Checks and Balances
Learn about what they are and how the government uses them
What are Checks and Balances?
The dictionary tells you that it means: counterbalancing influences by which an organization or system is regulated, typically those ensuring that political power is not concentrated in the hands of individuals or groups. But what the heck does that even mean!? Basically, checks and balances are a system the government uses to make sure that one branch does not gain too much power. For example: if the president vetoes a bill, the Legislative can override it with a 2/3 or more vote.
How does the checks and balances system stop tyranny?
If one branch is gaining too much power, then the other branches can check them, and put that branch back in it's place. So, the system prevents the branch's from abusing their power, or trying to take the power from the other branches. To fully understand, you need to have some examples, so keep reading down the page!
Want that worded differently?
Checks and Balances Picture Thing
Here is checks and balances put simply.
More Checks and Balances
In case you still don't get it..
Even More Checks and Balances
You get it now?
The Constitutin is cool!
Want some examples?
Lets apply what you now know about checks and balances, and use some examples to help you comprehend this. Example number one: the president has the power to appoint judges, ambassadors, etc., but the Senate must approve the choices. This is an example of checks and balances because the Senate can check who becomes a judge (or ambassador), but only the president can pick who he/she wants for the job. Example number two: if the Legislative has a majority vote on a bill, then it goes to the president, who can veto, then it can be sent back to the Legislative for a 2/3 (or more) vote to make the bill a law. This is an example of checks and balances because the president can veto the bills the Legislative makes, and Legislative can override the president's veto.