Balancing Three Branches at Once: Our System of Checks and Balances

One of the most persistent and overarching complaints the American colonists had about the rule of the British monarchy was the extent of its power. One of the most persistent and overarching complaints about the early government of the U.S. under the Articles of Confederation was the weakness of the federal government. Attempting to form a more perfect union, the framers of the Constitution designed a government that clearly assigned power to three branches, while at the same time guaranteeing that the power of any branch could be checked by another.

Using primary source documents, your students can see clear demonstrations of how one branch of our government can check another.

Guiding Questions

What are some ways the three branches of our government check one another?

Learning Objectives

Name the three branches of our government.

Give examples of how each branch can check the others.