What steps were done to make sure none of the United States' government's branches had more power than another?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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One of the most important steps taken in the writing of the Constitution to ensure that none of the branches of American government had more power than another existed in the practices of checks and balances.  In the checks and balances concept, each branch has the ability to limit the power of the other two branches.  In checks and balances, the practice of political power was conceived in a limited manner, ensuring that all branches of government had to work in concert with one another.  Good governance was a cooperative venture between different branches.  It prevented one branch from "going rogue" by being held in check by the other two branches.

The practical manner in which the Constitution displayed checks and balances guaranteed that one branch could not have more power than another.  For example, the Executive Branch, in the form of the President, can sign legislation that Congress, the Legislative Branch, approves.  Yet, the President cannot initiate legislation, for Congress is only able to do so.  Thus, both branches need one another in order for power to be wielded effectively.  Both of these branches are held in check by the Judicial Branch as it can deem laws and actions unconstitutional.  The Judicial Branch cannot initiate or sign legislation, but it can do a great deal to rule it antithetical to the nation's interests.  This is one example in which checks and balances operates to ensure that one of the nation's governmental branches does not have more power than another.  In ensuring that divided government is limited in the amount of power that is wielded, the Framers created a government where one branch cannot exert more power over the other two, always remaining in check.

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gkar94yoda80 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

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The founding fathers wanted to develop a government that concentrated power in many rather than a few. The founders believed in the idea of a representative democracy, a system where public officials are elected to serve the people (though Supreme Court justices are appointed and serve for life so that they base their decision free from outside influence). The founders also wanted to create a weak executive branch rather than establish an omnipotent office. Therefore, the Constitution outlines three branches of government that gave certain duties to each branch, while allowing for a system of checks and balances to develop. Without going into too much detail, the creation of a judicial, executive, and legislative branch placed power in the hands of all three to avoid unilateral action. 

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