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Government Cheat Sheet

Branches of the Government 1. Legislative Branch: a branch of government that makes the laws Duties: Makes all laws, approves treaties, declares war, passes taxes House of Representatives (435 members) 1. A states population determines its number of representatives 2. Term: 2 years 3. Minimum Age: 25 years old 4. Citizenship: U.S. citizen for at least 7 years 5. Has the power to impeach the president, federal judges, and all other federal officials. 6. All tax or spending legislation (laws) originate (start) in The House. The Senate (100 members) 1. Each state has two senators 2. Every two years 1/3 of all senators are up for reelection. 3. Term: 6 years 4. Minimum Age: 30 years 5. Citizenship: U.S. citizen for at least 9 years 6. Confirms presidential appointments, approves treaties, and originates all types of laws except tax laws. 2. Executive Branch: The branch of the government that enforces the laws Term: 4 years limited to 2 terms Minimum Age: 35 years Citizenship: Must be a natural born citizen having lived in the United States at least 14 years Duties: 1. Chief Executive: power to enforce the laws and make appointments. 2. CommanderinChief: has ultimate power over the military operations 3. Foreign Policy (interaction with other countries) director: power to make treaties (with consent of the Senate); authority to nominate ambassadors and receive foreign ambassadors. 4. Legislative Leader: chief architect of public policies (example: President can ask members of his party to write and vote on laws on important subjects). 5. Party head: head of own political party. 6. Chief of State: carries out the ceremonial functions of the office.

3. Judicial Branch: The branch of the government that interprets the laws. Duties: Settles arguments of law. Interprets laws and treaties. Includes: 1. Supreme Court nine justices serving lifetime appointments. 2. Appellate Courts ten courts in geographic areas called circuits. 3. District Courts at least one in each state; more in larger states. Checks and Balances: To prevent a strong central government from abusing its power, the powers of the U.S. government were limited and divided among three equal branches. To prevent any one branch from misusing its powers, each branch was given the ability to check (watch over) the powers of the other branches. 1. Legislative Branch Checks on Executive Branch May override the Presidents Veto, may reject Presidential appointments, may impeach the President, and controls the budget and money. Checks on the Judicial Branch May impeach judges and may reject judicial appointments. 2. Executive Branch Checks on the Legislative Branch the President can veto (reject) congressional laws. Checks on the Judicial Branch The President appoints federal judges and can grant pardons (excuse an offense). 3. Judicial Branch Checks on the Executive Branch Decides whether an executive action is Constitutional. Checks on the Legislative Branch Decides whether congressional actions are constitutional. Helpful Vocabulary: Constitution: a blue print that describes the structure of government. Legislate: to make laws Representative: a person elected to speak for the people Impeach: to formally accuse an official of a crime related to governmental duties. Amend: any change to the Constitution Republic: type of government in which the people elect representatives. Democracy: type of government in which the people rule Seven Principles of government: Popular Sovereignty, Republicanism, Limited Government, Separation of Powers, Checks and Balances, Federalism, and Individual Rights.