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Lesson 6: What were the first state governments like?


bill of rights  The first ten amendments to the Constitution. It lists some basic rights of the people that the federal government may not interfere with and must protect.

checks and balances  The sharing and balancing of power among different branches of government so no one branch can completely control the others.

executive branch  The branch of government that carries out the laws made by the legislative branch.

higher law  A set of laws that are superior to other laws. For example, the U.S. Constitution is a higher law than any federal or state law.

judicial branch  The branch of government that interprets and applies the laws and settles disputes.

legislative branch  The branch of government that makes the laws.

separation of powers  The division of powers among the different branches of government. In the United States, powers are divided among the legislative, executive, and judicial branches.