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State Government
Guide: Three Branches of State Government

This collection of resources outlines the roles and responsibilities of the three branches of state government. Fact sheets and documents provide a closer look at the inner workings of specific state governments. Use the Export to My Lists button above to turn this into a research list for your students.

Theme Key Understandings

  • Local governments play a critical role in citizens' everyday lives, providing services such as police and fire protection, utilities, and education
  • The size and organization of a local government impacts the way it functions
  • State government structures resemble that of the federal government with responsibilities and powers split between three branches: legislative, executive, and judicial
  • State governments both share some responsibilities with the federal government and have some separate areas of responsibility
  • The resources of a community impact its government's policies and effectiveness
  • States often serve as laboratories for government policy at the national level
  • States' election policies directly impact political outcomes at all levels of government

Key Questions

  • What are the primary responsibilities of the executive branch of the state government? Compare and contrast it with the U.S. presidency.
  • Explain the differences between progressive and Jacksonian traditions in the organization of state governments. How might these traditions lead to different outcomes in state policy?


  1. Overview: Three Branches of State Government
  2. Visuals: State Court System (Visual)
  3. Outline: Outline
  4. Transcript: Transcript
  5. Lesson: Introduction
  6. Lesson: 1-The Governor and the Executive Branch
  7. Lesson: 2-The State Legislature
  8. Lesson: 3-State Courts and Judicial Branch
  9. Lesson: Closing
  10. Glossary Terms: state courts
  11. Photos & Illustrations: Brown, Jerry: discusses state budget cuts
  12. Photos & Illustrations: California court voids same-sex marriages
  13. Facts & Figures: California Government Information
  14. Facts & Figures: Texas Government Information
  15. Reference Articles: State Legislature
  16. Reference Articles: Governor, Office of
  17. Political, Government & Court Documents: Indiana Constitution (adopted 1851)
  18. Political, Government & Court Documents: Wisconsin Constitution (adopted 1848)

MLA Citation

"Three Branches of State Government." History Hub, ABC-CLIO, 2019, historyhub.abc-clio.com/Search/Display/2156145. Accessed 17 Feb. 2019.

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Entry ID: 2156145

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