The USA - Political systemThe USA with the President as the head of the state is a federation of 50 states. There is also one area, which isn’t part of any states- District of Columbia - this territory is not a state. There is situated capital Washington.
The USA has one of the oldest democratic system in the world. The U.S. Constitution went into effect in 1787 , and it is still valid. Over the years 26 amendments were added to the Constitution. First ten amendments are called the Bills of Rights. There are guaranted the basic rights of individual Americans. The other 16 amendments include other essential laws and right. Let´s mention at least banning of slavery in 1865 or giving women the right to vote(in 1920).
In the Constitution is written , that the goverment is created by „ We, the people“ , purpose of the is to secure liberty , welfare and freedoms of Americans. To the freedoms belongs freedom of religion , free speech , free press or the right to a fair trick.
In U.S. constitutional system , rights and powers are divided between the individual states and the central - or - federal goverment. The federal goverment has three branches : the executive, the legislative, and the judiciary. The power of each branch is carefully balanced by the powers of each of the others. The executive is represented by the President, the Vice President and the Goverment.
The President is the most powerful man in the USA. The President is chosen in nation wide elections every 4 years . Next elections will be in November 2000 - it takes place the first Tuesday after first Monday in November. The president can be elected to only two terms and he must candidate for Republican or Democratic party. Presidential forces are rather big - he appoints federal judges , chooses heads of agencies such as FBI or CIA , proposes laws and approves federal laws after Congress has approved it. He chooses US ambassadors , can veto the bills or make treaties. President is responsible for foreign policy , is Commander - in - Chief of armed forces ( he can direct use of atomic weapons). When the Vice President must leave the office , the President chooses his followers. Nowadays the President of the USA is Bill Clinton.
The Vice President becomes president if the president must leave the office. He leads the Senate and combined meetings of both houses of Congress. He´s elected together with the president.
The Cabinet is made up by heads of 13 departments choosen by the president. They are responsible to president, they advise him on issues related to their departments. The present departments are f.e. : State, Defence, Justice, Agriculture, Commerce, Education...
The Legislative is represented by two Houses of Congress - The Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress seats in Capitol , in Washington D.C.. The House of R. consists of 435 lawmakers who are elected according to the population of each state. Their term takes only two years. The Senate has 100 members - 2 members from each state. Senators serve 6 years. Congress proposes and approves federal laws , approves the choice of federal judges and the cabinet. Congres can also declare war.
The Judiciary is made up of the Supreme Court it consists of nine S.C. judges , who are appointed for life. These judges can´t be released, only if they want to. They make sure that laws are constitutional. There are also courts of appeal and high number of district courts.
How I said , law is in the USA divided between individual states and federal goverment. There can be important differences between law of two different states. It can differ in speed limits, taxes, unemployement benefits, selling of alcohol or divorce. Of course , all these laws must be constitutional.
Federal laws apply to all citiziens , whereever they live. The armed forces and national taxes are controlled by federal goverment. Each state has also its own police forces , but when a federal crime happens the FBI investigated it. The FBI is the only one nationwide police forces.
There are also other agencies - the CIA is the international one, the Secret Servise guards the President. I have mentioned two parties - The Democratic and the Republican , but these aren´t the only two. There are hundreds of other politicial parties in the USA , but they aren´t important. The two main parties are great , meaning of their members are different. So it´s difficult „ to say some general ideas of Democrats or Republicans. Democrats think , that the goverment should support especially people in need (the poor, students, unemployed..). Republicans emphasire private enterprise. But powers of the major pol. parties are lower than in other countries.
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