Checks and Balances

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Checks/Balances, and government essay.

The Constitution set forth a government composed of 3 branches: the legislative, executive, and judicial. Each branch was given certain powers over the others to ensure that no one branch has more power than any other. This system, known as checks and balances, was the main essential of government. The system of checks and balances represented the solution to the problem of how to empower the central government, yet protect against corruption.

The President was granted the power to veto acts of Congress deemed unnecessary or unjust, and would be responsible for appointing federal and Supreme Court judges. The Senate had to ratify treaties proposed by the President, and had to approve the President's cabinet appointments. Congress as a joint body was given the power to impeach, try, and remove the President from office, as well as Supreme Court justices, should it become necessary. The judicial branch, headed by the Supreme Court, had the responsibility and power to interpret the laws passed by Congress.

The Constitution set forth a form of federalism that balanced the authority of the state and national governments. The state legislatures would elect the members of the Senate, as well as select delegates to the Electoral College, which selected the President. Furthermore, the Constitution could be amended by a vote in favor of amendment by three-fourths of the state legislatures. The writers of the Constitution intended to increase the power of the national government, but they were wary of taking too much power from the states.

One debate that was resolved by the Constitution was that of whether slaves should be considered persons or property for reasons of representation. Southern delegates argued that slaves should count toward representative seats, whereas the representatives of northern states, most of which had already or would soon abolish slavery, argued that to count slaves as members of the population...
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