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The U.S. Government
The United States of America are a republic ruled by three levels of government:
» The President of the U.S.A. (executive branch), » the Congress (legislative branch) and » the Supreme Court (judicial branch)
» The president is not only is not only the head of the state like we know in Austria or Germany, where the president is mostly a representative person for the country and under control of the parliament, he’s responsible for the government of the state (similar to Russia). He resides in the White House, which is also his workplace. As the head of the executive branch, he is the Commander of the whole military and responsible for decisions in this area. The president is also able to put laws into action, also without the permission of the Congress.
Beneath the president, there’s the Cabinet, which is a council of ministers (high members of the government) and also the Department of Defense (controls armed forces in America, in the Pentagon), The Justice Department (“Justizministerium”) and the State Department (“Außenministerium”).
»The Congress is made up of the House of Representatives and the Senate. These 2 institutions are the main lawmaking section of the 3 levels of federal government. They are deciding together on the bills. If the president does not agree with the congress, a new law can also be made if ⅔ of the congress(wo)men and senators are in favour of it.
The House of Representatives has 435 members (congresswomen and –men), which are voted every two years. Each state of the U.S.A. has got at least one congress(wo)man in the House of Representatives, the number is depending on the size of the state’s population.
The Senate is made up of 100 so called Senators, elected for six years. Each state sends out two senators.
»The Supreme Court stands for the judicial branch. It’s the highest court in the whole country and is composed of nine judges, is able to vacate any judgement, not depending on the level of government and is entitled to repeal laws too.
Beneath The Supreme Court, there are the courts of appeals (11 mid-level courts) and the district courts (general courts for the citizens).
Each of the 50 states of America has got an own constitution and different laws, in the majority of cases concerning education, crime and health. There’s an own head of the state, called Governor and an own legislative branch, both of them elected by the state and an own state supreme court.
The local government is an organization which can be found in province-, town- or city-areas. The ultimate authority of the local government is the mayor (“Bürgermeister”). In most of the states, they have only little or no power.
The Constitution of the United States of America
°“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility , provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
That’s how the Constitution of the United States of America starts.
It was written in 1787, after the Revolutionary war, to create a better organisation between the 13 states (at that time). First, they only wanted to improve the prevailing Articles of Confederation, but such a serious correction was necessary, that these articles were replaced completely.
On March 4th, 1789, the new constitution brought independence to the 13 states.
Since this time, the Constitution is the supreme law of the U.S.A. and was amended only 26 times. It’s also the oldest national constitution which is still obtaining.
The original copy can be found in the National Archives in Washington D.C.
How to elect and unseat a president
According to the Constitution, any U.S.-citizen, who was born in America, lives there for at least 14 years and is at least 35 years old has the right to become president.
The president is elected for 4 years, indirectly through an electoral college. The most popular candidate in one state gets all electors of it, who gets the majority of the electors becomes president.
It is not possible to deselect a sitting president, but the Congress is able to unseat him by impeachment, but a majority of the House of Representatives and a ⅔-majority of the Senate is necessary.
If a president dies or steps down, the vice president becomes the head of state.
In the U.S.A., a system of two parties was formed. These Parties are called the Democratic Party and the Republican Party, the other ones are very small and are not getting to much votes or attention. There are barley new parties, politicians who think otherwise are more interested in influencing members of one of the two big parties than in founding a new one.
» The Democratic Party , emanated from the enemies of the constitution, are known under this name since 1829. They didn’t disposed as many presidents as the Republican Party (for example Theodore Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy or Bill Clinton). They are known as liberal party, progressive in social- and school-politics.
» The Republican Party , also called Grand Old Party, was founded 1854 and disposed most of the presidents of the United States, for example Abraham Lincoln or Ronald Reagan. Earlier, they were fighting for a better union and against slavery, now they’re a conservative party and are standing for better industrial economy and trade.
- Quote paper
- Martin Kainzbauer (Author), 2005, The Political System in the U.S.A., Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/109347