The basis of our government was realized by Lord Acton, a British historian when he wrote, Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. He knew that if any one person or group ran a country, they would soon become power crazed and lose the respect and support of its citizens. This is the reason why our forefathers came up with a system of checks and balances to ensure that no one group could control the entire government. Lord Acton was not the first to believe in a separated government. Philosophers dating back to Aristotle favored a government that contained the elements of monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy. John Locke later wrote that the best way to eliminate corruption in government was to separate the powers of the legislative and executive branches. Montesquieu added the powers of the judiciary branch to complete what we now call separation of powers. Our forefathers only had to refine the philosophers ideas to come up with our present system of government. Basically they wrote that the executive branch enforces the laws, the legislative branch passes the laws, and the judiciary branch interprets the laws.
The president runs the executive branch. The president has many powers including the right to veto a bill. If Congress passes a bill, the president can veto it and unless each house has a two-thirds vote to override the veto, the bill never becomes a law. Over the history of our government, presidents have vetoed over 2,500 acts of Congress and been overridden over 100 times. The president can also call Congress into a special session if they do not act upon proposed legislation by the president. Since the president is head of a political party he can easily influence Congress into legislation. The president can appeal directly to the public in order to influence Congress. Presidents also have a unique power to pardon people who have been convicted of federal crimes. Another task of our president is to begin the process of appointing all federal judges and other officers of the government, such as his cabinet, ambassadors, ministers, and consuls. Before these positions can be appointed Congress also has to approve each of the officers who were elected by the president. All Supreme Court Judges have been elected by the president then approved by Congress before being appointed. The relationships of the United States and other foreign countries are mostly determined by the president He has the power to decide whether to recognize new nations and governments, and in turn to negotiate treaties with them. He cannot however do this alone. He is dependent on the Senate to approve the treaties with a two-thirds vote. The Senate does not always need to approve the negotiations with foreign nations. The president can negotiate executive agreements without having to be approved by the Senate.
The Congress, which runs the legislative branch is made up of two houses, the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Senate contains two officials elected from each of the fifty states and population determines the number of officials in the House. This means that the more densely populated states have a higher number of representatives. Congress is where amendments and bills are first voted on. In the case of the president vetoing their proposed bill, the Congress can vote again and with a two-third majority still pass the bill. It then passes through to the Supreme Court, which is the last stop for a proposed bill. It is there that the judges determine whether the new bill is Unconstitutional and if so the bill is not passed. In all 155 congressional acts have been deemed by the Supreme Court to be Unconstitutional.
The federal budget has to be approved by the Congress. All revenue bills must originate in the House then be approved by the Senate. This is to ensure that the States with larger populations cannot control the money situation. In fact any bill that is passed by one house can be voted against in the other. With a majority, that bill will not be passed through for the presidents approval. The Senate also has a few powers that are reserved strictly for them. Only the Senate