How are checks and balances important to maintaining a democracy? 

How are checks and balances important to maintaining a democracy?

 

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mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When the Constitution was being written, the delegates to the Constitutional Convention believed a system of checks and balances was needed to maintain our democracy. The purpose of having a system of checks and balances is to prevent any branch of government or any person in government from becoming too powerful. We fought against the British because we felt the King had too much power and abused the rights of the colonists. The delegates wanted to create a plan of government that was stronger than the government created by the Articles of Confederation, but not one that had too much power.

In our system of government, Congress makes the laws. However, to prevent Congress from abusing its lawmaking power, the President has to sign a bill into law. If the President is against the law, he can veto it. This prevents the bill from becoming law. However, if Congress really believes the law is a good one and should go into effect, Congress can override the veto by having two-thirds of both houses of Congress vote to approve the vetoed bill.

Another example of the system of checks and balances can be seen with treaties. The President can negotiate a treaty. However, in order for the treaty to be accepted, the Senate must approve the treaty. This process limits the power of the President.

There are many examples of checks and balances in our system of government. The goal is to prevent any part of the government or any person in our government from becoming too powerful.