Political System of the USA


                 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 nun).

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 Sams 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
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 terms.

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.  Presidents  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  doesnt  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 crimes.
     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 Congress.
     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.


"Political System of the USA"