Branches of Government
About Branches of Government… Listening to the conversations and opinions of late, I became aware of how much I didn’t know about the particulars of Branches of Government, how our Government works and its functions. Re-reading the U.S Constitution I learned about our Governments purpose and gained an appreciation of our forefather’s accomplishments and our great nation, the United States of America. Let us pray and hope our Government’s system will act “united” in moving our nation forward working for the people rather than for themselves.
The political climate over the past several elections involving both has displayed actions or in-actions and behaviors nothing short of disgust. The political climate is toxic, political ads are filled with lies and half-truths with millions spent to defame and promote lies while the rich buy their way into the government offices. I don’t believe this is what our forefathers had in mind for our nation. Government spending and expansion is out of control, Government officials are less than accountable for their actions or in-actions yet manage to agree on increasing their wages, benefits and perks. Our nation is losing respect and credibility throughout the world and we are heading in the wrong direction. I don’t have the answer to this dilemma other than become involved in holding elected officials accountable. Learning about the Government branches is a start!
Overview of Government Functions | Purpose
The founding Fathers were very careful when developing the Constitution to insure the branches function together to provide a system based on checks and balances of powers to ensure that no individual or body of the government ever become too powerful. Our Government is made up of three branches: The Executive branch, the Legislative branch and the Judicial branch. For more in-depth explanation, links are available at the bottom of this page.
The Executive Branch —
- Head of the Executive Branch: The President plays a key role in the lawmaking process and is
responsible to ensure that our laws are enforced accordingly. The President cannot write bills,
however, he can propose a bill but a member of Congress must submit it for him.
- Head of State: He meets with the various leaders of other countries and able to make treaties with them. Before the treaty becomes official, it must be approved by the Senate. The President also has the power to appoint ambassadors to other countries, Supreme Court justices, federal judges and any official as provided for by the Congress with the Senate’s approval.
- Commander in Chief of the military: As the official head of the U.S. Military, the President can
authorize the use of troops overseas without declaring war. In order to officially declare war, he
must get the approval of Congress.
- Chief of Government: Technically speaking, the President is the boss of every government worker.
Due to the size and complexity of the Executive branch, the President receives assistance from the Vice President, department heads (Cabinet members) and the heads of independent agencies.
The Legislative Branch —
The Legislative branch of government has the authority to make laws for the nation and is made up of Congress and government agencies such as the Government of Accountability Office (GAO) and Congressional Budget Office (CBO).
Congress is made up of two chambers, the Senate and the House of Representatives. This system was created by the Founding Fathers to ensure checks and balances within the legislative branch. Also, members of Congress are elected by a direct vote of the people of the state they represent.
The Constitution grants Congress “all legislative powers” in the national government. Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution lists a wide range of congressional powers, including:
- To provide an maintain a Navy;
- Declaring war on other countries;
- The power to amend the Constitution (involves a lengthy process);
- To borrow money on the credit of the United States;
- The power to coin money, assessing and collecting taxes;
- Regulating interstate and foreign commerce;
- Make all laws which shall be necessary and proper;
- The authority to investigate and oversee the Executive branch and its’ agencies;
- Holds hearings on matters of general public concern identifying problems that
may create a need for new laws or hold hearings to raise public awareness on a
In addition to the above powers, there are congressional powers that are rarely used, such as the ability to impeach an official and amending the Constitution.
The Judicial Branch —
The Judicial Branch of government is made up of a court system where laws are interpreted and determined if the laws are constitutional. There are three different kinds of courts found in the federal court system. The lowest level is the district courts followed by the court of appeals and top level being the Supreme Court.
Some Major Duties Include:
- In charge of the court system;
- Has the right to overturn state laws and laws passed by Congress;
- Interpreting federal laws;
- Resolving legal disputes;
- Trying criminal and civil cases;
- Determining guilt or innocence, degree of responsibility, fault, etc.;
- Imposing sentences and other legal punishment;
- Protecting individual constitutional rights;
- Managing the docket and judicial caseload;
- Checking the power of the Legislative and Executive branches.
The Judiciary explains and applies the laws. This branch does this by hearing and eventually making decisions on various legal cases.
U.S. Preamble to the Constitution
The Preamble to the United States Constitution states, “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
The history of how our government came about with much care through the experience and hindsight of our founding fathers. The established balance and separation of powers to ensure no branch of our government would ever become so powerful that it rules the People rather than serves the People.
Our government is of the People, by the People and for the People. Today, it is clear our Government has lost focus, respect and purpose. The Government appears to be more about “serving-self” than serving the “People”. Government officials are more concerned about their careers, power, benefits, wages and retirement. The vote their own raises and have the Cadillac of insurance coverage at our expense. As a nation blessed with so many freedoms, it is time as Americans we give back credibility to our United States of America. Let us not forget why America was formed… to protect us from the very situations that are occurring today!
One can become involved “a little or more” according to their desires and needs. You can share concerns with your Congressional leaders from your State. Hold members of Congress accountable for their actions and learn more about how lawmakers in your State are voting. To obtain your 9-digit zip code, go to Melissa Data for assistance.
“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will
be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. ~Matthew 6:24.