The Three Branches of Government!
Is it a balancing act?
Our Founding Fathers fought the Revolutionary War to gain freedom from the tyranny of a British king and a strong federal government. After the war ended in 1783, it is understandable why they chose to govern themselves using a system called the Articles of Confederation. This was a system that would not allow for any one person to have too much power. Although the Articles of Confederation gave tremendous power to the states or people, a dreadfully weak Central government was created.
Realizing this system did not work, the 13 American states needed a new government - one that would allow a balance of power between the state and federal government. In the words of George Washington, the government created by the Articles of the Confederation was "little more than the shadow without the substance."
In 1787, delegates from most of the thirteen states were sent to a Federal Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia to draft this new form of government known as the Constitution. One of the greatest problems at this convention centered on how to divide the powers within the federal government to avoid the risk of dictatorship or tyranny.
This leads us to our investigation. Our Founding Fathers dealt with this problem by assigning all power to what is called the ÒThree Branches of GovernmentÓ (Executive Branch, the Legislative Branch, and the Judicial Branch) while guaranteeing that another could check the power of any branch.
Let us now go on a Web Quest to explore why our Founding Fathers chose to handle that problem in this particular way? Will it work?
á How will the Three Branches (parts) of Government solve the problem of dividing the powers equally within the federal government?
á How can these three branches check others to allow for a balance of power?
You will take on one of the following roles:
á Executive Branch Member
á Legislative Branch Member
á Judicial Branch Member
You will work with a small group of students to research and explore one of the Three Branches of Government. You and your group will use this information to create a multimedia presentation to the class (PowerPoint, skit, commercial, etc.) which will clearly and acccurately portray the responsibilities and structure of your branch.
You will also use your researched knowledge of the function and structure of your branch of government to role-play a scenario of a bill (created by student groups pursuing a class or school law) as it goes through the process of becoming a law. You will fill out a bill form during this simulation to propose a law and describe your branch's role in the law making process.