U.S. Government

The government of the United States is a very complex condition. It was designed to try to create an environment of what is called “checks and balances” so that no particular side would have more power over another; and all would have the ability to have their voices heard and decisions made by those that didn’t have a political agenda of influence.

The various branches of government each carry some of the power but some may overrule others.

The Origins of Government

The founders of the U.S. had learned much from the various government types throughout history.

They then created the First Continental Congress as the first step to show the desire for independence, but it took the Second Continental Congress of July 4, 1776 to make the declaration of independence away from the British Empire.

At that time, the Declaration of Independence was written and included that all people shall have “certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

This was the cornerstone of belief of the government and these and other rights are guaranteed in the Bill of Rights, which include the first ten amendments to the Constitution.

As time passed, additional amendments have been added as improvements for the rights of people which included voting rights and the abolishment of slavery.

The Constitution: The Base of the Government

It took a few years for the Constitution to be completely ratified or “agreed upon”, and this happened in 1788. The constitution became and continues to be the highest form of law in the U.S. and it is the foundation used for the federal government and the framework for all laws and decisions that are passed.

A major portion of the Constitution is to define that the government is made up of three different branches. They include: The Executive Branch, which is the President of the United States and his Cabinet; the Congress, which is the House and the Senate; and the Judicial Branch, which is the Supreme Court.

It was assumed that by creating three branches, it would offer a balance for logic and decisions.

Power and Balance

The voting process in the U.S. has not always involved two specific political parties.

To avoid giving the President so much power that there was a chance to overtake the government, the President is given some power over the other two branches through the option of “veto” as well as the ability to appoint judges to the Supreme Court. In turn, Congress has the option of creating laws, and in specific cases, can remove the President from office through various levels of impeachment.

Congress also has the ability to approve or reject the President’s nominations for the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is supposed to be made up of individuals that are non-partisan or “non-political” so that they can have the final say in court cases or even declare some laws as unconstitutional.

All of these conditions are based on the assumption that one political party would not be in control of all of the branches of government. To have that situation happen would be similar to a government takeover as only one side would be in control.

Most Fascinating Information about the U.S. Government:

  • Until post American Civil War, the American political system struggled with many different parties for voting and control. It wasn’t until 1868 that the two-party system arose with the establishment of The Grand Old Party (GOP), commonly known as Republicans or conservatives.
  • People that try to influence the voting of various branches of government are known as “lobbyists.” It is thought that the name originated at the Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C. where President Ulysses S. Grant used to go in the evenings to have a moment of quiet. Those that wanted to influence his decisions would show up in the lobby to talk to him.
  • The creation of the Declaration of Independence was considered to be treason against the British Crown. The signatures on original created copy only included Charles Thomson, secretary of the Continental Congress, and John Hancock, who could have been sent to jail or killed by the British. It took six weeks for the rest of the people to sign the Declaration of Independence.
  • Many bills are introduced by members of Congress and those that benefit their own home states or those individuals that have beneficial arrangements with them are referred to as “Pork barrel.” The term relates to the post-Civil War era when owners of plantations would take salt port from barrels to give as a treat to their slaves.