Branches of Government

Branches of Government
Before the Constitution was written in 1787, it was inevitable that our nation was headed for failure. The United States government under the Articles of Confederation did not have enough power to control the states or the people; each state was governed by the states own Constitutions. Our nation was growing and a new form of national government was necessary to control the states, the people, and our nations already growing debts. During the Philadelphia convention, delegates formed a powerful government that still allowed states to control their people. Patterson (2009) describes a constitution as ?the fundamental law that defines how a government will legitimately operate ? the method for choosing its leaders, the institution through which these leaders will work, the procedures they must follow in making policy, and the powers they can lawfully exercise.? The United States Constitution defined how our new system of government would function, and this system is known as federalism.
To appease each states concern with possessing such a strong national government, our forefathers divided the government into three different branches ? legislative, judicial, and executive. This system of division is known as checks and balances. With this system of checks and balances, each branch would be able to oversee the other branches to ensure that each branch was complying with the constitution and that no branch would try to take over the country and form a monarchy (Perkel, n.d.). Having three branches of government could become confusing and difficult to control without implementing a set system on how each branch will operate and interact with each other.
The Executive Branch of our government is overseen by the president of the United States. The president is the one who enforces the laws that the Legislative Branch makes (The Harry S. Truman Library and Museum, 2011). The Legislative branch of our government is also known as Congress. The Legislative branch (Congress) is divided into two parts, the Senate and the House of Representatives. Together, Congress creates our laws. The representatives are the people who meet to discuss if bills should become laws (The Harry S. Truman Library and Museum, 2011). The last branch of government to discuss is our Judicial Branch that is made up of the Supreme Court and nine Justices. The Supreme Court is the highest court in the United States. This branch of government includes ?special judges who interpret laws according to the Constitution? (The Harry S. Truman Library and Museum, 2011). This interpretation is known as judicial review, ?and it is how federal courts provide checks and balances on the legislative and executive branches? (USA.gov, 2011). There are also lower courts established in each state that hear cases that involve federal issues (The Harry S. Truman Library and Museum, 2011). One may question if this system of government is successful and if the branches power are balanced.
Having three separate branches of government is a successful way to balance power. Dixon (2008) simply explains the system that our three branches have: ?One branch puts the idea out to get the idea signed. One makes sure that the job is going to get done, and the other enforces the decision on paper or in court for the ones who don?t agree.? Throughout the years since our Constitution was ratified, our government has had ups and downs. As the ?downs? come along, our government?s system ensures that these problems will be fixed. The problems are fixed not by one branch of government (which could be one sided), but by all three branches. But what about the power that each branch holds - are they really balanced? Whether a person is part of the Legislative, Judicial, or Executive Branch, there are certain powers that each branch of government can do. A member of the House of Representatives cannot walk in the Supreme Court and start making decisions. Same goes for the president, members of the senate, and the justices ? they each have their own designated power. As easy as this balance of power sounds, there was undoubtedly some conflict between supporters of a strong federal government and champions of states? rights when the government was first formed.
When the delegates were forming our Constitution of the United States, and Articles I, II, and III, supporters of a strong Federal government thought that the Judicial Branch should include a Supreme Court. This caused a conflict