Overview of Federal Government
The United States federal government has three branches – legislative, judicial, and executive – which carry out governmental power and functions. The United States Constitution created the basic structure for this three-branch system. The Constitution outlines the roles for each branch of government.
Under the system of separation of powers, each of these branches has some authority to act on its own, some authority to regulate the other two branches, and some of its own authority regulated by the other branches. This system of checks and balances ensures that no one branch becomes too powerful. In addition, the powers of the federal government as a whole are limited by the Constitution which leaves a great deal of authority to the individual states.