The USA is a republic composed of 50 states, a number of territories and a district, Washington DC, which is also the capital of the country. The United States was formerly a British colony and fully gained its independence from Great Britain in 1776. After its independence, the U.S. began to acquire new territories, some of which were later admitted as states. The government of the United States is quite unique compared to the government systems of other countries. Several countries tend to model their government around that of the US.
Government and politics
U.S. politics takes place primarily under a two-party system. Two major political parties, the Democratic and Republican parties, dominate the U.S. political scene. The presidency usually alternates between the two political parties. However, there are other political minorities. Minority groups are rarely recognized. In very rare cases, the minority groups do form the government.
The president is the head of the Federal Government of the United States. However, each state forms its government for administrative purposes. The powers of state governments are exercised within limited state boundaries. The most powerful figures in the states are the governors. The U.S. federal government has three branches: the executive branch, the legislative branch, and the judiciary branch. The powers, roles, and limitations of the three branches are emphasized in the U.S. Constitution. The three branches of government are as discussed below.
The head of the executive branch of the federal government is the president. The president is the most powerful figure in the government. She or he is both the head of government and the state. The president is assisted by the vice president who is elected running mate in a general election. However, the powers and functions of the president are limited by the Constitution. The president’s responsibilities include Commander-in-chief of the armed forces and appointment of the members of the cabinet. The president is limited to a maximum of two terms of four years each.
The legislative branch consists of the two Houses of parliament. The United States parliament is bicameral, the Senate and the house of Representatives. The House of Representatives consists of 435 members, with each member representing a congressional district. The state with the highest population has the highest number of Representatives. The delegates representing the U.S. territories are also members of the house of Representatives.
The Senate consists of 100 members. Each of the 50 states elects two members to the Senate, regardless of geographic size or population. Senators are elected after every six years. Senate approves the president’s appointees by ensuring that the appointees are eligible to hold office.
The judiciary of the United States is independent of influences from the Legislature and the executive branch. It consists of the Supreme Court, federal courts, other minority courts, and the organizations that support them. The judiciary is responsible for enforcing, explaining and applying laws. It is also responsible for hearing cases and making legal decisions.