The U.S. Government
By Dylan Bui
The U.S. government is one of the first official democracies in the world. It’s run on a federalist system and has built on two different levels: the federal and state. The Federal government is made up of three branches: legislative, executive, and judicial. The state government, on the other hand, is made up of the 50 states and their separate governments.
The legislative branch or Congress is the first part of the Federal government explained in the constitution. It is made up of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Senate consists of 2 representatives per state, making a total of 100 senators. Senators have a term length of six years while representatives in the House have a term length of 2 years. The Senate has the power to conduct impeachment trials and the power to confirm other federal officials along with treaties from the president. On the other hand, the House of Representatives has the power to propose bills and propose to impeach federal officials. The House of Representatives is made up of 435 representatives. Each state gets a certain number of representatives based on the population of the state. Congress can create laws and veto the president's own veto with a 2/3 vote in each house. Senators and house representatives are directly elected by the people of their respective state. Congress meets in the U.S. capitol building where they create laws.
The executive branch is another part of the U.S. government and is made up of the President, Vice President and all of the cabinet members. The President is the most important person in the U.S. because he is the icon of the country. The President can create treaties, veto laws created by Congress, and make executive orders. The President has a term length of 4 years and can run twice. The Vice President is elected along with the President but doesn’t have the same job. The Vice President is to preside over the Senate and can only vote to break ties. However, if the President dies during their term, the Vice President can become the President. The Cabinet is made up of 15 different departments. Each department specializes in an area that is important to our nation. For example, the Department of Education specializes in school’s policies and curriculum. Each department head (or secretary) is nominated by the president and is confirmed by the Senate. All of the executive works at the White House to make decisions for our country.
Finally, the judicial branch is made of all of the courts in America, most noticeably the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is the highest court among the other 12 Courts of Appeal and 94 Judiciary Courts. The Supreme Court consists of one Chief Justice and 8 other Justices. The Justices have to be nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate. In order to be the Chief Justice, they also must already be a supreme court justice, and be appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate again. The Supreme Court’s power is to interpret the laws and figure out what the Constitution really means. The Court can rule if any action is unconstitutional and decide court cases. The Courts of Appeal listen to the other judiciary courts in their circuit and federal agencies. The Courts of Appeal are at a higher level than the Judiciary Courts. The Judiciary Courts are places where decisions are made for legal and illegal cases. A judge presides over the case and makes decisions whether a person is guilty or not in a civil case. However, during a criminal case, a jury has to make the final decision. A jury is a group of unbiased people from the area of the court case.
The state government is made of all 50 states. Each state, while having their own separate government, still is part of the national government. Each state has their own Senate, House of Representatives, and courts. Each of these branches function like the ones in the federal government, but within the state. The states have the power over more direct matters like schools laws, marriage laws, public facilities and powers not listed for the federal government. Each state government has a governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, auditors, and commissioners who are all elected by the people directly.
The four elements explained above all serve an important part of the U.S. government. The legislative, executive, and judicial branches are all from the federal government while the state government is separate.
Note: Interested in learning more about the mid-term elections and the U.S. government, Dylan Bui wrote this essay for a writing course he's taking with Eduling in 2022.