Сочинение: 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 Sam’s’ 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 21
st 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.
President’s 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 doesn’t 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 2
nd 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