Importance of checks and balances in American government

Essay by gouldmember8University, Bachelor'sA+, June 2006

download word file, 5 pages 4.0

During those hot months in the summer of 1787, the founding fathers had a problem. They had to create a government that not only ensured the well-being of its people but also to fairly represent them without corruption. Therefore, they divided the main governmental powers into three branches, each independent of the other. However, to prevent one from becoming too strong, each branch had to have checks over the others. While this violates the key principle of keeping each branch separate, it is a necessity that the American government could not be without.

First, the founding fathers found it absolutely necessary to separate the powers of the government, both from the failed Articles of Confederation and from the English monarchy they were breaking away from. The Articles of Confederation, while a landmark document in terms of progression of the representative democracy, had major flaws. The Articles provided for no branch of the central government to enforce the laws, nor was there a national court to interpret them.

The congress could make laws and raise an army, but couldn't force any state to obey the laws. Also, congress depended on the states to supply the federal budget. This was highly inefficient since there was no national currency, and some states levied taxes on other states' imports. So there was only one branch of government that had very little power. The Articles of Confederation lasted only ten years before delegates from each state met in Philadelphia in 1787. So when the Constitution was formed, it had to have the power to not only create laws and legislation, but also have the means to enforce it.

The other form of government the founding fathers drew from was the monarchy in England. King George III had near ultimate control of his country, with little...