How the US federal government works

The original 13 colonies had lived under the total power of the British king. In their new central government, Americans wanted to prevent a concentration of power in one government official or one office. The Constitution created three branches for the federal government, so that power would be balanced. The three branches have separate responsibilities. We call this the system of "checks and balances". No single branch of government can become too powerful because it is balanced by the other two branches. 

The Federal Government

The U.S. federal government is divided into three branches:

The Legislative: The Executive: The Judicial:
U.S. Congress and related offices the president, the vice-president and the federal gover the U.S. Supreme Court and the federal courts of the country

Government Officials serve the People

In the United States, everyone can call their elected representative and senators. You can call 202-224-3121 and ask for your representative’s or senators’ offices. You can write to your representative or senators to ask questions or give your opinion about legislation and the federal government, or if you have a problem and need help with federal benefits.

To write to your representative: To write to your senator:
The Honorable (add representative’s full name) / U.S. House of Representatives / Washington, DC 20515 The Honorable (add senator’s full name) / United States Senate / Washington, DC 20510

You can visit the websites of Congress to learn about current activities in the House and Senate and about your own representative and senators, including their website addresses.