Branches of Government

If our government were a tree, it would be a sad one—only three branches. The three branches of the government look like this: judicial, legislative, and executive. The executive branch includes the president and his administration; the judicial includes the Supreme Court and the federal court system; the legislative branch makes laws and includes the House of Representatives and the Senate.

LanguageEnglish Language
Texas EOCU.S. History EOC Assessment
ThemesPolitics
U.S. History EOC AssessmentHistory

Transcript

00:15

This document we’re writing is a big deal. [Framed document of US Constitution]

00:19

It’s going to be the foundation on which our nation will be built…

00:21

… so we’d better make it a good one.

00:23

We don’t want to have to go adding a bunch of “amendments” years from now.

00:26

That would be embarrassing.

00:27

Okay, so one of our foremost goals is to create a system of checks and balances.

00:32

We’ve had some… not-so-great experiences with British kings and parliament… [British King outside Parliament]

00:37

…and we don’t exactly want to follow in their tyrannical footsteps.

00:41

In our opinion, having all the power in the hands of only a few is an epic fail.

00:45

So we’re setting out to create a system of government where no individual or institution [Cat on a podium]

00:49

can acquire tyrannical power.

00:51

We’re dividing everything into three branches…

00:54

Legislative…

00:55

…Executive…

00:56

…and Judicial. [Executive, Judicial and Legislative branches appear from a tree]

00:58

No one branch holds more power than the others…

01:00

… so they can keep tabs on each other and make sure nobody gets out of line.

01:04

Alright. Let's start here.

01:05

The Legislative and Executive branches can also help the Supreme Court when one of the [Legislative branch holding stop sign as executive branch appears]

01:09

Justices needs to cross the street…

01:12

Let’s be honest.

01:13

A few of them are getting up there in years…

01:15

The Legislative branch consists of the House of Representatives and the Senate…

01:19

i.e. Congress.

01:20

It’s their job to vote on laws, or pieces of legislation.

01:24

Or to… get all stubborn and fight with members of the opposing party, or… whatever. [Man arguing with a branch]

01:29

The Executive branch includes the President and Vice-President…

01:33

…but also cabinet members, like the Secretary of… well, just about everything.

01:37

Education, Agriculture, Transportation, and so on.

01:41

If you’re going to be a secretary, this is the kind of secretary to be. [Woman secretary in an office]

01:44

You’ll get at least an extra zero or two on your paycheck.

01:47

Finally, you’ve got the Judicial branch.

01:50

Here, we’ve got the Supreme Court, which oversees all court systems in the entire country. [Judicial branch and judge bangs a gavel]

01:55

The Supreme Court trumps all decisions made by lower courts…

01:58

…so they can basically swoop in and say, “Aw, heck no!”

02:02

And then write their own decision that they feel is more just.

02:06

It is the Supreme Court’s job to correctly interpret, enforce and judge important court

02:11

cases according to the laws of the land…

02:13

…some of which have just been drawn up by the President…

02:16

…and put in place by Congress…

02:18

See how everything comes full circle?

02:19

Well, I’d better get back to work.

02:21

Benji’s getting antsy.

02:22

That guy does not believe in taking breaks. [Alexander Hamilton and Benjamin Franklin appears behind him]

02:25

Good thing we’re not making him President…