The Political System of the USA

The Political System of the USA

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The Political System of the USA.

The USA is a federal union of 50 states. The basic law is the
constitution, adopted in 1787, which prescribes the structure of
national government and lists its rights and fields of authority. Each
state has its government and all of them have the dual character of
both Federal and State government. The political system of the USA is
divided into three branches: judicial, legislative and executive. Each
branch holds a certain degree of power over the others, and all take
part in the governmental process.

The flag. It is called the stars and the stripes and old glory. It was
adopted in 1777. The red stripes proclaim courage, the white -
liberty, and the field of blue stands for loyalty.

The coat of arms. The coat of arms of the US represents an eagle with
wings outspread, holding a bangle of rods (the symbol of administer)
in the left claw and olive twig (the emblem of love) in the right
claw. The motto of the coat of arms is 'one out of many" (aplinibus

The nick name. It was in 1812 when the nickname of the US government
"Uncle Sam" appeared. 'Uncle' Samuel Wilson supplied beef to the
American army, during the war of 1812, standing his barrels with the
letters 'U. S.’ The army as ‘Uncle Sam’s’ knew this beef, and later on
this familiar name became associated with the US government.

The constitution of the USA. Although the American system of
government is based on Great Britain's, it differs in having a written
constitution, that is the bases of all government and law. The
constitution of the US was adopted after the War of Independence on
the 17th of September 1787. It lists the set of rules, law
regulations, which provide the practical norms, regulating the work of
the government. The document imbodied the practical theories of man of
property. The main principle underline the constitution was as
follows: "Private property is the backbone of liberty". It was put
forward by a rich plantation owner from Virginia James Madison, who is

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known to be a father of the constitution.

The constitution consists of Preamble and seven articles. 27
amendments have so far been added to its original text. The first 10
amendments, known as "the Bill of Rights', were added in a group in
1791. These amendments establish the individual rights and freedoms to
all people of the states, including freedom of speech, freedom of the
press, freedom of worship etc. Americans fill that of all freedoms,
proclaimed in the constitution, there is only one freedom - the
freedom of enterprise. But it means freedom of the wealthy people
only. The 21st amendment limited the President's ruling by maximum two

The legislative branch. Supreme legislative power in the American
government lies with Congress: the Senate, the upper house; and the
House of the Representatives - the Lower House. Each state has its own
government - State Assemblies or, Legislatures with two houses.
According to the constitution of the USA, all citizens of both sexes
over 18 years of age has a right of voting, but in reality the number
of voters is much smaller. The main task of Congress is to make
federal laws, to levy federal taxes, to make rules for trade, to corn
money, to organise Armed forces, to declare war, to make amendments to
the constitution or put foreign treaties into effect.

Under the constitution the US Senate has some special powers, not
given to the House of representatives. It approves or disapproves the
main presidential appointments: Ambassadors. Cabinet Members and
federal judges; also ratify by a 2/3 vote treatments between the USA
and foreign countries. The House of Representatives has a special
power of its own - to invent a bill to raise money.

The Senate is composed of 100 members - two from each of 50 states,
who are elected for a term of * years. Although congressional
elections take place every two years, only 1/3 of the Senate is
reelected. A Senator must be at least 30ty years old, a citizen of the
USA for 9 years and a resident of the state from which he is elected.
Democrats sit in the western part of the chamber - on Vice-president
right. Republicans sit on his left. Vice-president presides over the
Senate and conducts debates. The Senate is stable and more
conservative than the House of Representatives and many Senators are
more experienced politicians.

The House of representatives has 450 members. The number of
Representatives depends on the population of each state. A
Representative must be at least 25 years age, a US citizen for 7 years
and live in the state from which he is elected. Democrats sit on the
Speakers right, republicans - on his left. The Speaker presides over
the House and conducts debates. The Speaker, like Vice-president, may
vote. Most of the Congressmen are layers, businessman and bankers. The
American press as an unrepresentative institution sometimes criticises
the US Congress.

The Congress in work. A new Congress session begins on the 3rd of
January each odd number year and continues for two years. A
Congressman must work long and hard. But most of their work is done in
committee meetings. Here bills are studied, experts are consulted, and
recommendations are made to the whole House of Senate. During a two
year term of a Congress, as many as 20000 bills are introduced. There
are 16 'standing' or permanent committees in the Senate, and 22 in the
House. They accept and improve some bills, but reject most of them.
For a bill becomes a law it must be read, studied in committees,
commented on and amended in the Senate or House chamber in which it
was introduced. It is then voted upon. If it passes, it is sent to the
other house where a similar procedure occurs. Members of both houses
work together in "conference committees" if the chambers have passed
different versions of the same bill. Groups who try to persuade
Congressmen to vote for or against a bill are known as "lobbies". When
both houses of Congress pass a bill on which they agree, it is sent to
the president for his signature. If President is disapproves, he
vetoes and refusing to sign it, and sends it back to Congress.
President’s objection are read and debated. To overcome the
President's veto, the bill must get a 2/3 majority in each chamber.

Lobbyists. Often discussing Congress of the USA, the third chamber is
mentioned. It's a specific American phenomena called lobbies. Today
ifs big corporations, social organisations, foreign diplomats, who try
to influence lawmaking process in their favour. This is done with the
help of lobbyists. Practically lobbyism (backstage influence in
legislation) has become legal, it means, that the passing of a bill
can be prevented, if it doesn’t suit the interests of a definite group
of big business. Lobbyists make all themselves legislative councils.
More and more people realise that legislation is shaped as much by the
hidden influences, as by the public debates.

The executive branch. The executive power in the USA belongs to the
President and his Administration. The Presidency in the USA is the
highest governmental office. President in the USA is the head of the
state and the government, and also the commander-in-chief of the US
Armed Forces.

Vice-resident and the Cabinet assist president. The President and
Vice-president are elected for a term of four years and can be
reelected. President must be a natural-born citizen of the USA and at
least 35 years old, and for at least 14 years resident of the USA. The
term of office of the President begins on the 2nd of January.
Presidential elections are head in two stages - in November and
December. Before the elections the candidates for Presidency tour the
country, meeting people and delivering speeches.

The president, as the chief formulator of public policy, often
proposes legislation to Congress. The president can also veto (forbid)
any bill passed by Congress. The veto can be overridden by a
two-thirds vote in both the Senate and House of Representatives. As
head of his political party, with ready access to the news media, the
president can easily influence public opinion regarding issues and
legislation that he deems vital. President conducts foreign affairs,
signed documents, appoints diplomats, Cabinet Members, federal judges
with the consent and advice of the Senate. He outlines the course of
his administration threw Congress.

Vice-president presides over the Senate, his other duties are
indefinite. He takes the president's office, if the president is
unable to finish his term. So Vice-president is 'a forgotten man of
the American politics'. A Cabinet of 12 members assists the US
President. Cabinet secretaries correspond to European ministers. They
are heads of different departments and are responsible to President.
Today these 13 departments are State, Treasury, Defence, Justice,
Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Labour, Health and Human Services,
Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, Energy and Education.
The State Department ranks ahead of others. The political power of the
Secretary of the State is the second only to that of the president. He
must maintains peace and negotiates economic and political treatness.

Besides, President has an inner Cabinet, the so-called 'white-house
office', i. e. immediate assistance and advises of the President. The
House of Representatives may bring charges against the President, it
is called 'impeachment' - a formal accusation against a public
official by a legislative body, for treason, bribery and other high

Under the Constitution, the president is primarily responsible for
foreign relations with other nations. He often represents the United
States abroad in consultations with other heads of state, and, through
his officials, he negotiates treaties with over countries. Such
treaties must be approved by a two-thirds vote of the Senate.
Presidents also negotiate with other nations less formal "executive
agreements" that are not subject to Senate approval.

Inauguration. Inauguration always takes place on the 20th of January,
it is an official act of installing the President of the USA to his
office. Inauguration is connected with some traditions. Thus the
incumbent. President gives dinner on the eve in honour of the
President elected and to conduct him threw the White House'. By 12
o'clock of the 2nd of January two participants of the ceremony and
guests take their places in front of the Capitol. The central point of
the ceremony is the taking of an oath by the President and the
delivering of his Inaugural speech, it is regarded as a declaration of
principles, proclaimed by the new administration. The ceremony ends in
a military parade.

The major political parties. The US began as a one party political
system. But gradually two-party system appeared. The present-day
Democratic Party was founded in 1828, representing southern states. It
united slave owners. The Republican Party was founded in 1854 and
united people from Northeast, who were against slavering. The emblem
of the Democratic Party is a donkey. The emblem of the Republican
Party is an elephant. The main task of the parties is to win
elections. One of the reasons of stability at the two party systems is
family tradition to inherit politics from fathers.

Judiciary. The judicial branch is headed by the Supreme Court, which
is the only court specifically created by the Constitution. In
addition, the Congress has established 11 federal courts of appeal
and. below them, 91 federal district courts. Federal judges are
appointed for life or voluntary retirement, and can only be removed
from office through the process of impeachment and trial in the

Federal courts have jurisdiction over cases arising out of the
Constitution: laws and treaties of the United States: maritime cases;
issues involving foreign citizens or governments; and cases in which
the federal government itself is a party. Ordinarily, federal courts
do not hear cases arising out of the laws of individual states.

The Supreme Court today consists of a chief justice and eight
associate justices. With minor exceptions, all its cases reach the
Court on appeal from lower federal or state courts. Most of these
cases involve disputes over the interpretation of laws and
legislation. In this capacity, the Court's most important function
consists of determining whether congressional legislation or executive
action violates the Constitution. This power of judicial review is not
specifically provided for by the Constitution; rather, it is the
Court's interpretation of its Constitutional role as established in
the landmark.
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