full transcript

From the Ted Talk by Belinda Stutzman: How is power divided in the United States government?

Unscramble the Blue Letters

Have you ever wondered who has the authority to make laws or punsih people who braek them? When we think of power in the United States, we usually think of the President, but he does not act alone. In fact, he is only one piece of the power puzzle and for very good reason. When the arcieamn rtuoeliovn ended in 1783, the United States government was in a state of cnhage. The founding fathers knew that they did not want to eslatibsh another country that was ruled by a king, so the dniousisscs were centered on having a strong and fair national government that protected individual freedoms and did not aubse its poewr. When the new constitution was adopted in 1787, the structure of the infant gonmnerevt of the uietnd States called for three separate branches, each with their own powers, and a system of checks and balances. This would ensure that no one branch would ever become too powerful because the other branches would always be able to ccehk the power of the other two. These branches work together to run the coutrny and set guidelines for us all to live by. The legislative branch is described in Article 1 of the U.S. Constitution. Many people feel that the founding fehrats put this branch in the dnceuomt first because they thought it was the most important. The legislative branch is comprised of 100 U.S. sroeants and 435 members in the U.S. House of Representatives. This is better known as the U.S. Congress. Making laws is the primary function of the legislative branch, but it is also responsible for avrinoppg federal judges and justecis, passing the national budget, and drcleaing war. Each state gets two Senators and some nembur of Representatives, depending on how many people live in that state. The executive branch is described in Article 2 of the Constitution. The ledreas of this branch of government are the President and Vice psedinret, who are responsible for enforcing the laws that Congress sets forth. The President works coeslly with a group of advisors, known as the Cabinet. These appointed helpers assist the President in making important decisions within their area of expertise, such as defense, the treasury, and helaonmd security. The eivxtucee branch also appoints government officials, commands the amerd forces, and meets with leaders of other nations. All that combined is a lot of work for a lot of people. In fact, the executive branch employs over 4 million people to get everything done. The third brand of the U.S. government is the judicial branch and is detailed in Article 3. This bcanrh is comprised of all the courts in the land, from the federal district courts to the U.S. smpeure Court. These coruts interpret our nation's laws and punish those who break them. The highest court, the Supreme Court, settles disputes among seatts, hears appeals from state and federal courts, and determines if federal laws are constitutional. There are nine justices on the Supreme cuort, and, unlike any other job in our government, Supreme Court justices are appointed for life, or for as long as they want to stay. Our democracy depends on an informed ciirtnezy, so it is our duty to know how it works and what authority each branch of government has over its citizens. Besides voting, chances are that some time in your life you'll be called upon to participate in your government, whether it is to serve on a jury, testify in court, or petition your Congress psroen to pass or defeat an idea for a law. By knowning the branches, who runs them, and how they work together, you can be involved, informed, and ilennetligt.

Open Cloze

Have you ever wondered who has the authority to make laws or ______ people who _____ them? When we think of power in the United States, we usually think of the President, but he does not act alone. In fact, he is only one piece of the power puzzle and for very good reason. When the ________ __________ ended in 1783, the United States government was in a state of ______. The founding fathers knew that they did not want to _________ another country that was ruled by a king, so the ___________ were centered on having a strong and fair national government that protected individual freedoms and did not _____ its _____. When the new constitution was adopted in 1787, the structure of the infant __________ of the ______ States called for three separate branches, each with their own powers, and a system of checks and balances. This would ensure that no one branch would ever become too powerful because the other branches would always be able to _____ the power of the other two. These branches work together to run the _______ and set guidelines for us all to live by. The legislative branch is described in Article 1 of the U.S. Constitution. Many people feel that the founding _______ put this branch in the ________ first because they thought it was the most important. The legislative branch is comprised of 100 U.S. ________ and 435 members in the U.S. House of Representatives. This is better known as the U.S. Congress. Making laws is the primary function of the legislative branch, but it is also responsible for _________ federal judges and ________, passing the national budget, and _________ war. Each state gets two Senators and some ______ of Representatives, depending on how many people live in that state. The executive branch is described in Article 2 of the Constitution. The _______ of this branch of government are the President and Vice _________, who are responsible for enforcing the laws that Congress sets forth. The President works _______ with a group of advisors, known as the Cabinet. These appointed helpers assist the President in making important decisions within their area of expertise, such as defense, the treasury, and ________ security. The _________ branch also appoints government officials, commands the _____ forces, and meets with leaders of other nations. All that combined is a lot of work for a lot of people. In fact, the executive branch employs over 4 million people to get everything done. The third brand of the U.S. government is the judicial branch and is detailed in Article 3. This ______ is comprised of all the courts in the land, from the federal district courts to the U.S. _______ Court. These ______ interpret our nation's laws and punish those who break them. The highest court, the Supreme Court, settles disputes among ______, hears appeals from state and federal courts, and determines if federal laws are constitutional. There are nine justices on the Supreme _____, and, unlike any other job in our government, Supreme Court justices are appointed for life, or for as long as they want to stay. Our democracy depends on an informed _________, so it is our duty to know how it works and what authority each branch of government has over its citizens. Besides voting, chances are that some time in your life you'll be called upon to participate in your government, whether it is to serve on a jury, testify in court, or petition your Congress ______ to pass or defeat an idea for a law. By knowning the branches, who runs them, and how they work together, you can be involved, informed, and ___________.

Solution

  1. change
  2. revolution
  3. court
  4. person
  5. intelligent
  6. declaring
  7. power
  8. leaders
  9. punish
  10. document
  11. justices
  12. american
  13. government
  14. executive
  15. break
  16. establish
  17. closely
  18. president
  19. armed
  20. number
  21. supreme
  22. branch
  23. states
  24. discussions
  25. homeland
  26. citizenry
  27. senators
  28. courts
  29. abuse
  30. approving
  31. check
  32. fathers
  33. country
  34. united

Original Text

Have you ever wondered who has the authority to make laws or punish people who break them? When we think of power in the United States, we usually think of the President, but he does not act alone. In fact, he is only one piece of the power puzzle and for very good reason. When the American Revolution ended in 1783, the United States government was in a state of change. The founding fathers knew that they did not want to establish another country that was ruled by a king, so the discussions were centered on having a strong and fair national government that protected individual freedoms and did not abuse its power. When the new constitution was adopted in 1787, the structure of the infant government of the United States called for three separate branches, each with their own powers, and a system of checks and balances. This would ensure that no one branch would ever become too powerful because the other branches would always be able to check the power of the other two. These branches work together to run the country and set guidelines for us all to live by. The legislative branch is described in Article 1 of the U.S. Constitution. Many people feel that the founding fathers put this branch in the document first because they thought it was the most important. The legislative branch is comprised of 100 U.S. Senators and 435 members in the U.S. House of Representatives. This is better known as the U.S. Congress. Making laws is the primary function of the legislative branch, but it is also responsible for approving federal judges and justices, passing the national budget, and declaring war. Each state gets two Senators and some number of Representatives, depending on how many people live in that state. The executive branch is described in Article 2 of the Constitution. The leaders of this branch of government are the President and Vice President, who are responsible for enforcing the laws that Congress sets forth. The President works closely with a group of advisors, known as the Cabinet. These appointed helpers assist the President in making important decisions within their area of expertise, such as defense, the treasury, and homeland security. The executive branch also appoints government officials, commands the armed forces, and meets with leaders of other nations. All that combined is a lot of work for a lot of people. In fact, the executive branch employs over 4 million people to get everything done. The third brand of the U.S. government is the judicial branch and is detailed in Article 3. This branch is comprised of all the courts in the land, from the federal district courts to the U.S. Supreme Court. These courts interpret our nation's laws and punish those who break them. The highest court, the Supreme Court, settles disputes among states, hears appeals from state and federal courts, and determines if federal laws are constitutional. There are nine justices on the Supreme Court, and, unlike any other job in our government, Supreme Court justices are appointed for life, or for as long as they want to stay. Our democracy depends on an informed citizenry, so it is our duty to know how it works and what authority each branch of government has over its citizens. Besides voting, chances are that some time in your life you'll be called upon to participate in your government, whether it is to serve on a jury, testify in court, or petition your Congress person to pass or defeat an idea for a law. By knowning the branches, who runs them, and how they work together, you can be involved, informed, and intelligent.

Frequently Occurring Word Combinations

ngrams of length 2

collocation frequency
executive branch 3
united states 2
founding fathers 2
legislative branch 2
supreme court 2

Important Words

  1. abuse
  2. act
  3. adopted
  4. advisors
  5. american
  6. appeals
  7. appointed
  8. appoints
  9. approving
  10. area
  11. armed
  12. article
  13. assist
  14. authority
  15. balances
  16. branch
  17. branches
  18. brand
  19. break
  20. budget
  21. cabinet
  22. called
  23. centered
  24. chances
  25. change
  26. check
  27. checks
  28. citizenry
  29. citizens
  30. closely
  31. combined
  32. commands
  33. comprised
  34. congress
  35. constitution
  36. constitutional
  37. country
  38. court
  39. courts
  40. decisions
  41. declaring
  42. defeat
  43. defense
  44. democracy
  45. depending
  46. depends
  47. detailed
  48. determines
  49. discussions
  50. disputes
  51. district
  52. document
  53. duty
  54. employs
  55. ended
  56. enforcing
  57. ensure
  58. establish
  59. executive
  60. expertise
  61. fact
  62. fair
  63. fathers
  64. federal
  65. feel
  66. forces
  67. founding
  68. freedoms
  69. function
  70. good
  71. government
  72. group
  73. guidelines
  74. hears
  75. helpers
  76. highest
  77. homeland
  78. house
  79. idea
  80. important
  81. individual
  82. infant
  83. informed
  84. intelligent
  85. interpret
  86. involved
  87. job
  88. judges
  89. judicial
  90. jury
  91. justices
  92. king
  93. knew
  94. knowning
  95. land
  96. law
  97. laws
  98. leaders
  99. legislative
  100. life
  101. live
  102. long
  103. lot
  104. making
  105. meets
  106. members
  107. million
  108. national
  109. nations
  110. number
  111. officials
  112. participate
  113. pass
  114. passing
  115. people
  116. person
  117. petition
  118. piece
  119. power
  120. powerful
  121. powers
  122. president
  123. primary
  124. protected
  125. punish
  126. put
  127. puzzle
  128. reason
  129. representatives
  130. responsible
  131. revolution
  132. ruled
  133. run
  134. runs
  135. security
  136. senators
  137. separate
  138. serve
  139. set
  140. sets
  141. settles
  142. state
  143. states
  144. stay
  145. strong
  146. structure
  147. supreme
  148. system
  149. testify
  150. thought
  151. time
  152. treasury
  153. united
  154. vice
  155. voting
  156. war
  157. wondered
  158. work
  159. works