Handout D: Separation of Powers Video Viewing Guide
Directions: Before watching the video, answer the pre-viewing questions. Fill in the blanks on Bill of Rights protections while you watch. After you have watched the video, answer the questions that follow on a separate sheet of paper.
Before you watch:
- What do you think of when you hear the term “separation of powers?” Write down some key words and phrases associated with it.
- When some complain that it is difficult for Congress to get anything done, or you hear terms like “government gridlock,” what comes to mind?
While you watch:
- The three branches of government are ____________________, which makes the law, ___________________, which carries out the law, and ________________________, which interprets the law.
- The Founders believed that for these powers to be concentrated in one person or branch, would be “the very definition of __________________.”
- Article I of the U.S. Constitution explains the powers and function of _____________________.
- Article II of the U.S. Constitution explains the powers and function of ____________________.
- Article III of the U.S. Constitution explains the powers and function of ___________________.
- In Federalist No. 51, James Madison wrote about the need to enable government to control the governed, as well as for government to control ____________________.
- The Constitution ensures that ____________________ is the most powerful branch of government.
After you watch:
- What does the principle of separation of powers mean?
- The video begins with Professor Munoz’s statement that the purpose of separation of powers is to “frustrate” government action. How would you put this in your own words?
- Why would the Founders have wanted to frustrate government action? Are those reasons still important today?
- How is James Madison’s plan for “ambition to counteract ambition” reflected in our system of separated powers?
- What does our system of separated powers with checks and balances reveal about the Founders’ understanding of human nature?
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Constitutional Principles: Separation of Powers
Do you understand why separation of powers is important for protecting our freedom? This short, engaging video focuses on the constitutional principle of separation of powers. Clear definitions and graphics, an engaging historical narrative, brief scholar interviews, and memorable quotes will make this 6-minute video perfect for use any time of the year!