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Political Background And System
The United States is a Democracy and a federal republic whose political background lies in the Declaration of Independence of 1776 and the Constitution of 1789. The constitution is vital in that it creates the basic structure of the federal government while the Declaration of Independence clearly identifies the US as an independent entity.
The constitution has served as the backbone for all government activities for hundreds of years, and while there have been amendments to this constitution its core principles have remained the same. One of these and perhaps the most important principle is the ‘separation of power'. This principle ensures that the three institutions of state (executive - led by the president, legislative - senate and house of representatives and judiciary - Supreme court and federalcourts) that work together to form the federal government , have power shared among them and no institution has an inappropriate amount of more power over the other. (Darlington, 2009)
The political system today in the United States is defined by these documents. The executive branch of The United States is run by a Head of state (president) that is elected by their party (Democrat and Republican parties are dominant in U.S) and then the people. Under the political system in place in the United States the president has the power to amongst other things do the following; “Represent the US during meetings with other leaders, sign treaties, approve federal laws, lead the people, manage the government and Command the U.S military. (Jackmann, 2009) This can be seen in modern day where current president Barack Obama is regularly seen with other heads of state, has the final say with regards to troops in Afghanistan.
The legislative branch is made up of the senate and House of Representatives that make up the congress. (100 senators that are elected -each state has 2 and 435 HoR members who represent a district) The congress is made up of both Democratic and Republican members. According to Article one of the US constitution one of the roles of the legislative branch of the government is:
“To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.”
The judiciary branch is made up of the Supreme Court and federal courts and is appointed by the president and the senate. They are not elected by the people like the legislative and executive branch. The federal courts have the task to “interpret the law, determine the constitutionality of the law, and apply it to individual cases. “while the Supreme court, which is the highest court in the U.S is in place to “interpret the meaning of a law, to decide whether a law is relevant to a particular set of facts, or to rule on how a law should be applied.” (the White House, 2009)
The federal government runs the nation as a whole; however within this there are also state governments that are run by elected Governors, and local governments which include counties, cities, towns and villages, which will have a mayor or council of some sort. So while the federal government is responsible for the nation as a whole one will find for example that the state government has its own legislative, judiciary and executive office and that the Governor is responsible for matters regarding the state that the president is for the nation, and matters that are state specific such as education.
Darlington, R. (2009, September 11). American political system. Retrieved December 30, 2009, from Rogerdarlington: http://www.rogerdarlington.co.uk/Americanpoliticalsystem.html#Constitution
Jackmann, S. (2009, July 30). A Review of Presidential Powers and Duties. Retrieved December 30, 2009, from suite101.com: http://us-president.suite101.com/article.cfm/what_is_the_actual_role_of_the_president
the White House. (2009). The Judicial Branch. Retrieved December 30, 2009, from whitehouse.gov: http://www.whitehouse.gov/our-government/judicial-branch
Retrieved from Article 1 section 8 of the U.S constitution