Three Branches of Government

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1 Lesson 2 PAGES Explain the purpose of the Constitution. Compare the powers and functions of the three branches of government. separation of powers p. 400 legislative branch p. 400 executive branch p. 401 electoral college p. 401 veto p. 401 impeach p. 401 judicial branch p. 402 justice p. 402 rule of law p. 403 amendment p. 403 Lesson WHAT TO KNOW What are the powers of each of the three branches of government? VOCABULARY separation of powers p. 400 legislative branch p. 400 executive branch p. 401 electoral college p. 401 veto p. 401 impeach p. 401 judicial branch p. 402 justice p. 402 rule of law p. 403 amendment p. 403 PEOPLE Gouverneur Morris PLACES Philadelphia Focus DRAW CONCLUSIONS Three Branches of Government YOU ARE Fresh berries here! your father calls out TH HERE to people passing by your fruit cart. It is the summer of 1787, and the weather in Philadelphia is hot and muggy. You sigh as you arrange the berry boxes. After a moment, you notice a well-dressed man beside the cart. He pays for some berries and walks away. Who was that? you ask. That was Gouverneur Morris, one of the wisest minds in our country. DELEGATES at the Constitutional Convention worked long hours debating and writing the Constitution. pp , 399, 400, 401, 403 Homework and Practice Book, p. 94; Reading Support and Intervention, pp ; Success for English Learners, pp ; Vocabulary Transparencies A B; Focus s Transparency 5; Draw Conclusions Graphic Organizer Write-On/Wipe-Off Card; Intermediate Atlas; Interactive Atlas; Unit 5 Audiotext CD Collection; Internet Resources 1 Introduce What to Know The Constitution created a federal government made up of three branches. Build Background Remind students that Congress already existed under the Articles of Confederation. YOU ARE TH HERE Have students recall what they read about Gouverneur Morris. 398 Unit 5 Practice and Extend When time is limited, look for the EXPRESS PATH to focus on the lesson s main ideas. This lesson describes the government created by the Constitution. It explains what the three branches of the federal government are, what each branch does, and how the branches work together. 398 UNIT 5

2 2 Teac h The Preamble CONTENT FOCUS The Preamble explains that the Constitution creates a government based on the principles of individual liberty, justice, and peace. THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES The original Constitution is kept at the National Archives Building in Washington, D.C. The Preamble The convention delegates planned the new Constitution with great care. Gouverneur Morris was chosen to write the final version. In the Preamble, or introduction, Morris begins with: We the People of the United States... He had first written We the people of the States of New Hampshire, Massachusetts,... and so on, listing the states. He changed the words to show that Americans were citizens of the nation first and of the states second. His words also link the Constitution to the Declaration of Independence, which says that a government gets its just powers from the consent of the governed. The Purpose of the Constitution The Preamble goes on to explain that the purpose of the Constitution is to create a fairer form of government. This government would be based on some basic principles, or rules. The Constitution was written to protect individual liberty and other personal freedoms. It also promised justice and peace. Under the Constitution, the powers of government are limited by law. The Constitution had to give the federal government the power to govern the nation, but it also had to protect the states and citizens from that power. The Constitution also required the national government to defend the country and to work for the common good of the nation. Why does the Preamble to the Constitution mention individual liberty? The writers wanted to make sure the Constitution protected individual rights. Chapter Have students scan the page and write one sentence using the word preamble. Encourage students to share their sentences. Primary Source: Quotations Have a student read the quotations aloud. Ask students how the Preamble reflects a stronger federal government. Possible response: It emphasizes the nation rather than the states. Source: Constitution of the United States Source: Gouverneur Morris. The Debate on the Constitution by Bernard Bailyn. Library of America, Civics and Government Remind students that the Constitution is based on the principles of representative government. VOCABULARY Vocabulary Transparency A Harcourt M I N I-GLOSSARY Read each term, and study its definition. separation of powers The division of powers among the three branches of the national government. p. 400 legislative branch The branch of government that makes the laws. p. 400 executive branch The branch of government that has the power to enforce the laws. p. 401 electoral college A group chosen by citizens to vote for the President. p. 401 veto To reject. p. 401 W O R D WORK Complete the activities below. 1. separation of powers HISTORICAL CONTEXT Use the term separation of powers in a sentence about the United States government. Possible response: Our government s three branches ensure a separation of powers. 2. legislative branch and executive branch MAKE A VOCABULARY CHART Look at the chart below. In which categories do the terms legislative branch and executive branch belong? Makes laws legislative branch Enforces the laws executive branch 3. electoral college CONTEXT CLUES Use the term electoral college in a sentence with context. Possible response: The group of people chosen by citizens to vote for the President is called the electoral college. 4. veto ANTONYMS Write a sentence using an antonym for veto. Possible response: The Senate will approve the bill. For alternate teaching strategies, use pages of the Reading Support and Intervention book to: reinforce vocabulary build text comprehension build fluency For English Language Learners strategies to support this lesson, see Success for English Learners pages English-language development activities background and concepts vocabulary extension TRANSPARENCIES A B Reading Support C and Intervention Success for C English Learners CHAPTER

3 The Legislative Branch CONTENT FOCUS Article I of the Constitution describes the legislative branch, which makes laws. Refer to R27 R34 for the full text of Article I. Tell students to find the meaning of the vocabulary words and use them in sentences about the section. Civics and Government Make sure students understand that the legislative branch consists of the two houses of Congress. Review its powers. Link Civics and Government and History Remind students that the makeup of Congress was a subject of debate at the Constitutional Convention. Q Why did the delegates decide to give Congress two houses, or parts, and to base a state s representation in one house on its population? A to resolve a conflict between states with many people and states with fewer people Explain that the number of representatives apportioned to a state is adjusted every ten years following the national census. If a state gains enough population relative to the other states, it gains representatives. If the opposite is true, a state may lose representatives. Visual Literacy: Illustration Ask students to identify the building associated with the legislative branch. Interactive in the enhanced online student ebook CAPTION ANSWER: because the city is the capital of the United States The Legislative Branch Under the Constitution, three branches share government powers. The delegates created this separation of powers to keep any one branch from controlling the government. It creates a limited government, protecting both citizens and the other branches. Article I of the Constitution explains the legislative branch, or lawmaking branch, of the government. Powers given to Congress include making laws to manage conflict, raising an army and a navy, declaring war, and coining and printing money. Congress also controls commerce, or trade. Congress became two houses the House of Representatives and the Senate. Either house could propose most bills. For a bill to become law, a majority in each house would have to vote for it. Lincoln Memorial Washington, D.C. ILLUSTRATION The streets of Washington, D.C., today reflect the original plan laid out by Pierre Charles L Enfant. Why do you think there are so many monuments and memorials in one city? 400 Unit 5 Vietnam Veterans Memorial Korean War Veterans Memorial Citizens Elect Representatives Citizens were given the power to vote for members of the House of Representatives. Senators would be chosen by their state legislatures. Today, citizens vote directly for members of both houses of Congress. The number of representatives would depend on the state s population. Today, the total number of representatives in the House is limited to 435. That number is divided among the states based on each state s population. In the Senate, each state has two senators. Article I outlines other rules for Congress. For example, members of the House of Representatives are elected to two-year terms, while members of the Senate serve six-year terms. SUMMARIZE What are the main powers of Congress? The main powers of Congress are to make laws, raise an army and a navy, declare war, and control commerce. World War II Memorial White House Practice and Extend Focus Draw Conclusions Have students reread the first paragraph of page 400. Encourage students to draw conclusions as to why the delegates would not want any one branch controlling the government. Use FOCUS SKILLS TRANSPARENCY 5. Graphic Organizer Write-On/Wipe-Off Cards available Treasury Washington Monument Jefferson Memorial Suffixes Tell students to use a dictionary to find words that have the same root as legislative but different suffixes. Have them write down the part of speech and meaning for each word they find. Then challenge students to use the words in oral sentences. Possible words: legislate, legislator, legislation 400 UNIT 5

4 The Executive Branch In Article II, the Constitution says the power to enforce laws is given to the executive branch. Some delegates believed that one person should be the chief executive. Others felt a single executive would be too much like a king. The delegates decided to have a President. Citizens vote for electors, who vote for the President. This group of electors is called the electoral college. The Role of President To be elected President, a person must be at least 35 years old and have been born in the United States. The President must also have lived in the United States for 14 years. The President is elected to a four-year term. Once again, the delegates were careful to maintain the separation of powers. They decided that the President could veto, or reject, bills passed by Congress. However, Congress could then override the President s veto with a two-thirds vote. The delegates also made the President commander in chief of the military. The President s main power, however, would be to take care that the laws be faithfully executed. If this duty was not met, Congress could impeach the President, or accuse the President of crimes. If found guilty, the President could be removed from office. Why were the delegates careful to preserve the separation of powers? They wanted to prevent one branch from having too much power. The Executive Branch CONTENT FOCUS Article II of the Constitution describes the executive branch, which enforces the law. Refer to R34 R36 for the full text of Article II. Have students define the vocabulary words on this page and use them as a springboard for a discussion about the separation of powers. National Museum of American History National Gallery of Art National Museum of Natural History United States Capitol National Museum of the American Indian Supreme Court Building Chapter Correct Misconceptions Students may think that the electoral college is a school or a place, such as a campus. Explain that the word college can mean a group of people who have a shared duty. Students also may think that the presidential candidate who gets the most popular votes wins the election. Explain that this is not true. The candidate who wins a majority of electoral votes wins the election. Most states have a winner-take-all system, so that the candidate who wins the popular vote in the state wins all the state s electoral votes. Under this system, it is possible for a candidate to win the national popular vote but lose the electoral vote. Advanced Instruct students to learn more about the electoral college and the way it works. Have them share their findings with the class. Presidential Term Limits The Constitution originally set no limit on the number of four-year terms a President could serve. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, elected four times beginning in 1932, was the nation s longest-serving President. In 1951, the Twenty-second Amendment set a two-term limit for Presidents. Civics and Government Review the powers granted to the executive branch and the President. Explain that most bills need only a simple majority (half the members of the house that is voting, plus one) of votes in Congress to pass. However, to override a President s veto, Congress needs a larger majority two-thirds of the members of each house. Q What are two ways in which Congress can limit the President s power? A It can override the President s veto and it can impeach the President. CHAPTER

5 The Judicial Branch CONTENT FOCUS Article III of the Constitution describes the judicial branch, which is the court system. Refer to R36 R37 for the full text. Have students look at the illustration and read the caption. Have them write a sentence that describes the main idea of this page. The Judicial Branch According to Article III, the judicial branch must decide whether laws are working fairly. The judicial branch is the court system. Although the states already had their own courts, the delegates created a federal court system, too. These courts would decide cases that dealt with the Constitution, treaties, and national laws. They would also decide cases between states and between citizens of different states. The Supreme Court The delegates did not organize the judicial branch in as much detail as the other branches. Most of their decisions applied only to the Supreme Court, the highest court in the United States. It would head the judicial branch. The delegates decided that the President would nominate the Supreme Court justices, or judges. The Senate would vote whether to approve them. The delegates decided that Supreme Court justices could stay in office for life. This would allow justices to make decisions without worrying about losing their jobs. At first, there were six Supreme Court justices. Today, there are nine. The Supreme Court has the power to strike down any law that goes against the Constitution. Only by changing the THE SUPREME COURT BUILDING Housed in this building since 1935, the Supreme Court is the highest court in the United States. Civics and Government Call students attention to the fact that the states have their own court systems. Q Why did the delegates create a federal court system? A to decide cases that involve the whole nation or more than one state Civics and Government Review with students the powers granted to the Supreme Court. Tell students that the Supreme Court meets in Washington, D.C. Q What is one way in which the Supreme Court limits the power of Congress? A It can decide that a law passed by Congress is unconstitutional and has to be thrown out. 402 Unit 5 Practice and Extend Civics and Government Review with students the system for amending the Constitution. Point out that large majorities are required at each step to approve an amendment. Q Why do you think the delegates made it difficult to change the Constitution? A Possible response: If the Constitution were constantly being changed, the government and the nation would lack stability. Leveled Practice Have students summarize what they learned about the three branches of the federal government. Basic Have students draw a tree with three large branches. They should label the trunk federal government and then review the lesson to label the branches. Finally, they should describe orally what each branch does. Proficient Have students make a table showing the three branches of government, the function of each, and the main group or official in each branch. Advanced Have students identify the three branches of government and the function of each branch. Then have them write a paragraph describing how each branch of government limits the power of the other two. 402 UNIT 5

6 Name Constitution can Congress restore a law struck down by the Supreme Court. The government must also apply laws equally to every person. This is called rule of law. Changing the Constitution The delegates understood that as time passed the Constitution might need to be changed. The delegates agreed on how citizens could add amendments, or changes, to the Constitution. Amendments may be proposed by a two-thirds vote in Congress or by a national convention called for by twothirds of the states and approved by Congress. For an amendment to pass, three-fourths of all the states must approve it. This system was set up to give representatives the time they need to study an amendment. How does the Supreme Court limit the power of Congress? The Supreme Court can declare laws unconstitutional. 1. WHAT TO KNOW What are the powers of each of the three branches of government? 2. VOCABULARY Use the terms legislative branch, executive branch, and judicial branch to explain the separation of powers. 3. CIVICS/GOVERNMENT What powers do citizens have in selecting the President and members of Congress? 4. CRITICAL THINKING Make It Relevant Do you think the Constitution is important to protecting our liberty today? Explain your answer. HOMEWORK AND PRACTICE Date Three Branches of Government Use the words and phrases in the box to complete the diagram. Supreme Court President Senate Executive Branch Senate Legislative Branch House of Representatives Executive Branch President Vice President Read the list below of jobs in the government. In the space provided, write a brief description of the duties of the person holding that job. 1 Representatives Representatives can make laws to manage conflict, raise an army and a navy, declare war, and coin and print money. They also control trade. 2 President The President can veto bills, is commander in chief of the military, and carries out the nation's laws faithfully. 3 Supreme Court justices Justices decide cases dealing with the Constitution, national law, or treaties. They also decide cases between states and between citizens of different states. PAGE 94 Judicial Branch Supreme Court District Courts Harcourt LAW This statue, which represents the authority of law, sits at the entrance to the Supreme Court. Summary The Constitution divides power among three branches of government the legislative, the executive, and the judicial. 5. WRITE A SET OF RULES Write a set of classroom rules that illustrates the ideas in the Constitution. 6. Focus On a separate sheet of paper, copy and complete this graphic organizer. Leaders work together. The Constitution divides the powers among the three branches. Chapter Score 4 clearly establishes a set of rules provides excellent explanation has no grammatical errors Score 3 adequately establishes a set of rules provides adequate explanation has few grammatical errors Score 2 approximates a set of rules provides fair explanation has some grammatical errors Score 1 does not establish a set of rules provides poor explanation has many grammatical errors 3 Close Summary Have students read the summary and restate the lesson s key content. The Constitution created three branches of government. Each branch limits the power of the other branches. Assess REVIEW Answers 1. What to Know The legislative branch has the power to make laws. The executive branch has the power to enforce laws. The judicial branch has the power to decide whether the laws are working fairly. 2. Vocabulary Possible response: The power of the federal government is divided among the legislative branch, the executive branch, and the judicial branch. This separation of powers keeps any one branch from controlling the government. 3. Civics and Government the power to vote 4. Critical Thinking Make It Relevant Possible response: yes, because it ensures the preservation of liberty for all Americans 5. Write a Set of Rules Assessment Guidelines See Writing Rubric. 6. Focus Draw Conclusions EVIDENCE: Possible response: Congress makes laws, the President enforces the laws, and the judicial branch decides whether the laws are fair. Use Focus s Transparency 5 or Draw Conclusions Graphic Organizer Write-On/ Wipe-Off Card. CHAPTER

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