The United States of America is comprised of fifty states, one district, and several territories. The governing body of the United States is the Federal Government. The structure of the government was first formed in 1789 and is one of the oldest modern constitutional republics.
There are 3 main branches of the US government:
- The Legislative Branch: The Legislative Branch is made up of Congress, which in turn is made up of the House of Representatives and the Senate. There are members in the House of Representatives for each of the fifty states. The number of Representatives a state has depends on the population of that state. Similarly, each state also has members in the Senate. There are two Senators from each state in the Senate.
- The Executive Branch: The Executive Branch includes the President and everyone who works with him/her.
- The Judicial Branch: The Judicial Branch includes the federal courts.
The election process
The Congress is voted for directly by the citizens of the United States. Each state votes into the House of Representatives and the Senate, a candidate of their choice. The vote is won by a majority.
The President is elected by the Electoral College. Both the President and the Vice-President are elected indirectly through the Electoral College. States choose the electors once every four years to represent them in the Electoral College. The Electors usually side with the popular vote when electing the President and the Vice-President.
Where the power lies
When it comes to running the country, the main power lies with Congress. The Senate and the House of Representatives are responsible for making laws and passing legislation. Everything from building new roads to declaring war against another country is decided by the Congress. The Congress creates several federal executive departments to take care of the running of the country. The heads of these departments make up the President’s Cabinet.
The President oversees the executive branch of the government. Any legislation that has been passed by the Congress has to be signed by the President to be finalized. The President can choose to veto the legislation if seen fit. The veto can be overridden if two-third of Congress votes in its favor. The President can sign treaties with other nations unilaterally. While the President is not allowed to dissolve Congress or call for a special election, he or she can pardon convicted criminals, make executive decisions, and appoint Supreme Court Judges with the approval of the Senate.
The Vice-President is also known as the President of the Senate and heads the Senate. The Vice-President can vote in the Senate to break a tie vote. In case of death, resignation or removal of the President, the Vice-President assumes the duty of President.
The Judicial Branch takes care of all the legal matters of the country including explaining and applying the law. The Judicial Branch includes the Supreme Court of the United States and all other inferior courts in the country. All federal judges are appointed by the President on approval of the Senate.
The Supreme Court has the power to declare a legislation or executive decision unconstitutional and nullify it. The court also has the power to settle disputes between states and cases pertaining to the federal government. Other levels of federal courts handle criminal and other cases at a state level.
The Government of the United States of America runs on a system where the power is divided among the many branches of the Federal Government. No one individual has the supreme power over the nation and no decision can be taken without a majority vote by the representatives of the people.