|Politica de confidentialitate|
| • CREDITUL IPOTECAR PENTRU INVESTITII IMOBILIARE (economie)|
• Comertul cu amanuntul (economie)
• IDENTIFICAREA CRIMINALISTICA (drept)
• Mecanismul motor, Biela, organe mobile proiect (diverse)
• O scrisoare pierduta (romana)
• O scrisoare pierduta (romana)
• Ion DRUTA (romana)
• COMPORTAMENT PROSOCIAL-COMPORTAMENT ANTISOCIAL (psihologie)
• COMPORTAMENT PROSOCIAL-COMPORTAMENT ANTISOCIAL (psihologie)
• Starea civila (geografie)
| • domnisoara hus|
• istoria unui galban
• comentariu liric
• praslea cel voinic si merele da aur
|The Government Of The United States of America|
United States (Government), the combination of federal, state, and local laws, bodies, and agencies that is responsible for carrying out the operations of the United States. The federal government of the United States is centered in Washington, D.C.
The institutions of all governments emerge from basic principles. In the United States the one basic principle is representative democracy, which defines a system in which the people govern themselves by electing their own leaders. The American government functions to secure this principle and to further the common interests of the people.
Democracy in America is based on six essential ideals: (1) People must accept the principle of majority rule. (2) The political rights of minorities must be protected. (3) Citizens must agree to a system of rule by law. (4) The free exchange of opinions and ideas must not be restricted. (5) All citizens must be equal before the law. (6) Government exists to serve the people, because it derives its power from the people. These ideals form the basis of the democratic system in the United States, which seeks to create a union of diverse peoples, places, and interests.
To implement its essential democratic ideals, the United States has built its government on four elements: (1) popular sovereignty, meaning that the people are the ultimate source of the government’s authority; (2) representative government; (3) checks and balances; and (4) federalism, an arrangement where powers are shared by different levels of government.
Every government has a source of its sovereignty or authority, and most of the political structures of the U.S. government apply the doctrine of popular sovereignty. In previous centuries the source of sovereignty in some countries was the monarchy-the divine right of kings to rule. Americans place the source of authority in the people who, in a democratic society, reign. In this idea the citizens collectively represent the nation’s authority. They then express that authority individually by voting to elect leaders to represent them in government. “I know no safe repository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves,” wrote Thomas Jefferson in 1820, “and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them but to inform their discretion.” This was an experimental idea at the time, but today Americans take it for granted.
The second principle of U.S. democracy is representative government. In a representative government, the people delegate their powers to elected officials. In the United States, candidates compete for the presidency, the Senate, and the House of Representatives, as well as for many state and local positions. In turn these elected officials represent the will of the people and ensure that the government is accountable to its citizens. In a democracy, the people exercise power through elections, which allow all adult citizens of the United States the chance to have their voices heard and to influence government. With their vote, they can remove officials who ignore their intentions or who betray their trust. Political leaders are accountable as agents of the people; this accountability is an important feature of the American system of representative government.
In order to truly work, however, representative government must represent all people. Originally the only people allowed to vote and thus to be represented were white men who owned property-a small percentage of the population. Gradually voting rights were broadened to include white men without property, blacks, Native Americans, naturalized immigrants, and women.
The third principle of American democracy is the system of checks and balances. The three branches of government-the legislative, the executive, and the judicial-restrain and stabilize one another through their separated functions. The legislative branch, represented by Congress, must pass bills before they can become law. The executive branch—namely, the president—can veto bills passed by Congress, thus preventing them from becoming law. In turn, by a two-thirds vote, Congress can override the president’s veto. The Supreme Court may invalidate acts of Congress by declaring them contrary to the Constitution of the United States, but Congress can change the Constitution through the amendment process.
The fourth principle of democracy in the United States is federalism. In the American federal system, the states and the national government divide authority. This division of power helps curb abuses by either the national or the state governments.
This is one of seven major articles that together provide a comprehensive discussion of the United States of America. For more information on the United States, please see the other six major articles: United States (Overview), United States (Geography), United States (People), United States (Culture), United States (Economy), and United States (History). Constitution Of The United States
The Constitution of the United States is the basis for the machinery and institutions
of the U.S. government. The Constitution is the world’s oldest charter
of national government in continuous use. It was written in 1787 during the
Constitutional Convention, which had been convened in the midst of the political
crisis that followed the American Revolution. At that time relations were tense
between the states and the acting central government, the Continental Congress.
The Constitution was an effort to ease those tensions and to create a single
political entity from the 13 independent former colonies-the ideal expressed
in the motto of the United States, E Pluribus Unum (From Many, One). In 1788,
after nine states ratified it, the Constitution became the law of the land.
With 27 amendments-or additions-it has remained so.
To implement these abstract ideas, the Founders established three branches
of government-the executive, the legislative, and the judicial. The functions
of these branches are described in the first three articles of the Constitution.
Along with the preamble, the first three articles are the most familiar parts
of the Constitution. There are, however, four additional articles. Article IV
sets up cooperative arrangements between the states and the federal government
regarding fugitives and criminals, and requires that states respect one other
and one other’s citizens. It also establishes the process by which territories
become states, an important function during the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Finally Article IV guarantees a republican-or representative-form of government
for all states.
No sooner was the Constitution accepted than both individuals and states insisted
on additions to protect the people from possible abuses by the new federal government.
In 1790 Congress and the states ratified ten amendments known as the Bill of
Rights. These amendments guarantee personal liberties and prevent the federal
government from infringing on the rights of states and citizens.
The Constitution of the United States embodies the principle that out of many different peoples, one national society can be created. The Founders wanted unity and stability. But they also wanted to safeguard the rights and liberties of states and individuals by balancing power among individuals, states, and the national government. The result is a system of shared functions designed to prevent any one element from gaining too much power.Executive
The president and vice president are the only officials elected by all citizens of the United States; both serve four-year terms. Although the president shares power with Congress and the judiciary, he or she is the most powerful and important officeholder in the country. The president has no vote in Congress but proposes much of the legislation that becomes law. As the principal maker of foreign policy, the president of the United States has become one of the world's most important leaders in international affairs.Background
At first, the Founders were uncertain about the kind of executive power they
desired for the United States. In 1787 they debated at length about how to choose
a president and how much authority to give such a person. The drafters of the
Constitution gave the president fewer specific powers than they extended to
Congress because they were worried about placing too much power in the hands
of one individual. The Founders then created an electoral college as the means
of selecting the executive of their new country.
In the United States today the chief executive has many responsibilities. The president fills more than 3,000 appointed positions, including ambassadors, White House personnel, and members of various boards and commissions; oversees the many components of the executive branch of government; and proposes legislation to Congress-including the yearly federal budget. The president also directs foreign policy, commands the armed forces, negotiates and signs treaties, and serves as a symbol of the nation and a head of state with ceremonial duties.Executive Agencies
The increasing power of modern presidents does not violate the Constitution
by encroaching on the other branches of government. Rather, executive authority
has expanded because of the loosely defined nature of the president’s
powers in the Constitution. In Article II of the Constitution, the president
is charged with seeing that “the Laws be faithfully executed.” It
would be difficult for one individual to oversee all aspects of a modern industrialized
society like that of the United States. Thus the executive branch has established
a large number of agencies that carry out some of the executive functions of
the government. Many full-time government employees participate in defining,
regulating, and carrying out the various functions of the executive branch.
In addition to authority as head of the many executive departments and agencies,
the president also has primary responsibility for making foreign policy. The
Constitution established the president as commander of the armed forces and
gave the president the authority to make treaties “with the Advice and
Consent” of Congress. As a result, both Congress and the courts have generally
supported energetic presidential action in the area of foreign policy. The president
has the power to recognize new governments, to attend summit meetings with the
heads of other nations, and to make executive agreements with foreign governments.
Executive agreements have the force of law, but unlike treaties, they do not
require congressional approval. Most Americans consider it in their best interests
to allow the president some freedom of action in foreign affairs, recognizing
that the president may be required to respond quickly to international challenges.
Despite their wide-ranging authority, presidents have limits on their power.
While the Supreme Court, the media, and public opinion can affect presidential
actions, Congress has the greatest ability to limit the president’s power.
Congress can check presidential power by refusing to appropriate funds for a
presidential initiative, whether domestic or international. It can also refuse
to confirm presidential appointees, such as ambassadors or Supreme Court justices.
And ultimately only Congress can write and pass the laws that the executive
branch is constitutionally obligated to implement.
It has always been necessary for presidents to work with Congress, but in the
second half of the 20th century, relations between the two have often been strained
and divided by political-party affiliation. Until after World War II (1939-1945)
most presidents worked with a government in which their political party also
controlled the House and Senate, making relations smoother. But since 1952 presidents
have often confronted a Congress where the opposition party has a majority in
at least one House. Such circumstances have limited the effectiveness of presidential
Congress is the legislative branch of the government of the United States. The Constitution divides Congress into two structures-a House of Representatives and a Senate. These structures are jointly assigned “all legislative powers” in the national government.
The Founders expected Congress to be the dominant branch of the national government. In the early 1800s, James Monroe, the fifth U.S. president, said, “The whole system of national government may be said to rest essentially in powers granted to athe legislativei branch.” In fact, Congress was the center of government until the power of the presidency began to increase in the 20th century. However, from the start the Founders also felt that it was important to retain some control over the powers of Congress. As a result, the Constitution specifically enumerates ten things, some no longer relevant, that Congress may not do. Among other prohibitions, Congress cannot imprison people without due process of law, except in emergencies; Congress cannot pass laws that retroactively make a crime of what was legal when committed; and Congress cannot tax interstate commerce. In addition, the Bill of Rights forbids Congress from abridging rights held by individuals. Structure of the House
The House of Representatives is made up of 435 representatives-the number per
state varies by population-elected every two years. Demonstrating the growth
of the United States, today’s congresspersons represent nearly 20 times
the number of constituents as their predecessors did in the late 18th century.
Today there is one representative for approximately every 621,000 residents,
a much larger figure than the 30,000 residents the Constitution originally required
for a congressional district. The framers of the Constitution intended that
the congressional districts, which are usually substantially smaller units of
representation than a state, would assure that all interests in the nation would
be adequately represented. Thus these units reflect the geographic, social,
and economic diversity of the American people.
The most important House committees are the Rules Committee, which decides when and for how long every bill will be debated and whether or not it can be amended; the Ways and Means Committee, which studies the president’s budget proposals and demands that administrative agencies justify their requests for money; and the Appropriations Committee, which allots money from the federal budget to support approved measures. Frequently the jurisdictions of committees and subcommittees overlap so that several subcommittees might examine a bill before it is voted on. For example, a single energy bill may be considered by the subcommittees on public works and transportation; science, space, and technology; and energy and commerce.
Because the committee process is very important, committee chairmen and chairwomen are some of the most powerful people in the House. In the past, committee chairs could prevent legislation supported by a majority from reaching the floor of the House. Chairs could either refuse to let a bill out of the committee or they could allot very little or no time for the committee to consider a bill. While committee chairs still retain some powers that regular committee members do not have—such as controlling when bills will be taken up and the hiring of committee staff—committee members are more likely to challenge chairs’ rulings. Until the 1970s representatives obtained committee chairs through seniority-how many terms they had served. When the committees’ seniority rules were dismantled, committee members gained more freedom. Now party caucuses elect committee chairs.
Party caucuses (or conferences, as they are called by Republicans) are made up of all the House members of a party. At the beginning of each session of Congress, each caucus meets to select its officers and its nominees for House leadership positions. Caucuses also occasionally meet during a session to discuss the policies of the party and significant legislation. Caucuses can have significant influence on lawmaking, as the choice of a committee chairperson sympathetic to a certain piece of legislation often changes the fate of a particular bill.
The most powerful individual in the House is the Speaker of the House, who presides over the chamber, refers bills to committees, and appoints representatives to special committees, and grants representatives the right to speak during chamber debates. The Speaker of the House is elected by the entire body and is always a member of the party with a majority of seats in the House. Other important posts in the House are the majority and minority floor leaders and their assistants, called whips. The floor leaders and whips are influential members whose function is to try to have representatives vote the way their political party suggests on key issues. Each party chooses its own floor leader and whips.
Structure of the Senate
The Senate is composed of 100 members-two each from the 50 states-who serves
six-year terms. The procedures and workings of the Senate are similar to those
of the House, though because of its smaller membership there are fewer committees
and subcommittees. The most important committees of the Senate are the Appropriations,
Budget, Finance, Foreign Relations, and Judiciary committees.
Congress has many powers and responsibilities. The most important of these is lawmaking. Lawmaking is a long and complicated process, and takes up a large portion of representatives’ and senators’ time. Only a small percentage of the bills introduced to Congress actually become law.The Legislative Process
The legislative process begins when a member of Congress introduces a bill—a
proposed law—to the House or the Senate. When a bill is introduced in
one of the houses of Congress, it is assigned a number and forwarded to an appropriate
legislative committee. The committee decides whether a need exists for such
legislation and whether the bill fits the need. The committee discusses the
bill and may conduct hearings or consult outside experts. After considering
the bill, the committee may approve or amend it and pass it on to the full House
or Senate. If the committee fails to approve the bill or votes to take no action
on it, the bill dies. The majority of bills that are introduced to Congress
die in committee.
In addition to its sole power over lawmaking, Congress has the authority to
initiate bills to fund federal programs, to set tariffs and taxes, to provide
for the national defense (including funding for things such as fortifications
and defensive weaponry), to control immigration, to establish post offices,
to raise and support a military force, and to declare war. Congress can also
impeach and remove federal officials, including the president, from office.
As congressional work has grown and become more complex, Congress has come
to rely on the advice and assistance of a large number of auxiliary agencies.
One of the most important of these agencies is the Congressional Budget Office,
a group of experts in economics and statistics. This office provides the information
necessary for legislators to respond to the president’s budget proposals
and to reconcile estimated tax revenues with projected expenses.
In addition to the auxiliary congressional agencies, both the House and Senate depend on what is sometimes called the third house of Congress-the lobbyists. Lobbyists are usually employees or representatives of companies or interest groups who try to influence votes on legislation and to gain publicity for their causes. With at least 1,800 associations located in Washington, the causes that are represented by lobbyists run the gamut from labor unions, the National Association of Manufacturers, and large corporations to citizens’ groups promoting environmental issues and health concerns.
In some instances, lobbyists specialize in a field such as agriculture or taxation and become experts who provide technical information to legislators on a variety of subjects. Lobbyists may even draft legislative bills. Full-time lobbyists are required to register and are regulated by laws that restrict their contributions and gifts to legislators. Their public image, however, remains that of people who affect the outcome of legislation and elections by contributing money to politicians. In 1998 special interests represented by 14,484 lobbyists (27 for each member of Congress) reported spending $1.17 billion to lobby Congress, the White House, and the federal agencies. Current Trends and Issues
The relationship of Congress with the executive branch is critical to the workings of the government. Friction often develops between presidents, who want swift action, and Congress, whose machinery makes movement slow. Congress reflects national diversity and mirrors the nation in its fragmentation and lack of central control. The conflict between the executive and legislative branches is accentuated if different political parties control the two branches, as they have since the 1950s. The American people need to decide whether a Congress of one party fighting the presidency of another is a separation of powers that produces effective government. While this circumstance diffuses power, it can run counter to the public interest if important issues are not dealt with because of partisan disagreements. In 1995, for example, the president and Congress were unable to agree on a federal budget, and without congressional appropriations there was no money to pay federal employees, resulting in a brief government shutdown.Judiciary
The Supreme Court is the highest court in the United States. Litigants dissatisfied with a lower court decision may appeal to the Supreme Court, although very few cases ever reach the court. A ruling of the Supreme Court cannot be appealed. As Justice Robert Jackson once explained: “The aSupremei Court is not final because it is infallible; the court is infallible because it is final.” There are currently nine Supreme Court justices, who, like all federal judges, are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate.Responsibilities of the Supreme Court
An important feature of the American legal system is the practice of judicial
review. The most important exercise of judicial review is by the Supreme Court.
The court can determine whether a statute or executive action conforms to the
rules and principles laid down in the Constitution. It can strike down laws
that it considers unconstitutional. Judicial review does not belong exclusively
to the Supreme Court; in appropriate cases, every court may strike down laws
that violate the Constitution. Although judicial review adds flexibility to
the Constitution—allowing it to be interpreted for changing times—this
power is not explicitly stated in the Constitution.
Despite its authority on paper, the Supreme Court is influenced by certain
factors. When a vacancy occurs because of death, retirement, or impeachment
of a Supreme Court justice, the president appoints a new justice who then must
be confirmed by a majority of the Senate. As a result, the president and the
Senate can affect the composition and sentiment of the court. For example, the
court changed dramatically during the American Civil War (1861-1865), when President
Abraham Lincoln appointed five justices to a body that had been controlled before
the war by Southerners. Individual justices are also influenced by personal
background, political views, and relationships with other judges, and even by
the clerks who assist them.
Presently the judiciary has several challenges. The first involves a debate
over the proper limits of the Supreme Court’s activism. This debate pits
judicial fundamentalists, or strict constructionists, against judicial activists,
also known as loose constructionists.
|Copyright© 2005 - 2021 | Trimite referat | Harta site | Adauga in favorite