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Branches of Government

Branches of US Government
This article contains a useful guide to the US Bra
nches of Government and the Constitution The facts and info on this page answers the question "How Does the Government Work?" It is a controlled government system by which everyone is bound by the US Constitution, the Supreme law of the land.

Branches of Government - The Government and the Constitution
The purpose of the US Constitution is to describe how the US government is organized, how government officials are chosen, and the rights of US citizens. It is based on the principle of rule by the people and the right to vote for representatives to speak on their behalf.

US Government

Constitution Home

Branches of Government - Separation of Powers
Power is shared by the Federal (National) and State Governments. There is a separation of powers into different branches of government that make, enforce or interpret laws. Every form of government in the US has its own separation of powers with controls (checks and balances) to minimize corruption, abuse, fraud and waste.

Branches of Government - Federalism
The US Constitution was designed to prevent a concentration of power in one government office or with one government official. The system of government in the United States is called "Federalism" which consists of a structure of shared, distributed power that is divided between federal (national), state and local government.

Branches of Government - The 3 Branches of Government
The US Federal (Central) government is divided into three separate branches with a system of 'Checks and Balances' to ensure the balance of power is maintained. The 3 branches of the Federal government are the Legislative, Executive and Judicial Branches. Each branch has a different function to make, enforce and interpret laws.

Branches of Government - The Legislative, Executive and Judicial Branches
The functions and system of different branches of the Federal government are defined as follows:


Legislative Branch
US Capitol Building

The US Capitol
Legislative Branch
Senate & House of Representatives
Library of Congress

Executive Branch
White House
The White House
Executive Branch
Vice President
Executive Office of President
Independent Agencies
Post Office, CIA,
Environment Protection Agency

Judicial Branch
Supreme Court
The Supreme Court
Judicial Branch
Supreme Court
Lower Courts
State Courts
Tax Court
Courts of Appeal

Branches of Government - The Legislative Branch
The purpose of the Legislative Branch of government (House of Representatives and the Senate) is to make the laws and has the power to pass, amend and repeal laws as defined in Article I of the Constitution.

Branches of Government - The Executive Branch
The purpose of the Executive Branch of government (Administration, headed by the President) is responsible for daily administration of the government. as defined in Article II of the Constitution.

Branches of Government - The Judicial Branch
The purpose of the Judicial Branch of government (the courts and judges) is to interpret the law and provide a mechanism for the resolution of disputes as defined in Article III of the Constitution.

Branches of Government - Federal (National) - Congress, the Senate and the House of Representatives
Congress is the name of the formal assembly of representatives that constitutes the national legislative body of the United States, that consists of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The upper house is the Senate and the lower house is the House of Representatives. There are 100 senators in the U.S. Senate (2 Senators for every state). There are 435 members of the House of Representatives (the number of representatives depends on how many people live in that state).

Branches of Government - State and Local Government
In addition to the Federal government there is also a system for State and Local government. Each state has its own constitution and its own state government again divided into three branches: Legislative, Executive and Judicial branches. The states are divided into districts. The leader of the State Executive branch is called the Governor of the state. The people of each state vote to choose the state governor and their representatives to the state legislature. The state legislature makes the laws that apply in each state. Each state has local city or county governments that provide services to the local community. Local governments sometimes have mayors as their leader and work with a system of city or county councils.

Branches of Government: Powers of the National (Federal), State and Local Government
The American people elect officials to serve in each tier of Government. The exclusive and shared powers of the tiers of governments are:

  • Branches of Government: The Exclusive powers of the Federal (National) Government are the power to make laws to enforce the Constitution, to deal with foreign affairs including the power to declare war, agree treaties, establish the armed forces and regulate foreign trade. It also has the power to establish Post Offices, to print money and regulate trade between states.

  • Branches of Government: The Exclusive powers of the State Governments are to establish the local governments and state constitutions, ratify (approve) amendments to the Constitution, conduct elections, issue marriage, driving licenses etc., provide for public health and safety and to regulate intrastate commerce.

  • Branches of Government: The Shared powers of the Federal and State governments are to make and enforce laws, collect and create taxes, establish courts, borrow money, transportation including building highways and to charter banks and corporations.

  • Branches of Government: The powers of Local government are aimed at providing services related to education, police and fire, public works (construction) and urban planning, parks and recreation facilities and economic development.

Branches of Government: Video of the US Presidents
The Branches of Government article provides a fast overview of the US Government. The following Presidents of the USA video enables you to sit back and listen to the history of all the Presidents of the USA - a useful educational resource for kids, children and schools.

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