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Political system of the

United States of America
Political divisions and their

Ana Macanovi

United States
A number of sub-national entities form
the United States
The primary division is the state
System of parallel sovereignty,
meaning than states are units which
compose the US
Federal Government and State
Government have specific areas of

Federal Government
The federal government is composed of
three branches:
1.Legislative (Congress)
2.Executive (The President)
3.Judicial (The Supreme Court)
The powers and duties of these branches
are defined by acts of Congress
This principle was formalized in 1788, with
the ratification of the Constitution

Separation of government
Separation ensures that no person or group would
gain too much power
Each branch is balanced by two other coequal
The President can veto the laws of the Congress
The Congress confirms or rejects the Presidents
appointments and can remove him from office in
exceptional circumstances (impeachment)
The justices of the Supreme Court who can
overturn unconstitutional laws, are appointed by
the President and confirmed by The Senate

Federal Government
"Governments are
instituted among Men,
deriving their just
Powers from the Consent
of the Governed.

Thomas Jefferson, the

Declaration of Independence

The Executive Branch

The power of the Executive Branch is
represented by the President of the United
Head of the state and Commander-in-Chief of
the armed forces
Implementation and enforcement of laws
written by Congress
Appointment of the heads of federal agencies
The Cabinet is responsible for the day-to-day
enforcement and administration of federal laws
Responsibilities: defense, environmental
protection, social securities
The Executive Branch employs about 4 million

The President of the US

Three qualifications: 35 years of age, a
natural born citizen and must have lived in the
US for at least 14 years
Not directly elected by the people
Every four years people elect the members of
the Electoral College
These Electors the voted for the President,
apportioned by population of the states
There are currently 538 electors
Barack Obama is the 44th President of the
United States

The Legislative Branch

The United States Congress consists of:
The House of Representatives (435 members
divided in proportion of states population;
elected every 2 years and must be 25 years of
age and a U.S. citizen)
The Senate (composed of 100 Senators, 2 for
each state; about one-third of the Senate is up
for reelection every two years; must be 30
years of age and a U.S. Citizen)
Congress enacts legislation, declares war, has
the right to confirm or reject Presidential
appointments and has substantive investigative

The Judicial Branch

Appointed by the President and confirmed by
the Senate
Currently nine members of Supreme Court
Congress determines the jurisdiction
Authority in disputes between U.S. States is
granted by the Constitution
Federal courts have the sole power to interpret
the law and apply it to individual cases
Inferior courts must comply to the decisions of
the Supreme Court

States of the U.S.

Primary political entity is a state
States constitute the United States
Every state shares its sovereignty with the
federal government
Each state has its own written constitution,
often far more elaborate than their federal
They are divided into counties or
equivalents (boroughs or parishes), which
are not sovereign but have certain
governmental authorities

States of the U.S.

50 states and the federal district
(District of Columbia)

Image source: Business USA,

Political sovereignty is divided between the
states and federal government
States take care of law enforcement, public
education, public health, transportation and
Today, many of these are being partially or fully
funded by federal funds
All powers not granted to the federal
government are reserved for the states and the
All state governments are modeled after the
federal government and consist of three
branches: executive, legislative, and judicial.

State Government
All powers not granted to the federal
government are reserved for the states
State governments are modeled after the
federal government
They have to uphold a republican form,
although they are not required to have all
three branches

State Government
Executive branch: Governor (directly elected by
the people)
Every state has different executive organization
Legislature branch: Elected Representatives
Approve state budget and initiates tax legislation
Judicial branch: State Courts (usually led by the
State Supreme Court)

Local Government
Local governments include two levels:
Counties (also boroughs or parishes)
Municipalities or cities/towns
Thecountyis the level of administration
subordinate to the state.
County seat is the administrative center
of a county
Sherifis generally the highest lawenforcement official for the county, and is
often elected by the people of the county

Municipal governments
A local government is granted power by the state
where it is located
Municipalities can be structured in numerous ways.
They are called: villages, townships, boroughs, towns
or cities (also census-designated places and
unincorporated communities)
Representatives (councils, mayors and other
governing bodies) are in most cases directly elected
by the people
They vary greatly in size, from several millions to
several hundreds

Municipal governments

Municipalities are responsible for:

parks and recreation services
housing services
emergency medical services
public transportation
police and fire departments (about 69
percent of firefighters are volunteers)
public works (such as street lights, roads,
sewers, snow removal, etc.)

The End


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2013, from
U.S. State. (2012). InWikipedia. Retrieved November 15, 2013, from
United States Courts (2013) Difference Between Federal and State Courts. Retrieved
November 13, 2013, from
White House. (2013) State and Local Government. Retrieved November 12, 2013,
White House. (2013) The Executive Branch, The Legislative Branch, The Judicial
Branch. Retrieved November 12, 2013, from
Wikibooks. (2012) United States Government/Federalism and State Authority.
Retrieved November 13, 2013, from