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SS.7.C.1.7 - Constitutional Limits on the Powers of Government


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What You Need to Know:

Student Review Reading for SS.7.C.1.7

Describe how the Constitution limits the powers of government through separation of powers and checks and balances.


Benchmark Clarifications:

  • Students will explain the concept of limited government as set forth in the U.S. Constitution. Read more!
  • Students will describe and distinguish between the concepts of separation of powers and checks and balances. Read more!
  • Students will analyze how government power is limited by separation of powers and/or checks and balances. Read more!
  • Students will be able to recognize examples of separation of powers and checks and balances. Read more!

Example One (Low Complexity)

What check does the U.S. Senate have on the president?

A. overriding vetoes

B. appointing judges

C. declaring laws unconstitutional

D. refusing to confirm appointments


Example Two (Moderate Complexity)

The passage below is from Federalist No. 47, written by James Madison in 1788.


Based on this passage, which constitutional principle does Madison describe?

A. separation of powers

B. checks and balances

C. popular sovereignty

D. judicial review


Example Three (High Complexity)

Which principle supports President Eisenhower's action to uphold the U.S. Supreme Court's decision that public schools should be integrated?

A. judicial review

B. checks and balances

C. separation of powers

D. constitutional government


C.1.7 - Vocabulary

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Discovery Education


  • Checks and Balances (total length 2:40) from the Almost Painless Guide: U.S. Constitution
  • Checks and Balances (total length 1:27) from Our Federal Government: The Legislative Branch
  • Checks and Balances (total length 2:44) from Understanding the Constitution: The Legislative Branch
  • Checks and Balances in the U.S. Constitution (total length 1:00) from Understanding the Constitution: Creating the Federal Government
  • Distribution of Power in the Federal Government, Skill Builder
  • Other Supreme Court Responsibilities (total length 2:24) from Our Federal Government: The Judicial Branch
  • Separation of Powers (total length 6:39, start at 2:37) from TLC Elementary School: Separation of Powers
  • Separation of Powers (total length 0:36) from Understanding the Constitution: The Legislative Branch
  • Separation of Powers, Skill Builder
  • Separation of Powers in the U.S. Constitution (total length 0:32) from Understanding the Constitution: Creating the Federal Government
  • The United States Government: A System of Checks and Balances (total length 1:20) from Enviro-Tacklebox: Module 03: Topics and Issues in Environmental Science: Enviro Rules

Civics on Demand

Additional Resources

Check out this one page Guide to the U.S. Constitution!



Textbook Review


Chapter 3, Section 2 - p. 93-97