An Analysis of Checks and Balances in American Political Systems

By Robert Mcdonald,2014-09-07 08:48
418 views 0
An Analysis of Checks and Balances in American Political SystemsAn A

    1. Introduction --------------------------------------------------------------------------------1 2.

    Demonstration -----------------------------------------------------------------------------1 2.1. The

    three branches of American government ---------------------------------------1 2.1.1. The

    Legislative branch ---------------------------------------------------------------1 2.1.2. The

    Executive branch ----------------------------------------------------------------2 2.1.3. The Judicial

    branch -------------------------------------------------------------------2 2.2. The system of checks

    and balances ---------------------------------------------------3 2.2.1. The separation of powers

    -------------------------------------------------------------3 2.2.2. Implementation of the checks

    and balances ----------------------------------------3 2.3. Merits and demerits of the system of

    checks and balances -------------------------4 2.3.1. The advantages of checks and balances

    ---------------------------------------------4 2.3.2. The disadvantages of checks and balances

    -----------------------------------------4 3. Conclusion


    Bibliography -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------6

    An Analysis of "Checks and Balances" in American Political Systems

    Introduction The United States is a free and democratic country;more than 200 years ago,

    in order to prevent abuse of power, the American funding father established a government

    of separate branches, specifically, they divided the government into three branches:

    legislative, executive, and judicial. Each of the three branches plays an important role in the

    government, they all have their own different powers. The separation of powers and the

    system of "checks and balances" are so important to the United States, so it is rewarding for

    us to have an analysis on this form in American political system.


     The three branches of American government

     As mentioned above, the American government is made up of the executive branch, the legislative branch and the judicial branch, these three branches are not independent from each other, because the separation of powers is associated with the system of checks and balances. The Legislative branch.

    The legislative branch is one three branches of the U.S. Government .The legislative branch consists of the Senate and the House of Representatives, collectively known as the Congress which has the sole power to legislate. There are 100 senators for each state has two. And , there are 435 members of the House.The Vice President of the United States serves as President of the Senate. Only the Senate can confirm the President's appointments that require approvement . But, there are two exceptions to this rule: the House must also approve appointments to the Vice Presidency and any treaty that involves foreign trade. The Senate also tries impeachment cases for federal officials referred to it. The House has several powers, including the power to initiate revenue bills, impeach federal officials, and elect the President in the case of an electoral college tie.

    In order to pass legislation and send it to the President for his signature, both the House and the Senate must pass the same bill by majority vote. If the President object to a bill, they may override his opposement by passing the bill again in each parts with at least two-thirds of each body voting

in favor.

    The Executive branch

     The Executive branch is also one of the three branches which consists of the president, vice president and 15 Cabinet-level departments such as State, Defense, Interior, Transportation and Education. A vital function of the executive branch is to ensure that laws are carried out orderly. The primary power of the executive branch is in the hand of the president, and the president chooses his vice president, and his Cabinet members. The president is elected every four years. In the meanwhile, the president is also the commander-in-chief of the U.S. Armed Forces and the leader of the whole country. If the president is unable to accomplish his duty for any reason or even steps down, the vice president will serve as president. The vice president also is the leader of the Senate. The Cabinet and independent federal agencies are responsible for the daily enforcement of federal laws. Including members of the armed forces, the Executive Branch employs more than 4 million American.

    The Judicial branch

     The last branch is the judicial branch, the laws of the United States are complex and sometimes it is confusing. So, America needs a branch to decide what is constitutional and what is not. And they choose the Judicial branch. The Judicial branch consists of the United States Supreme Court and lower federal courts. Only the Supreme courts can interpret the law and apply it to individual cases. The subordinate courts are constrained by the decisions of the Supreme Court, that means, once the Supreme Court interprets a law, subordinate courts must obey the Supreme Court's interpretation .The U.S. Supreme Court has nine Justices, they are chosen by the President but confirmed by the Senate, and they have a lifetime appointment, that is to say, Federal judges can only be removed through impeachment by the House of Representatives and conviction in the Senate.

The system of checks and balances

     In fact, Separation of powers of the U.S. is not absolute to ensure that no single person or department had an exceeded power, the founding fathers created the system of checks and balances. Each branch can check the power of the other two branches to make sure that the power is balanced between them.

    The separation of powers

     The separation of powers is seen as the basic of the system of checks and balances. Under the system, the government's power are divided into three parts, the legislative branch that made up of the House of Representatives and the Senate is to make the law, the executive branch that headed by the president is to enforce the law and the judicial branch represented by the Supreme Court is to interpret the law. At the same time, like the federal government, the state governments also have the three branches generally.

    Implementation of the checks and balances

    Next, I will describe how the three branches check and balance each other in three parts.

     First, the legislative branch and the executive branch. The Congress gives the money to the executive branch. The Congress can confirm the president's budgets. And it also has the power to create and abolish executive departments. It has the power to override a presidential opposement. The presidential appointments and treaties must get the approval of the Senate. However, the president can check the Congress at the same time. To become laws, all the bills passed by the

    Congress must be signed by the president . The president has the power to veto down any bills that passed by the Congress and return them back to the Congress. The president also can suggest legislation to the Congress.

     Second, the legislative branch and The judicial branch. The Congress gives money to the Judicial branch. It can create and abolish lower federal courts. The Congress also has the power to impeach and try members of the Judicial branch. And it has the power to decide how many justices may sit on the Supreme Court. However, the Supreme Court can check the Congress by declaring the Congressional laws unconstitutional.

    Third, the executive branch and The judicial branch. The president can appoint the federal judges. At the same time, the Supreme Court may declare any presidential or executive actions unconstitutional, in this way, it can check the president.

     As we can see, it is difficult for one person or one agency to enlarge power in America. Merits and demerits of the system of checks and balances

     As the proverb goes, no garden without weeds, the system of checks and balances is no exception. Funding fathers' goal is to establish an outstanding and perfect political system, throughout American history ,did they really achieved their goals In the following content, I will analyze the advantages and disadvantages of the system.

     The advantages of checks and balances

    To begin with, the system of checks and balances create great independence among the judicial, executive, and legislative branches of the U.S. government. Each branch can run itself separately, it gives them the liberty to operate without restraint from another branch.

     In the second place, As designated by the Constitution, each part of the U.S. government is limited in their power. Just like what we have said, it ensures that no single government branch can overtake another when making policy decisions.

     Lastly, each branch of the government can restrict their members from inappropriate operations. The disadvantages of checks and balances

    It is obvious that there are some disadvantages in the system of checks and balances.

     Checks and balances is somewhat idealistic for it ignores the contradiction of interests between the three branches .And, it will also lead to ineffectiveness in the U.S. government. For example, if the legislative branch and executive branch have different views on an issue, the legislative branch will wait for a long time until the president sign the law. Similarly , the president may have a hard time getting his agenda approved by the Congress. As a result, many new policies and laws may get into the stalemate. And, traditionally ,the judicial branch is considered the weakest and executive is the most powerful. So, we can see the three branches are not absolutely equal from each other.

    Conclusion The system of checks and balances has never changed since the establishment more than 200 years ago and still plays an important role in American political life. Today , the United States has long been the world's superpower, this is related to her democratic political system ,and this political system will certainly affect the world more widely. At the same time, due to the demerits inside the system, I think that there must be a constitutional reform in the future.

    Bibliography Pu, Xingzu, and Hong, Tao. A History of Western Political Theories. Shanghai: Fudan University Press, 1999. Su, Lichang. American Society and Culture. Tianjing: Nankai University Press, 2006. Zhang, Guoqing. Public Administration. 3rd ed. Beijing: Peking University Press, 2007. ution

Report this document

For any questions or suggestions please email