Lesson 3 - Checks and Balances of the Government



Branches of Government The Constitution set up a system of checks and balances. This system was to make sure that none of the three branches of government would become too strong.

Checks and Balances

The new Constitution had three branches of government:

Legislative (make laws)

Branches of the Government


House of Representatives


Congress makes all the laws of the country.

After a veto by the President the law can take effect if 2/3rds of the members of Congress vote for it again.

Congress may reject Supreme Court Appointments.


Executive (carry out laws)

Branches of the Government



President must ask Congress to make a new law.

The President may veto (say no to) any law passed by Congress.

The President appoints the Supreme Court Justices.


Judicial (courts)

Branches of the Government

Supreme Court (9 members)

Appeals Courts (11 in U.S.)

District Courts (93 in U.S.)

The judicial branch decides if laws or acts of Congress are in line with the Constitution. If not they can declare a law unconstitutional.

Signing the Constitution

Lesson Links


Lesson 1 - Articles of Confederation

Lesson 2 - Writing the Constitution

Lesson 3 - Checks and Balances of the Government

Lesson 4 - The New Government

Lesson 5 - Bill of Rights

The First Political Parties

George Washington

Article I - Legislative Branch

How a Bill Becomes a Law

Article II - Executive Branch

Article III - Judicial Branch