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The governmental systems in the United States - federal, state, and local - are quite easy to understand, that is, if you grew up with them and studied them at school. One foreign expert complained, for example, that the complexity of just the cities' political and governmental structure is "almost unbelievable." The "real Chicago," he explained ", spreads over 2 states, 6 counties, 10 towns, 30 cities, 49 townships, and 110 villages. Overlaid upon this complex pattern are 235 tax districts and more than 400 school districts..."

There are, however, several basic principles which are found at all levels of American government. One of these is the "one person, one vote" principle which says that legislators are elected from geographical districts directly by the voters. Under this principle, all election districts must have about the same number of residents.

Another fundamental principle of American government is that because of the system of checks and balances, compromise in politics is a matter of necessity, not choice. For example, the House of Representatives controls spending and finance, so the President must have its agreement for his proposals and programmes. He cannot declare war, either, without the approval of Congress. In foreign affairs, he is also strongly limited. Any treaty must first be approved by the Senate. If there is no approval, there's no treaty. The rule is "the President proposes, but Congress disposes." What a President wants to do, therefore, is often a different thing from what a President is able to do.

IT IS IMPORTANT TO KNOW? The federal government is the national government of the US. The Constitution of the United States limits the power of the federal government to defence, foreign affairs, printing money controlling trade and relations between the states, and protecting human rights. The federal government is made up of Congress, the President, and the Supreme Court.


Comprehension questions:

1. What are the basic principles which are found at all levels of American government?

2. How do you understand the saying: “The President proposes, but Congress disposes”?

3. What powers does the federal government posess?

4. What does the federal government consist of?



Date: 2015-01-12; view: 2521

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