The Unites States is a representative
democracy. [E1] [ES1]
The people vote for
government representatives, who are charged with the responsibility of
in the people's interest.
defines the powers of national and state
governments, the functions and framework of each branch of government
rights of individual citizens.
The principle of limited
government is basic to the Constitution. When the Constitution was
written in 1787, many Americans feared that th power could become
in the hands of a few. Several features were created to guard against
federal organization of government;
separation of powers among different
branches of government
a system of checks and balances to restrict
the powers of each branch.
The Constitution gives
power to the central authority, the Federal
act as a representative of all states in foreign policy and deal with
issues that involve the whole country, such as immigration, defence,
On the other hand, each state has its own constitution and legislates
independently on a number of matters.
people for defence and the general welfare;
it controls trade with foreign nations and among the states; coins
controls its value; declares war; commands the Armed Forces; makes
policy; appoints judges and other national officials; tries cases under
Constitution and federal law; explains the law.
State Government [E1]
Congress makes local laws, a Governor,
elected by popular vote, heads the
power and State Courts administer justice.
The State Government taxes people for state purposes (e.g. state
makes laws for all matters not controlled by the National Government
trade, welfare, police protection, education, courts of law inside the
people for local purposes (e.g. paying the
fire fighters and police); Makes laws for all matters not controlled by
national and state governments (e.g. traffic rules).
Besides the division of
power between state and national governments, power is also limited by
separation of power among three branches: legislative, executive and
Legislative branch [E1]
function of the legislative branch is to make
laws. It is made up of representatives elected to Congress. Congress
is comprised of two groups: the House of Representatives (the House)
for the House of Representatives are
elected for 2-year terms of office; candidates for the Senate are
Executive branch [E1]
The President [E1] [E2]
[E3] [ES1] [F1]
is the chief executive of the country and has wide powers. The
elected to a four-year term and can be re-elected to a second term. The
who is elected with the president, must preside over the Senate and
the presidency if the president dies, becomes disabled or is removed
Judicial branch [E1]
branch of government is the judicial. It is
exercised at federal level by the Supreme Court,
which is composed of
nine members, all appointed by the President on the advice and with the
of the Senate.
3. System of
checks and balances
The division of government
power among three separate but equal branches provides for a system of checks
and balances [E1]
Each branch checks or limits the power of the
of powers and Checks and Balances
Political Party system [E1]:
States has had only two major parties throughout his history. When the
was founded, two political groupings emerged: the Federalists and
Anti-Federalists. Since then, two major parties have alternated in
[E1][ES1] and Republican [E1][ES2].