafter ratify it) Law - a bill that has been signed into effect by the President
Let’s make a bill Work with your table group to create a bill Submit the bill to a neighboring group who will vote on it If bill passes, take it to the president for signing
Resources http://bensguide.gpo.gov/3-5/government/branches.html http://www.usconstitution.net/constkidsK.html http://bensguide.gpo.gov/9-12/lawmaking/
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