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  • Have you ever wondered

  • who has the authority to make laws

  • or punish people who break them?

  • When we think of power in the United States,

  • we usually think of the President,

  • but he does not act alone.

  • In fact, he is only one piece of the power puzzle

  • and for very good reason.

  • When the American Revolution ended in 1783,

  • the United States government was in a state of change.

  • The founding fathers knew

  • that they did not want to establish another country

  • that was ruled by a king,

  • so the discussions were centered on

  • having a strong and fair national government

  • that protected individual freedoms

  • and did not abuse its power.

  • When the new constitution was adopted in 1787,

  • the structure of the infant government of the United States

  • called for three separate branches,

  • each with their own powers,

  • and a system of checks and balances.

  • This would ensure that no one branch

  • would ever become too powerful

  • because the other branches would always be able

  • to check the power of the other two.

  • These branches work together to run the country

  • and set guidelines for us all to live by.

  • The legislative branch is described in Article 1 of the U.S. Constitution.

  • Many people feel that the founding fathers

  • put this branch in the document first

  • because they thought it was the most important.

  • The legislative branch is comprised of

  • 100 U.S. Senators

  • and 435 members in the U.S. House of Representatives.

  • This is better known as the U.S. Congress.

  • Making laws is the primary function of the legislative branch,

  • but it is also responsible for

  • approving federal judges and justices,

  • passing the national budget,

  • and declaring war.

  • Each state gets two Senators

  • and some number of Representatives,

  • depending on how many people live in that state.

  • The executive branch is described in Article 2 of the Constitution.

  • The leaders of this branch of government

  • are the President and Vice President,

  • who are responsible for enforcing the laws

  • that Congress sets forth.

  • The President works closely with a group of advisors,

  • known as the Cabinet.

  • These appointed helpers assist the President

  • in making important decisions within their area of expertise,

  • such as defense,

  • the treasury,

  • and homeland security.

  • The executive branch also appoints government officials,

  • commands the armed forces,

  • and meets with leaders of other nations.

  • All that combined is a lot of work for a lot of people.

  • In fact, the executive branch employs

  • over 4 million people to get everything done.

  • The third brand of the U.S. government is the judicial branch

  • and is detailed in Article 3.

  • This branch is comprised of all the courts in the land,

  • from the federal district courts

  • to the U.S. Supreme Court.

  • These courts interpret our nation's laws

  • and punish those who break them.

  • The highest court, the Supreme Court,

  • settles disputes among states,

  • hears appeals from state and federal courts,

  • and determines if federal laws are constitutional.

  • There are nine justices on the Supreme Court,

  • and, unlike any other job in our government,

  • Supreme Court justices are appointed for life,

  • or for as long as they want to stay.

  • Our democracy depends on an informed citizenry,

  • so it is our duty to know how it works

  • and what authority each branch of government has

  • over its citizens.

  • Besides voting,

  • chances are that some time in your life

  • you'll be called upon to participate in your government,

  • whether it is to serve on a jury,

  • testify in court,

  • or petition your Congress person

  • to pass or defeat an idea for a law.

  • By knowning the branches,

  • who runs them,

  • and how they work together,

  • you can be involved,

  • informed,

  • and intelligent.

Have you ever wondered

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B1 TED-Ed branch government court executive branch supreme court

【TED-Ed】How is power divided in the United States government? - Belinda Stutzman

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    Anbe2623 posted on 2013/12/19
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