Principles of the Constitution & the Branches of the Federal Government
Grand Canyon University: POS 301
Principles of the Constitution: A Chart
The Effectiveness of Checks and Balances
The founding fathers could see issues with giving too much power to any one part of the government. They had witnessed what ha happened in Pennsylvania when their legislature, uncheched by a judiciary or executive, ignored essential liberties which lead to the deprivation of rights to Quakers based on their religious beliefs. The fathers knew we had out not to make this mistake again. (Patterson, 2011) Thus, a system where each branch shared in a bit of the others' power was created to ensure there would exist no monopoly on political power.
To analyze the effectiveness of this system, the motivations behind the system must be revisited. Checks and balances were a means for political moderation. This ensures that all change is well considered by all, and executed in a just manner. Considering issues in the nation's history such as womens' suffrage and other civil rights, the rate at which our nation has shifted policy has sometimes dragged its feet. Policy was well thought out, however at a slow rate. Specifically, there was nearly a century between the freeing of the slaves and the culmination of the Civil Rights movement. While it was a huge decision to be considered, the rights guaranteed to American citizens were being withheld or violated.
If we are to consider the system in an international forum, we see that it comes down to the unique execution of the checks and balances. Again, considering the goal is political moderation, consider Mexico. Mexico has a similar institutional system of checks and balances, yet has an international reputation for being politically extreme. Considering Britain, a nation with unicameral legislature fused with the executive and no mechanism for judicial review, they still maintain a politically moderate reputation. (Patterson, 2011) There is no universal best system, at least thus far. Where there have been issues with the timeliness of our own system, change does eventually occur even while maintaining that moderation which was a goal of the framers. The Three Branches of Government
|Legislative |Executive |Judicial | |Consists of Senate and House of |Consists of President and the Cabinet. |Consists of the federal court system, highest | |Representatives |Commander of the armed forces. |of which is the Supreme Court of the United | |Draft and approve laws for proposal to the |Essentially the leader of the nation. |States (SCOtUS) | |executive. |Can sign proposed legislation into law. |Responsible for hearing cases of suit for | |Requires passing through both houses: the |Power to veto proposed legislation. |federal cases and cases where | |Senate and House of Representatives. |Appoints Supreme Court Judges and other |constitutionality may be in question. | |Have the power to overturn executive veto with|federal officials. |Review constitutionality of policy when | |2/3 majority vote. |The cabinet carries out and enforces laws. |brought in suit. | |Have the power to amend the Constitution |Cabinet members: agriculture, commerce, |Nine justices ensures a decision. Each | |Power to coin monies. |defense, education, energy, health, homeland |decision will have Court's Opinion, a | |Power to establish and maintain armed forces. |security, housing, interior, justice, labor, |commentary of the decision. | |Have the...
References: Patterson, T.E. (2011). The american democracy (10th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.
-Can pardon anyone tried within the system
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