Checks and Balances

The checks and balances of power between the legislative, executive, and judicial branches—as laid out in Articles I, II, and III of the Constitution—safeguard our freedoms by preventing any single branch from becoming too powerful. There is a second check in the division of powers between the national and state governments—a principle known as federalism. As James Madison put it, “Ambition must be made to counteract ambition.”

Timeline