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The Political System of the United States of America



The United States of America is a federal Union. The form of the federal government of the country is based on the Constitution adopted on September l7, 1787.

The US Constitution is relatively brief document outlining the structure of the three departments of the federal government and relation to the states which form the Union.However, the Constitution provides a method of amendment, in fact, it has been 26 time amended since its adoption. A constitution in American political language means a set of rules, laws and regulations that provide the norms for conducting the work of the government. The federal government headed by the President deals with international problems and national matters. Everystate has its own constitution and the state government, headed by the Governor, manages its local affairs. States' lawsand decisions must not contradict the federal Constitution. The federal government is divided into three branches: the legislative, the executive and the judicial.

The idea of separating powers among the various elements of government was design to restrict governmental power and prevent its abuse. Where never possible, the Fonding Fathers built a system of “checks and balances” into the Constitution so that no one part of the government could supplant the other. Each branch checks or limits the power of the other branches. For ехаmрlе, although Congress makes laws, the president can veto them. Even if the president veto а law, Congress mау check the president bу overriding his veto with а two- thirds- vote. The Supreme Court can overturn laws passed bу Congress and signed bу the president. The selection of federal and Supreme Court judges is made bу the other two branches. The president appoints judges, but the Senate reviews his candidates and has the power to reject his choices. With this system of checks and balances, по branch of government has superior power.

Article 1 of the Constitution begins as follows: "All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and a House of Representatives". "Upper" and "Lower" are commonly applied to the two branches of a bicameral legislature, the upper being the less numerous and higher in rank of the two. A member of the Senate is usually referred to as a Senator, and a member of the House as a Congressman. The function of the legislative branch of the government is to make the laws and to finance the operation of the government through levying taxes and appropriating money requested by the executive branch of the government.

Article II of the US Constitution runs: "The executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America." The executive branch, which includes the President, and the President's Cabinet, is responsible for administering and executing the laws. The President must be a natural-born citizen, at least thirty five years old, and for at least fourteen years a resident of the United States.

The Constitution gives the president many important powers. As chief executive, the president appoints secretaries of the major departments that make uр the president's cabinet. Today there are 13 major departments in the executive branch: the Departments of State, Treasury, Defense, Justice, Interior, Agricu1ture, Commerce, Labor, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, Energy, and Education. As chief executive, the president also appoints senior officials of the many agencies in the expansive bureaucracy.

As head of state, the president represents the country abroad, entertains foreign leaders, аnd addresses the рublіс. As director of foreign роlісу, he appoints foreign ambassadors and makes treaties with other nations. The president also serves as commander- in- chief of the armed forces and as head of his political party.

According to Article III of the Constitution" the judicial power of the United States shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish". The US Supreme Court is the highest tribunal in the United States. It includes the Chief Justice and eight associate justices. The Court's function is to interpret the Constitution, not to alter or modify it.

The structure of American government is really a mosaic composed of thousands of interlocking units. In addition to the federal government, there are 50 state governments and the government of the District of Columbia, and further down the ladder of smaller units that govern counties, cities, towns and villages.

The federal government is, of course, the largest, but the governments of the 50 states and thousands of smaller units are no less important. The drafters of the Constitution created this multilayered system of government. They made the national structure supreme and assigned it certain specific functions, such as defense, currency regulation and foreign relations; yet they wisely recognized the need for levels of government more directly in contact with the people, and so they left many other responsibilities in the hands of state and local jurisdictions.

State and local governments are, however, forbidden from passing any law that denies or erodes the fundamental rights guaranteed to all U.S. citizens in the Constitution.

Exercises

III. Find in the text English equivalents of the following words and word combinations:

фінансувати діяльність уряду

збірник законів

займатися міжнародними проблемами

зупинити зловживання

політична рівновага

перевірити та урівноважити

подолати вето

відхилити закон

переглянути кандидатуру

нести відповідальність за виконання законів

представляти країну на міжнародному рівні





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