The United States Government Karen Pollard 2005-2006 The United States Government Three Branches of Government * Legislative Branch * Executive Branch * Judicial Branch Checks and Balances Founding Fathers James Madison; Benjamin Franklin Primary author of The Constitution George Washington John Jay Patrick Henry John Adams Alexander Hamilton Thomas Jefferson The Constitution The Founding Fathers, the framers of the Constitution, wanted to form a government that did not allow one person to have too much authority or control. The framers wrote the Constitution to provide for a separation of powers, or three separate branches of government. This is done through checks and balances The Three Branches of Government The Capitol Building What is the Legislative Branch? The legislative branch of government is made up of the Congress and government agencies. The Constitution established this branch and gave Congress the power to make laws. The Legislative Branch & Congress The U.S. Congress is made up of two parts, the House of Representatives and the Senate. Congress meets at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Its primary duty is to write, debate, and pass bills, which are then passed on to the President for approval. Other Powers of Congress Makes laws controlling trade between states and between the United States and other countries. Makes laws about taxes and borrowing money. Approves the making of money. Can declare war on other countries. Two Parts of Congress The House of Representatives Representation is based on the number of people living in each state. There are a total of 435 representatives in the House. States with larger populations have more representation than states with smaller populations. The House of Representatives Representatives Representatives must: Be at least 25 years old. Be a U.S. citizen for the past 7 years. Live in the state they represent. Each representative serves a term of 2 years. There is no limit on the number of terms a representative can serve. Jobs of Representatives Start laws that make people pay taxes. Decide if a government official should be put on trial before the Senate if s/he commits a crime against the country. Two Parts of Congress The Senate Each of the 50 states sends 2 people to the Senate. Total of 100 senators Each state has equal representation in the Senate. The United States Senate Senators Senators must: Be at least 30 years old. Be a U.S. citizen for the past 9 years. Live in the state they represent. Each senator serves a term of 6 years. There is no limit on terms a senator can be elected. Jobs of Senators Say yes or no to any treaties the president makes. Say yes or no to any people the president recommends for jobs, such as cabinet officers, Supreme Court justices, and ambassadors. Can hold a trial for a government official who does something very wrong. Legislative Branch Quiz How many Senators are there? How many House of Reps members are there? What are 3 qualifications for a Senator? What are 3 qualifications for a Representative? The House of Reps is based on _____. The Senate is based on ______. The Executive Branch The executive branch of government makes sure that the laws of the United States are obeyed. The President of the United States is the head of the executive branch of government. The President gets help from the Vice President, department heads (Cabinet members), and heads of independent agencies. The White House The White House President’s Oval Office The White House The Red Room State Dining Room Diplomatic Reception Room The Blue Room The Vermeil Room Parts of the Executive Branch President: Leader of the country and commands the military. Vice President: President of the Senate and becomes President if the President can no longer do the job. Departments: Department heads advise the President on issues and help carry out policies. Independent Agencies: Help carry out policy or provide special services. Jobs of The President Head of the executive branch Approves or vetoes laws that Congress creates American Head of State; meeting with leaders of other countries and can make treaties with them. Chief of the Government Official head of the U.S. military Can declare war with the approval of Congress. To Be The President Must be at least 35 years old Must be a natural-born U.S. citizen and have lived in the U.S. for at least 14 years Serves a term of four years Can serve two terms for a total of eight years The President’s Advisors When the President wants advice, he asks a group of people called the Cabinet. They advise the President. The Cabinet includes the Vice President, the heads of 15 executive branch departments, and other Government officials chosen by the President. The Cabinet meets at least once a week to discuss matters that effect the United States. 2012 Cabinet Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta Attorney General Eric Holder Secretary of the Interior Ken L. Salazar Secretary of Agriculture Tom J. Vilsack Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank (acting) Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan Secretary of Transportation Ray H. LaHood Secretary of Energy Steven Chu Secretary of Education Arne Duncan Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano Executive Branch Quiz 1. At what age can a person run for president? 2. Does a presidential candidate have to be born in the U.S.? 3. How many years is the president elected for? 4. How many terms can a president potentially serve? 5. What is the group of advisors to the president called? The Judicial Branch The judicial branch of government is made up of the court system. The Supreme Court is the highest court in the land. Courts decide arguments about the meaning of laws, how they are applied, and whether they break the rules of the Constitution. The Supreme Court The Supreme Court The Supreme Court is the highest court in the United States. The Supreme Court hears cases that have made their way through the court system. The main power of the Supreme Court is to decide cases that challenge the Constitution. Justices of the Supreme Court The Supreme Court is made up of nine Justices. One is the Chief Justice. Appointed by the President and must be approved by the Senate. Justices have their jobs for life, unless they resign, retire, or are impeached by the House and convicted by the Senate There are no requirements to be a justice; but they are trained in the law. The Justices 2012 Judicial Branch Quiz 1. How many members are there in the Supreme Court? 2. What are the qualifications of a Supreme Court justice? 3. Who appoints a justice? 4. Who confirms a justice to the court? 5. How long is a term for a justice? How Laws are Made Laws can be made by the national government or by individual state governments. National laws are made in Congress. Congress can make laws on all kinds of matters. Laws begin in the Senate A Senator writes a bill. A committee reviews the bill; then… *Sends the bill back with no changes. *Makes changes and sends it back. *Tables the bill -- In other words, they do nothing. The bill is voted on by the Senate and over half of the senators (51 of 100) must vote yes to pass it. Laws and The House of Representatives The bill goes to a House committee The committee studies the bill The bill is voted on by the representatives. Over half of the representatives (218 of 435) must vote yes to pass the bill. Laws and the President If the bill passes the Senate and House… Then the bill goes to the President If the president signs the bill, it becomes a law. The bill may also become law if the president does not sign it for 10 days. If the president rejects (vetoes) the bill, it can still become a law if two-thirds of the Senate and two-thirds of the House vote in favor of it. Finally, the Supreme Court decides if it’s Constitutional Checks and Balances Founding fathers wanted to avoid tyranny. Framers of the Constitution balanced power among the 3 Branches Each branch “checks” or restrains the powers of the other two branches. Balance of Power “Checks and Balances Checks and Balances The power of government is balanced when it takes all 3 branches of government to pass laws. The U.S. Congress begins the law as a bill The President passes/vetoes the law The Supreme Court decides if the law if Constitutional Responsibilities of Citizens Voting Serving on a Jury Paying taxes Serving in the Military Obeying the Laws We rest this case.