- Separation of Powers
- Legislative Branch
- Executive Branch
- Judicial Branch
- Implied Powers of the Three Branches of Government
- Checks and Balances
The three branches of the U.S. government are the legislative, executive and judicial branches. According to the doctrine of separation of powers, the U.S. Constitution distributed the power of the federal government among these three branches, and built a system of checks and balances to ensure that no one branch could become too powerful.
Separation of Powers
The Enlightenment philosopher Montesquieu coined the phrase “trias politica,” or separation of powers, in his influential 18th-century work “Spirit of the Laws.” His concept of a government divided into legislative, executive and judicial branches acting independently of each other inspired the framers of the U.S. Constitution, who vehemently opposed concentrating too much power in any one body of government.