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The Constitution
Guide: Checks and Balances

These resources highlight how the system of checks and balances in the U.S. government works. Use these resources to help students understand how the three branches of government are able to check each other's power. 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

  • What do you believe are the three most important checks and balances in the U. S. Constitution. Why?
  • Describe the differences between checks and balances and the separation of powers?


  1. Overview: Checks and Balances
  2. Visuals: Checks and Balances (Visual)
  3. Outline: Outline
  4. Transcript: Transcript
  5. Lesson: Introduction
  6. Lesson: 1-Why Checks and Balances?
  7. Lesson: 2-The Legislative Branch
  8. Lesson: 3-The Executive Branch
  9. Lesson: 4-The Judicial Branch
  10. Lesson: Closing
  11. Glossary Terms: power of the purse
  12. Glossary Terms: veto
  13. Reference Articles: Executive Orders
  14. Reference Articles: Checks and Balances
  15. Reference Articles: Judicial Review
  16. Reference Articles: Separation of Powers
  17. Political, Government & Court Documents: Impeachment and Removal (CRS, 2015)
  18. Political, Government & Court Documents: Federalist, The, No. 51 (1788)
  19. Political, Government & Court Documents: U.S. Constitution (1787)

MLA Citation

"Checks and Balances." History Hub, ABC-CLIO, 2020, historyhub.abc-clio.com/Support/Content/2156123?cid=256. Accessed 18 Feb. 2020.

Entry ID: 2156123

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