Last Updated 03 Mar 2020

Checks and Balances on the American Government

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Tatianna Orozco P. 2 Checks and Balances The six basic principles of the constitution are popular sovereignty, limited government, separation of powers, judicial review, federalism, and checks and balances. Checks and balances is the amount of power assigned to each branch (executive, legislative, and judicial) to keep them balanced. This concept was popularized by Baron Montesquieu to keep the French government from corrupting and was brought to the American government. Over the 200 plus years checks and balances has been in act, it has been very effective through impeachment, laws, and military actions.

When it comes to impeachment, the system of checks and balances is very effective. The president can be impeached by the House of Representatives. During the impeachment, the Chief of Justice sits a President of the Senate. So, this is a check on the executive branch. In impeachment, legislative branch holds the power. The legislative branch represents the people which provides a check upon itself and the judicial branch. As a result of the legislative branch holding most of the power, it allows the people to have a connected sense especially when it comes to voting.

Checks and balances is very effective through lawmaking. If the president decides to veto a bill, congress may override the veto by a 2/3 vote of both houses. This puts a check on the executive branch. In a case where the president does not sign a bill within 10 days it automatically becomes a law. Because of congress having most of the power over lawmaking, it gives the people of this country can have assurance over injury. Military actions are another way checks and balances are effective in equality of two branches.

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The executive branch puts a check on the legislative branch by the president being commander in chief of the military. Even though the president is chief of the military, only congress has the power to declare war. This is effective in the way that instead of 1 person declaring way it’s a group of people making a big decision. Along with popular sovereignty, limited government, separation of powers, judicial review, and federalism, checks and balances is effective in our government. Without checks and balances we wouldn’t have the stable government and protection we have today.

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