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Legislative Branch
Overview, Key Understandings & Questions

Theme Key Understandings

  • New political systems are shaped by emulating and opposing older systems of government
  • Governments evolve over time as societies change
  • Democratic governments rely on compromise
  • In a representative democracy, population data shapes government structure and politics
  • Bicameral legislatures assign unique powers to each house
  • Congressional committees allow for specialized policy development in the legislative branch
  • The process of a bill becoming a law involves deal making between the executive and legislative branches of government

Key Questions

What is the Legislative Branch?

  • What are the specific powers of the legislative branch in regards to law making, taxing and spending, and oversight of the government?
  • How does the legislative branch serve as a check on presidential power? Do you think it should have more or fewer "checks" on the president?

The Congress of the United States

  • How is the U.S. Congress organized? Why did the founders choose to organize it in this way?
  • Compare and contrast the responsibilities of the members of the House of Representatives and the Senate. Which legislative body would you rather be a part of? Why?

House of Representatives

  • How are representatives to the House of Representatives chosen? Whose interests are they supposed to represent in Congress?
  • What are two powers unique to the House of Representatives?


  • How are senators chosen? How is this different from how they were originally selected?
  • Whose interests are Senators supposed to represent in Congress?
  • What are two powers unique to the Senate?

Congressional Districts

  • Describe the process for allocating and drawing congressional districts.
  • How does the districting process affect the way decisions are made by Congress?

How a Bill Becomes a Law

  • Explain the process it takes for a bill to become a law.
  • Why is deal making important to this bill-to-law process?

Powers of Congress

  • What are three specific powers of Congress that give them the most influence within the U.S. government?
  • Does the power of Congress to investigate enhance or impede the effectiveness of the executive branch?

Congressional Committees

  • Why does each house of Congress divide work up into committees?
  • How does the work of congressional committees influence legislation?

MLA Citation

"Legislative Branch." History Hub, ABC-CLIO, 2019, historyhub.abc-clio.com/Search/Display/2142493. Accessed 22 Jan. 2019.

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Entry ID: 2142493

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