How Much Do You Know About the Three Branches of U.S. Government?


By: John Miller

5 Min Quiz

Image: shutterstock

About This Quiz

Throughout much of human history, kings and queens ruled supreme over countries far and wide. The crown was power, dictating the terms of daily life (and sometimes death) throughout kingdoms. In the wake of the American Revolution, the Founding Fathers deigned to attempt a new style of human governance. After feverish and combative writing sessions, they finally devised a framework for the United States government. How much do you really know about the three branches of America’s government?

With its 50 states and numerous territories, America is a geographically and demographically diverse country, the third-largest nation in the world. Given its sprawl and complexity, it relies heavily on the Constitution’s guidance in matters of creating new laws, taxation, warfare, suffrage, and a whole lot more. What do you really know about the makeup of the branches of U.S. government?

Each of the branches of government comes with specific powers meant to balance the abilities of the others. Without this balance, one branch might otherwise become too influential. Do you know which branch wields specific abilities at the federal level?

Cast your vote in this amazing American quiz now! We’ll find out what you really know about the various branches that make up the U.S. government.

The American _____ government is divided into three parts.

In the United States, the federal government -- the top governing authority of the country -- is divided into three distinct parts, all meant to serve different purposes.


Which of the following is NOT one of the three branches of the federal government?

There's no parliament branch in America. The three branches of government are the executive, judicial, and legislative branches.


The president is the figurehead and leader of which government branch?

American presidents are the leaders of the executive branch. In some administrations, the president is a tremendous force. In others, the president is sidelined as the other branches exert their power.


Which document created the three branches of government?

The Constitution is the supreme law of the land. Its guidance created the framework of the American government, including its three primary branches.


The legislative branch is subdivided into how many branches?

The legislative branch is composed of the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, collectively known as Congress, a word that automatically sends many Americans into bouts of severe nausea.


Which branch has -- by far -- the most law-making ability in the federal government?

The legislative branch is a bureaucratic beast, often bogged down by divisiveness and red tape. But it also holds most of the country's law-making powers.


The judicial branch has the ability to establish what?

The Constitution gave the judicial branch the power to create new courts as needed. But the Supreme Court will always be the top court in the country.


The legislative branch has many powers related to taxation​ or the "Powers of the _____."

The legislative branch has the so-called "Powers of the Purse," because of its abilities to create or modify taxes. This is just one capability that makes Congress so powerful.


Which branch can potentially remove the president from office?

Starting with the impeachment process, the legislative branch can vote to indict the president for certain offenses. Congress has never removed a president from office, but under great pressure, Nixon did resign.


The commander-in-chief is a major figure in which branch?

The commander-in-chief is the president, the one who ultimately calls the shots with America's military. And because the U.S. armed forces are so powerful, so too is its commander-in-chief.


The three branches are part of an intentional system of checks and ______.

Like a perfect triangle, the Founding Fathers designed the three branches to serve as checks and balances to one another. The idea was meant to prevent one branch from becoming too powerful.


The Cabinet is part of which branch?

The Cabinet is made up of advisors who offer guidance to the president. As an important part of the executive branch, the Cabinet wields great power.


The House of Representatives is part of which government branch?

The House of Representatives is one half of Congress in the legislative branch. Each member of the House represents a particular voting district.


How many men and women currently serve in the House of Representatives?

Each person in the House stands for a congressional district somewhere in America. There are currently 435 men and women in the House, all battling to best serve their constituents (or the people who offer the best bribes).


The House of Representative is a major force in the legislative branch. What factor determines how many representatives each state receives?

Population is a key linchpin to power in the legislative branch. States with higher populations are assigned more representatives, meaning areas like California have much greater political pull than, say, Iowa.


Who nominates judges for the Supreme Court, the top court in the judicial branch?

It's one of the perks of the presidency, and an important executive power -- the ability to nominate Supreme Court judges. The right (or wrong) judges drastically change the politics of the judicial branch.


Which branch is often given the implied power used to create U.S. foreign policy?

It's not specifically outlined in the Constitution, but presidents often seize their standing to dictate U.S. foreign policy. And in many cases, that has led to international conflicts and sometimes, war.


How many senators are there in the U.S. Senate?

The Senate is made up of 100 senators, two from each state. These men and women make up one half of Congress.


The legislative branch has used the "_____ clause" to take more implied powers over the years.

Because the Constitution allowed for some flexibility in the legislative branch's powers, particuarly in Article I, Section 8, "the elastic clause," this branch uses the vague language to take more implied powers than some people would prefer.


Which branch did the men who wrote the Constitution intend to be the most powerful?

The Constitution's framers wanted a balanced government, but they erred on the side of the legislature. This branch can create laws and taxes, and also begin and end wars.


How did the Constitution set up the judicial branch?

Article III of the Constitution formed the judicial branch and it provided only vague instructions. For many years, the judicial branch was an afterthought in government.


Which branch of the government sometimes uses veto powers to reject new legislation?

After Congress creates new laws, the bills go before the president. He can either sign them into law or use his veto powers to reject them. Veto power is a fascinating capability of the executive branch.


How many federal courts of appeal are there in the judicial branch?

The judicial branch is ruled by the Supreme Court. But it is also subdivided into 13 federal courts of appeal that wield serious might in the country's politics.


Which branch gained substantial power in an 1803 court case called Marbury v. Madison?

Marbury v. Madison gave the judicial branch powers of judicial review -- the ability to determine the constitutionality of acts by the other two branches. Suddenly, the judicial branch had a whole lot more heft.


How does the Electoral College affect the executive branch?

Every four years, the Electoral College is the centerpiece of the presidential election. The results of this voting process install a new president who has immense global power.


This branch must approve the president's nominations for Supreme Court judges.

The process of confirming Supreme Court judges often becomes a bitter political battle. The president nominates a justice for the Supreme Court but the legislative branch can vote down the nominee, time and again, for various reasons.


If the executive branch creates a treaty with another nation, before that agreement goes into effect, the legislative branch must ______.

The president can't just create whatever treaties he wants. The legislative branch -- more specifically, the Senate -- must ratify the treaty before it actually goes into effect.


Which branch has the power to override a presidential veto?

If the president vetoes a new bill, that bill goes back to Congress. There, with a two-thirds vote (in both houses), legislators can override the executive veto.


Article II of the Constitution created which branch of government?

Article I of the Constitution created the legislative branch, Articles II and III formed the executive and judicial branches, respectively.


The Supreme Court is the top entity in the judicial branch. There are ____ justices serving on the court.

There are just nine justices on the Supreme Court. These men and women are some of the most formidable minds of the entire judicial branch.


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