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3 Branches of U.S. Government
Executive Branch
Legislative Branch
Judicial Branch
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social science10th Grade

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3 Branches of U.S. Government
Executive Branch
Legislative Branch
Judicial Branch

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ISTE Standard
1a Set professional learning goals to explore and apply pedagogical approaches made possible by technology and reflect on their effectiveness.

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Legislative Branch -( Senate and The House of Representatives )
Executive Branch - ( President and about 5,000,000 workers )
Judicial Branch - ( Supreme Court and Lower Courts )

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Introduction to Executive Branch
The President of the United States administers the executive branch of our government, the President enforces the laws that the Legislative Branch (Congress) makes. The President is elected by the United States citizens, 18 years of age and older. These votes are tallied by states from the electoral college system.

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Introduction to Legislative Branch
The Legislative part of our government is called Congress. Congress makes our laws. Congress is divided into two parts. One part is called the Senate. There are 100 senators, two from each state. Another part is called the House of Representatives. Representatives meet together to discuss ideas and decide if these ideas (bills) should become laws. There are 435 Representatives. The number of Representatives each state gets is determined by its population. Some states have just two Representatives others have as many as 40. Both senators and representatives are elected by the eligible voters in their states.

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Introduction to Judicial Branch
The Judicial part of our federal government includes the Supreme Court and 9 justices. They are special judges who interpret laws according to the constitution. These justices only hear cases that pertain to issues related to the constitution. They are the highest court in our country. The federal system also has lower courts located in each state to hear cases including federal issues.

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The Executive Branch

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The Executive Branch
The constitution says that the United States must have a President and a Vice President. These two people and the people work for them belong to the executive branch of the federal government. It is the duty of the President to run the federal government and to see that the laws of our nation are carried out.

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The Executive Branch (cont.)
The President is the highest representative of the people of our nation. The President seal has 50 stars surrounding it to show that the President represents all United States citizens. He or she must focus on the welfare of the entire nation, not just the people in one state or district like senators and representatives.

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The Executive Branch(cont.)
     The President:
  • Represents our country in discussions with other nations
  • Leads our nation in times of war
  • Makes suggestions to congress about laws
  • Writes the budget, but must get Congress to approve it
  • Works closely with congress to get laws passed or rejected

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The Legislative Branch

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The Legislative Branch(Senate)
The Senate: Voice of the States
The Senate of the United States is the voice of the states and the partner of the House of Representatives. On the new Senate office building are engraved in marble the words"THE SENATE IS THE LIVING SYMBOL FOR OUR UNION OF STATES"

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The Senate has exceptional high authority, sometimes higher than the president or the house of representatives. The Senate can try cases of impeachment, which can dismiss a President for misconduct. The Senate also checks the president by having the power to approve or not approve the treaties he makes with other nations

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The Senate approves the appointments that the President makes to his cabinet, ambassadors, federal judges, and all civilian employees of the government who are not covered by another area.

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A Senators term is for 6 years. Only 1/3 of the entire Senate will be up for re-election at any one time. Therefore, the Senate does not have all new Senators. This always leaves 2/3 of the senate members with some past experience.

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House of Representatives
More than any other part of our government, The House of Representatives is directly responsible to the people. A representative can have a more focus on issues because he or she speaks for the people in a smaller area. He or she can travel the represented area and hear the complaints and hopes of the people in the district. When people in his or her district go to Washington, The representative tries to see them and make arrangements for them to see special sites of interest.

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House of Representatives(cont)
The hall in The House of Representative has certain activities take place within its walls
  • The President speaks to the joint sessions of the congress
  • Decisions are made on war and peace
  • 218 million people act through their representatives
  • Issues of the most importance to world history are decided

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House of Representative(cont)
The House of Representative has special powers that no other branch has
  • To start all revenue(money)bills
  • Impeach civil officers
  • To elect a president if no candidate receives a majority of the electoral votes.

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Judicial Branch

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Judicial Branch
The Judicial Branch of the federal government interprets and reviews the laws of the nation. The group that has the job of interpreting and reviewing the laws of the land is the Supreme Court. It is the highest court in the nation. The Supreme Court of the United States is located in Washinton D.C.

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Judicial Branch(cont)
Many arguments about federal rules and laws come up in such a large country as the United States. Someone must be like an umpire and make the final decisions. Someone must settle these arguments in a fair way. The constitution has special plan to solve this problem. It provides for a system of federal courts in the Judicial Branch of the government.

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Judicial Branch(cont)
The Supreme Court is the highest court. There are also lower courts. Disagreement and trials may start in a lower court. These lower courts are called federal district courts.

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Judicial Branch
If someone loses a case in the federal district court, they can try to have the decision changed by taking their cases to a higher court called the Circuit Court of Appeals. If they lose there, too, they may be able to take their case to the final judges called The Supreme Court in Washington D.C. However, The Supreme Court only accepts cases on special constitutional problems. There is no appeal beyond this Supreme Court. 

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The Cabinet
SECRETARY OF STATE: He/she supervises the State Department which works with foreign countries, decides on travel to countries, and protects U.S. citizens abroad.

SECRETARY OF TREASURY: He/she supervises the Treasury Department which has charge of the fiscal (money) responsibilities of the government, the Secret Service, and the collection of taxes.

SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: He/she leads the Defense Department which sees that the nation is protected against its enemies and which works closely with all branches of the armed forces.

ATTORNEY GENERAL: This person is the President's main legal advisor in matters pertaining to the country. He/she sees that the laws are enforced and that the people receive justice. This person may appoint special investigation teams. He/she runs the Justice Department. (This is not the same as being a justice with the Supreme Court.)

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The Cabinet(cont)
SECRETARY OF INTERIOR: This person leads the Department of the Interior which protects and improves the natural resources of the nation's national parks and forests.

SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE: He/she leads the Department of Agriculture which focuses on the safety and regulation of food production and works with farmers throughout the country.

SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: He/she leads the Department of Health and Human Services which handles welfare, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security payments and issues.

SECRETARY OF LABOR: He/she supervises the Department of Labor which assists and protects the working people of the nation.

SECRETARY OF COMMERCE: This secretary leads the Department of Commerce which assists the businesses of the nation, sets trade policies, and enforces rules for moving materials across the country and around the world.

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The Cabinet(cont)
SECRETARY OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT: This secretary administers the Department of Housing and Urban Development which specializes in issues related to building homes for lower-income Americans and planning for better communities.

SECRETARY OF TRANSPORTATION: He/she administers the Department of Transportation which enforces the laws and safety regulations pertaining to railroads, busses, ships, and airplanes.

SECRETARY OF ENERGY: He/she leads the Department of Energy which works on problems with energy and fuels such as coal, oil, gas, and atomic energy. This department also promotes research on solar energy and other alternative sources of power.

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The Cabinet(cont)
SECRETARY OF EDUCATION: He/she supervises the Department of Education which works with schools throughout the country to provide money and grants for educational programs and services.

SECRETARY OF VETERANS AFFAIRS: He/she runs the Department of Veterans Affairs which provides services and advice to men and women who have served in the armed forces. This department was just recently established in 1989.

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