The political system of the USA
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The United States of America is a federal republic, which consists of fifty states and the District of Columbia. Each state has its own government, laws, customs, education, taxes, traffic regulations, etc. The federal government is responsible only for matters concerning the country as a whole: foreign affairs, defense and finance.
Each state government has to keep to the Constitution, which was officially adopted in 1790 by the original 13 states. The Bill of Rights was added in 1791 and other 26 amendments have been added over the years, but the political system created by the Constitution is basically the same today as it was in 1790. The document guarantees freedom of religion, free speech, free press, the right of citizens to bear arms and so on. It gave the USA the principle of a balanced power divided into three branches – legislative, executive and judicial.
The supreme law-making body in the country is the Congress. Its seat is in the Capitol in Washington, D. C. It consists of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The number of Representatives from each state is based upon its population. A Senator is elected for six years, a Representative for two years. The main task of the Congress is to make federal laws, declare war and deal with foreign treaties.
At the head of the executive power is the President. He is chosen, together with his Vice-President, in nationwide elections every four years. His powers are even wider than those of the British Prime Minister. He proposes bills, can veto or refuse a law, appoints federal judges, ministers, who are called Secretaries, and ambassadors. His Cabinet consists of 13 Secretaries who are in charge of 13 departments. The most important among them are Departments of State, Treasury, Defense, Justice and Interior. The Vice-president is the chairman of the Senate. The two leading parties are the Democrats and the Republicans.
The Supreme Court is the main instrument of the federal judiciary. It watches the President and congress and determines whether their acts and laws are in accordance with the Constitution.
The American flag was first adopted in 1777. It is sometimes called „Stars and Stripes“.