The United States is a federal republic and a representative democracy with three separate branches of government, including a bicameral legislature. It is a founding member of the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Organization of American States, NATO, and other international organizations.
The United States of America is a federal republic consisting of 50 states, a federal district, five major territories, and various minor islands. The 48 contiguous states and Washington, D.C., are in North America between Canada and Mexico. Alaska is an exclave in the far northwestern part of North America, connected only to Canada, and Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific. Territories of the United States are scattered throughout the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. According to the
The United States of America (USA) is a sovereign country (in North America) that is split up into 50 states. It is commonly called the United States (U.S. or US) or America. There are forty-eight states that border each other and Washington, D.C., the capital district. These states are between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.
- State Government
- Local Government
- Unincorporated Territories
- Campaign Finance
- Political Culture
- Political Parties and Elections
- Political Pressure Groups
- Concerns About Oligarchy
- Concerns About Political Representation
- See Also
State governments have the power to make laws on all subjects that are not granted to the federal government nor denied to the states in the U.S. Constitution. These include education, family law, contract law, and most crimes. Unlike the federal government, which only has those powers granted to it in the Constitution, a state government has inherent powers allowing it to act unless limited by a provision of the state or national constitution. Like the federal government, state governments have three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial. The chief executive of a state is its popularly elected governor, who typically holds office for a four-year term (although in some states the term is two years). Except for Nebraska, which has unicameral legislature, all states have a bicameral legislature, with the upper house usually called the Senate and the lower house called the House of Representatives, the Assemblyor something similar. In most states, senators serve four-year term...
There are 89,500 local governments, including 3,033 counties, 19,492 municipalities, 16,500 townships, 13,000 school districts, and 37,000 other special districts.Local governments directly serve the needs of the people, providing everything from police and fire protection to sanitary codes, health regulations, education, public transportation, and housing. Typically local elections are nonpartisan - local activists suspend their party affiliations when campaigning and governing. About 28% of the people live in cities of 100,000 or more population. City governments are chartered by states, and their charters detail the objectives and powers of the municipal government. For most big cities, cooperation with both state and federal organizations is essential to meeting the needs of their residents. Types of city governments vary widely across the nation. However, almost all have a central council, elected by the voters, and an executive officer, assisted by various department heads, to...
The United States possesses a number of unincorporated territories, including 16 island territories across the globe. These are areas of land which are not under the jurisdiction of any state, and do not have a government established by Congress through an organic act. Citizens of these territories can vote for members of their own local governments, and some can also elect representatives to serve in Congress—though they only have observer status. The unincorporated territories of the U.S. include American Samoa, Baker Island, Howland Island, Jarvis Island, Johnston Atoll, Kingman Reef, Midway Atoll, Navassa Island, Palmyra Atoll, Wake Island, and others. American Samoa is the only territory with a native resident population and is governed by a local authority. Despite the fact that an organic act was not passed in Congress, American Samoa established its own constitution in 1967, and has self governed ever since. Seeking statehoodor independence is often debated in US territories...
Successful participation, especially in federal elections, requires large amounts of money, especially for television advertising. This money is very difficult to raise by appeals to a mass base, although in the 2008 election, candidates from both parties had success with raising money from citizens over the Internet., as had Howard Dean with his Internet appeals. Both parties generally depend on wealthy donors and organizations - traditionally the Democrats depended on donations from organized labor while the Republicans relied on business donations. Since 1984, however, the Democrats' business donations have surpassed those from labor organizations. This dependency on donors is controversial, and has led to laws limiting spending on political campaigns being enacted (see campaign finance reform). Opponents of campaign finance laws cite the First Amendment's guarantee of free speech, and challenge campaign finance laws because they attempt to circu...
The American political culture is deeply rooted in the colonial experience and the American Revolution. The colonies were unique within the European world for their vibrant political culture, which attracted ambitious young men into politics. At the time, American suffrage was the most widespread in the world, with every man who owned a certain amount of property allowed to vote. Despite the fact that fewer than 1% of British men could vote, most white American men were eligible. While the ro...
Republicanism, along with a form of classical liberalism remains the dominant ideology. Central documents include the Declaration of Independence (1776), the Constitution (1787), the Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers (1787-1790s), the Bill of Rights (1791), and Lincoln's "Gettysburg Address"(1863), among others. Among the core tenets of this ideology are the following: 1. Civic duty: citizens have the responsibility to understand and support the government, participate in elections, pay t...
The United States Constitution has never formally addressed the issue of political parties, primarily because the Founding Fathers did not originally intend for American politics to be partisan. In Federalist Papers No. 9 and No. 10, Alexander Hamilton and James Madison, respectively, wrote specifically about the dangers of domestic political factions. In addition, the first president of the United States, George Washington, was not a member of any political party at the time of his election or throughout his tenure as president, and remains to this day the only independent to have held the office. Furthermore, he hoped that political parties would not be formed, fearing conflict and stagnation. Nevertheless, the beginnings of the American two-party systememerged from his immediate circle of advisers, including Hamilton and Madison. In partisan elections, candidates are nominated by a political party or seek public office as an independent. Each state has significant discretion in d...
Special interest groupsadvocate the cause of their specific constituency. Business organizations will favor low corporate taxes and restrictions of the right to strike, whereas labor unions will support minimum wage legislation and protection for collective bargaining. Other private interest groups, such as churches and ethnic groups, are more concerned about broader issues of policy that can affect their organizations or their beliefs. One type of private interest group that has grown in number and influence in recent years is the political action committee or PAC. These are independent groups, organized around a single issue or set of issues, which contribute money to political campaigns for United States Congress or the presidency. PACs are limited in the amounts they can contribute directly to candidates in federal elections. There are no restrictions, however, on the amounts PACs can spend independently to advocate a point of view or to urge the election of candidates to office...
Some views suggest that the political structure of the United States is in many respects an oligarchy, where a small economic elite overwhelmingly determines policy and law.Some academic researchers suggest a drift toward oligarchy has been occurring by way of the influence of corporations, wealthy, and other special interest groups, leaving individual citizens with less impact than economic elites and organized interest groups in the political process. A study by political scientists Martin Gilens (Princeton University) and Benjamin Page (Northwestern University) released in April 2014 suggested that when the preferences of a majority of citizens conflicts with elites, elites tend to prevail. While not characterizing the United States as an "oligarchy" or "plutocracy" outright, Gilens and Page give weight to the idea of a "civil oligarchy" as used by Jeffrey A. Winters, saying, "Winters has posited a comparative theory of 'Oligarchy,' in which the wealthiest citizens – even in a 'c...
Observations of historical trends and current governmental demographics have raised concerns about the equity of political representation in the United States. In particular, scholars have noted that levels of descriptive representation—which refers to when political representatives share demographic backgrounds or characteristics with their constituents—do not match the racial and gender makeup of the US. Descriptive representation is noted to be beneficial because of its symbolic representative benefits as a source of emotional identification with one's representatives. Furthermore, descriptive representation can lead to more substantive and functional representation, as well as greater institutional power, which can result in minority constituents having both representatives with matching policy views and power in the political system. Serving as a congressional committee chair is considered to be a good example of this relationship, as chairs control which issues are addressed b...
People also ask
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- General characteristics
- Physiographic divisions
- Natural disasters
The term "United States", when used in the geographical sense, is the contiguous United States, the state of Alaska, the island state of Hawaii, the five insular territories of Puerto Rico, Northern Mariana Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and American Samoa, and minor outlying possessions. The United States shares land borders with Canada and Mexico and maritime borders with Russia, Cuba, the Bahamas, and other countries, in addition to Canada and Mexico. The northern border of the United St
From 1989 through 1996, the total area of the US was listed as 9,372,610 km2. The listed total area changed to 9,629,091 km2 in 1997, to 9,631,418 km2 in 2004, to 9,631,420 km2 in 2006, and to 9,826,630 km2 in 2007. Currently, the CIA World Factbook gives 9,826,675 km2, the United Nations Statistics Division gives 9,629,091 km2, and the Encyclopædia Britannica gives 9,522,055 km2. These sources consider only the 50 states and the Federal District, and exclude overseas territories. The US ...
The United States shares land borders with Canada and Mexico, and a territorial water border with Russia in the northwest, and two territorial water borders in the southeast between Florida and Cuba, and Florida and the Bahamas. The contiguous forty-eight states are otherwise bounded by the Pacific Ocean on the west, the Atlantic Ocean on the east, and the Gulf of Mexico to the southeast. Alaska borders the Pacific Ocean to the south and southwest, the Bering Strait to the west, and the Arctic O
The eastern United States has a varied topography. A broad, flat coastal plain lines the Atlantic and Gulf shores from the Texas-Mexico border to New York City, and includes the Florida peninsula. This broad coastal plain and barrier islands make up the widest and longest beaches in the United States, much of it composed of soft, white sands. The Florida Keys are a string of coral islands that reach the southernmost city on the United States mainland. Areas further inland feature rolling hills,
Due to its large size and wide range of geographic features, the United States contains examples of nearly every global climate. The climate is subtropical in the Southern United States, tropical in Hawaii and southern Florida, polar in Alaska, semiarid in the Great Plains west of the 100th meridian, Mediterranean in coastal California and arid in the Great Basin and the Southwest. Its comparatively favorable agricultural climate contributed to the country's rise as a world power, with infrequen
The United States is affected by a variety of natural disasters yearly. Although drought is rare, it has occasionally caused major disruption, such as during the Dust Bowl. Farmland failed throughout the Plains, entire regions were virtually depopulated, and dust storms ravaged the land.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Jump to navigation Jump to search. Sub-national administrative divisions overseen by the United States federal government. This article is about the political entities currently (or formerly) called "United States territories".