The Political System of USA

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USA is a federation of 50 different states. Every state has their own representation of the people and picks their own head of government; the governor.
USA has it’s own government. The Congress in Washington is where the representation of the people, takes decisions in matters of USA.
There are two different chambers:
The Senate where there are two representatives from every state.
Elected for 6 years at a time.
The House of Representatives has 435 representatives.
Elected for two years at a time.
The representatives are elected in proportion to every states population.
The states are then divided into ½ million people constituencies.
USA has the world’s oldest written constitution (still in force).
The 200-year-old constitution is valid still today. But they have added and changed it with so-called amendments.
The Federal and State departments
Are to decide about:
· Foreign politics.
· Defence policy.
· Money and currency politics.
· Rules for trading and traffic between states, taxes for the federation’s expenses together with the post-company.
· The F.B.I (Federal Bureau of Investigation) Their mission is to supervise that the federal laws are held.
· The federal judiciary
The rest is up to the state:
· Laws that affects the life of the common American.
· Their own constitution.
· Their own representation of the people.
· Their own government and governor.
· Their own police force and judiciary
The President’s role
He is:
· Chief of the government, who are responsible only to the president, not to the congress. (USA has no parliamentary government)
· Commander in Chief for all the military forces.
· Responsible for the foreign politics.
· Works out suggestions for the federation’s budget.
· Represents the federation on various occasions
The division of power
USA has a different division of power than we are used to. It is built on the ideas of Montesquei, the French philosopher. This is how it is organized:
The three institutions control each other in a particular way; here is a schematic over this control:

The President
à Has a suspensive veto (which is Latin and means “ I forbid”) against the decisions made by the Congress. But if 2/3 of the Congress wants to cancel it, it is cancelled.
à Selects a new judge if somebody in the Supreme Court dies, the President can pick a replacement in his kind of taste.

The Congress
à They control both the president and the Supreme Court, with all their decisions about the budget and old and new laws.
The President needs the budget money and the Supreme Court is very dependent on the laws.

The Supreme Court
àCan do a close examination on the decisions made by the President or the Congress, and see if the decisions comprehend with the constitution

The Congress
As in many other western democratic representations of the people, committees have an important role also in the American Congress¨.
USA has the usual set of committees, but they also have Investigating Committees, which have official hearings from time to time.
These hearings are sometimes live-broadcasted.
Anyone, experts, politicians, office holders, executives etc,
Can be called to a hearing.
Sometimes the Investigating Committees are mutual between The House of Representatives and the Senate.

You cannot describe the American legislative power without mentioning, lobbying and pressure groups.
These are various organisations and individuals who pressure the politicians to take decisions in their favour.

The Judiciary and the Supreme Court
In our part of the world the judiciary is independent to the current political government. In USA they are not!
On state-level you elect the judges in direct elections. And on federal-level the judges is appointed both on party political as well as juridical preferences.
According to the constitution, the Supreme Court is to play an important role as a political powercenter. One of its official duties is to inspect and scrutinize the actions of the President and of the Congress.

Decisions, which are made by these institutions, can be cancelled if the majority of the Supreme Court thinks that the decisions are not valid according to the constitution.
The President elects the nine members of the Supreme Court for lifetime; he-when somebody is going to be replaced- has an opportunity to select a judge with the “right” opinions.
The consequence of this is that the Republicans versus the Democrats condition in the Supreme Court, is very different.
Just as different as how they interpret the constitution. (With it’s old-aged texts)
Voting machines

USA has a purified twopartysystem.
The Republican and the Democratic Party dominates completely. Besides from a few independent congressmen, the politicians in the Senate or The House of Representatives belong to one or the other of these two parties.

It is about the same in every American Congress, on state- county- and town level.
Election conducted on the majority representation system
The twopartysystem is a result of the electoral system, which is used on all levels in USA. An election conducted on the majority representation system is most often divided into one-man constituencies, but in some cases in multiple-man constituencies.
The size of these varies, based on what the election is about. But the point with the electoral system can be summed in the expression; “The winner takes it all”.
Because every constituency is to pick one winner (the person who gets the most votes)
Any proportional justice (as is Sweden for example) there is not.
The candidate or party who comes in 2nd or 3rd place gets no votes at all from that constituency.
But the unique for USA is not this system. There are two things, which are unique with the electoral system in USA.

1: The parties have no political ideology, and their opinions are pretty much the same. Being a republican or a democrat does not say very much how he/she stands in different political questions. It is better to call an American liberal or a conservative, the typical American classification.
Any leftwing movement of any kind does not exist in USA.
2: The big parties in Europe have strong national organisations, which are constantly on the go. In USA they are not. The two parties have neither party leaders nor party programmes.
The parties are only active before the elections. By this reasons, political scientist would like to call the American parties voting machines
The presidential electoral system

· 1-2 years before the election many people announce intention to candidate, but many people does not come much further, because they does not acquire enough money to campaign, or that they notice that they do not have support from the voters.
At early springtime the election year, delegates are chosen to one of the two parties national convent. This can be done in two ways:
àIn primary elections, every voter chose one candidate from one party. Every American citizen can vote, but they have to register themselves as a voter for a particular party in which he/she is planning to vote.

àIn other states nomination meetings elect the delegates to the national convent.

· The results of the primary elections and the nomination meetings determine how many delegates from each states, shall represent a certain presidential candidate at the national convent. At these convents, the delegates have to vote on the person they were sent to vote on. But if his or her candidate bail out, he/she can vote on someone else. When a presidential candidate is chosen his party programme becomes the programme of the party.
· After the convents there are two candidates left, one from each party.
A president is now elected in two steps. The voters elect electors who promise to vote for a particular presidential candidate.

· In these electoral elections every state is constituency (but in this case in multiple-men-constituencies)
But the numbers of electors from each state is depending on the population in the state. For example; Texas has 32, California 54, and New York 33. There are 538 electors at a total.
As always the election is conducted on the majority representation system, which in this case means that the candidate who gets the most votes in one state gets all the electors votes from that state. That is why it is very important to win the big states.
· The “real” election is only a formality because the electors have to vote as they are told. But you have to have at least 270 elector votes to become a president. This is in December.
· The installation as a president is in January. It is then this person becomes USA: s head of State and Government, which gives him tremendous power!
Here is a schematic as an overview:

The low participation in the elections
In USA: s every state...

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Inactive member [2002-08-01]   The Political System of USA
Mimers Brunn [Online]. [2023-01-29]

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