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The Constitution
Guide: Three Branches

These resources help explain the structure of the three branches of the U.S. government. Use these resources to help students understand the purpose and duties of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government. Use the Export to My Lists button above to turn this into a research list for your students.

Theme Key Understandings

  • Societies need government to promote harmony, reduce conflict, and increase economic productivity
  • Governments come in many forms, including rule by one, rule by a few, and rule by many
  • Philosophical thought often influences a society's form of government
  • New political systems are shaped by emulating and opposing older systems of government
  • Founding documents are a result of compromise and the direct experiences of those drafting them
  • Democratic governments derive their power from the consent of the governed
  • Protection of individual rights and liberties is central to American democracy
  • Democratic governments strike a balance between majority rule and minority rights

Key Questions

  • How would you describe the primary purpose of each of the three branches of American government?
  • Which of these branches do you think is most misunderstood by the American people?


  1. Overview: Three Branches
  2. Visuals: Three Branches (Visual)
  3. Outline: Outline
  4. Transcript: Transcript
  5. Lesson: Introduction
  6. Lesson: 1-The Legislative Branch
  7. Lesson: 2-The Executive Branch
  8. Lesson: 3-The Judicial Branch
  9. Lesson: Closing
  10. Glossary Terms: executive branch
  11. Glossary Terms: judicial branch
  12. Glossary Terms: legislative branch
  13. Reference Articles: President
  14. Reference Articles: Supreme Court, U.S.
  15. Reference Articles: U.S. Congress
  16. Political, Government & Court Documents: Federalist, The, No. 47 (1788)
  17. Political, Government & Court Documents: Federalist, The, No. 48 (1788)
  18. Political, Government & Court Documents: Federalist, The, No. 49 (1788)
  19. Political, Government & Court Documents: Federalist, The, No. 50 (1788)
  20. Political, Government & Court Documents: Federalist, The, No. 51 (1788)
  21. Political, Government & Court Documents: U.S. Constitution (1787)

MLA Citation

"Three Branches." History Hub, ABC-CLIO, 2020, historyhub.abc-clio.com/Support/Content/2156121?cid=256. Accessed 18 Feb. 2020.

Entry ID: 2156121

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