• Home   /  
  • Archive by category "1"

American Government Essay

American Government Essay

American Government

Each type of government holds different views as to the role the leaders and citizens should perform in their country .Different types of government include, oligarchy where the government is run by the best leaders, Tyranny, where they believe those in power should have complete control over its people. In the United States of America, we believe in democracy, rule by the majority. The main problem with our type of government is maintaining it. Our government and its citizens have lost sight of their roles and responsibilities, in government.

The role of the government in our country is defined in our Constitution as to, "establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity" (the United States Constitution). In essences this is still true today although I feel our government has gotten out of hand. It is not as harsh as Machiavelli's ideas of government where he believes in striking fear in the people and never wavering from thoughts of war. Our government does protect us in many ways. Just as Machiavelli's government, we have a military that is ready to protect and serve us. We are always ready for war. So this is not to say that I believe that our government has completely forgotten its role.

Although we proclaim ourselves as a free country, our government constantly tries to increase the power and authority it holds over us. Our government tries to control almost every aspect of our lives by telling people whom they can or cannot marry, why or even if you can divorce your spouse. The government tries to tell us that it is against the law to do things that we enjoy or things that we believe will improve our lives. For example, to end a pregnancy or to enjoy marijuana is against the law, the list goes on and on. Although I myself do not wish to participate in theses activities, I do not think that is my duty or that of the governments to tell others that they cannot do these things. The government is crossing the line from being a democracy to becoming a combination of Oligarchy and Tyranny type government by telling its people what they can and cannot do in their private lives.

The private citizens seem to have lost sight of their role in government as well. The people have forgotten that they are just as part of the government as the people that hold positions in office. Citizens of this country sit around and complain about what the governments does or doesn't do. They complain about the government running their lives. What they seem to have forgotten is, they have elected theses people....

Loading: Checking Spelling

0%

Read more

Immigration in the American Government Essay

1999 words - 8 pages As a new election year approaches, illegal immigration has been at the forefront of media coverage and has provoked strong feelings and opinions from many voters as well-as politicians. In his book, Reefer Madness, Eric Schlosser, correspondent for the Atlantic Monthly, notes that "The state's [California] recruitment of illegals from Mexico started a trend...

Changing the Structure of American Government

1186 words - 5 pages Aligning the elections of the House, Senate, and Presidency of the United States government appears the most suitable choice in any radical amendment to the structure of our government. The aligning of elections enables our government to (eventually) change drastically, without creating drastic repercussions; the first baby step to a unicameral-parliamentary government. By aligning these elections, access points of power are not changed, but...

Modern perspective of American government and politics.

1555 words - 6 pages Politics play a vital role in the decisions, policies, and procedures of contemporary American government. Although the hierarchal levels of government differ in size and authority, their political roles are similar. In dealing with the United States' current concerns, all levels of government are constantly under pressure and must improvise accordingly. Indeed,...

Change in the power of american government

802 words - 3 pages Lee MolitorisWhen the Constitution was first written during the Revolutionary war, the founding fathers did not know that different people would have different views on interpreting the Constitution. The founding fathers, such as Washington and Adams, were afraid of a central federalized power because of Great Britain. So they were for states rights. Washington did not know that other Presidents such as Jefferson, or Polk would nearly...

Success of Communist Ideas in American Government

1624 words - 6 pages The Success of Communist Ideas in American Government      Ever since the beginning of the Cold War, Americans have held the word "Communism" to have many negative connotations. Our country has been focused on preventing the spread of that evil form of government. Wars were fought in foreign lands; American lives were lost protecting the world from Communism. Many Americans would be horrified, then, to find that the righteous system...

Privacy: The Government vs the American People

2301 words - 9 pages The term “privacy” as defined by the Oxford English Dictionary is “a state in which one is not observed or disturbed by other people”. The word not is the key message in that definition. As written by the 4th amendment, every U.S. citizen has the right to his or her own possessions and lifestyles unless there is enough probable cause for this right to be broken. “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and...

Contributions of Athens and Rome to Modern American Government

1456 words - 6 pages Many factors have contributed to the formulation and construction of modern-day American government. Among these factors, some ancient governments such as Athens and Rome have contributed ideas and structures. Although many differences exist between these ancient governments and America, there are still many similarities. The governments of Athens, Rome, and America have many differences, although Athens and Rome contributed many ideas to the...

American government study guide-Some have the answers, some don't.

1245 words - 5 pages Direct Democracy-Procedures such as the initiative, the referendum, and the recall, by which voters can have a direct impact on policy making and the political process by means of the voting booth.Representative democracy-A basic principle of traditional democratic theory that describes the relationship between the few leaders and the many...

Native American Rights, Federal Government Plenary Power and Land Takings

5441 words - 22 pages Native American Rights, Federal Government Plenary Power and Land Takings Abstract Native Americans are entitled to the same Constitutional protections that guard other citizens from federal government infringement. Plenary power and the accompanying seizure and use of indigenous land bases have violated the rights of Native Americans and demonstrated the inability of the federal government to manage Indian affairs. The United States should...

For whose benefit is the American government run?

2725 words - 11 pages For Whose Benefit?The question of whose benefit the American government is run for, the few big interests or the common good, is not a simple question to answer. There is no straightforward answer because much like the running of the American government itself, all the actions...

Party Politics: An Analysis on Factions in American Government

1366 words - 5 pages A key issue raised by the Federalists in their campaign for the ratification of the U.S. Constitution, and by the Anti-Federalists in their campaign against it, was that of factions. In The Federalist No. 10, “The Utility of the Union as a Safeguard Against Domestic Faction and Insurrection,” James Madison defines the dangers of factions and elaborates on the effectiveness of a large, representative democracy in dealing with them. In Essay No. 3,...

Essay/Term paper: Us government - checks and balances

Essay, term paper, research paper:  American History

See all college papers and term papers on American History

Need a different (custom) essay on American History? Buy a custom essay on American History

Need a custom research paper on American History? Click here to buy a custom term paper.

"There is no more important function for all of government to define the rights of its citizens." (Norman Dorsen)



In this essay I will give a short history of the government in United States of America (U.S.). Then I will describe each of the three branches of government in the U.S. and the relationship between them.

In principle, the U.S. is a democratic republic, they govern themselves by choosing their leaders by secret ballot, and these leaders in turn make the rules. Americans started "governing themselves" as a nation on July 4th, 1776, when the Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia by representatives of the thirteen British colonies in North America. These states joined together formally in 1781 under a first "constitution," the Articles of Confederation. That loose union of the states was replaced by the Constitution of the U.S. in 1789. This document (amended 26 times) is still the political foundation of the U.S. Being based on a written constitution, the U.S. government is committed in principle to the rule of law. To guarantee the rights of free speech, a free press, freedom of religion etc. the first ten amendments, called the "Bill of Rights" were adopted in 1791.

There are three levels of government in the U.S. Local government (city/county), state government, and federal government. Here I will pay most attention to the federal government. Many of the concepts of the U.S. government can be traced to progressive thinkers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, e.g. Locke, Spinoza, Blackstone, and Montesquiueu. Out of some of their thoughts the U.S. government system with the three branches were made: A legislative branch (Congress), an Executive branch (President), and a judicial branch (Supreme Court). The Constitution is most of all a document of checks and balances: among the three branches of the federal government; and between the levels of government, nation and state.

The legislative branch (Congress) that has the power to make laws valid for the whole country. Powers like the regulation of taxes, regulation of commerce between the states and with foreign countries, the power to declare war, and the power to impeach the President are some of the other matters the legislative branch have to deal with. Congress has two chambers (or "houses"): the Senate and the House of Representatives ("the house"). The Senate consists of one hundred senators: Two senators from each of the fifty states. The senators serve for six-year terms. One third are elected every two years. The Senate's area of responsibility consists of to approve major presidential appointments, and approve major foreign policy steps. The House of Representatives has their 435 members (called "congress-men/women/people/persons") chosen from districts (the U.S. is divided into 435 districts containing some five hundred thousand inhabitants). The districts are reapportioned every ten years. The representatives serve in two-year terms, and all of them are elected every two years. All tax legislation must start in the House.

Executive power is vested in the office of the President of the U.S. The President has the dual role of being the chief of state and the head of government. The President is also commander in chief of the armed forces; he issues executive orders, and appoints Supreme Court justices (with senate approval). The president is also called "the chief legislator" because he/she indirectly proposes many bills, considers all bills from Congress and signs them into law or vetoes them. The President is elected by "the whole country" for four years. He/she is assisted by the Cabinet and its departments, the White House staff, and some independent administrative agencies.

The Supreme Court: "The Judicial power of the U.S. shall be vested in one supreme court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress from time to time may ordain an establish."(The Constitution states). All nine federal judges are appointed by the President and serve "during good behaviour," usually meaning for life. The judges cannot be removed from office except for criminal behaviour or malfeasance. This makes them less vulnerable to political pressure than they would be if they had to depend upon politicians or the voters for new mandates. The main feature of the independent role for the courts lies in their power to interpret the Constitution. They review the "constitutionality" of laws and executive orders. The number of justices is decided by Congress, and they can be impeached by congress. There are also Inferior Courts: One hundred District Courts and thirteen Courts of Appeals, all of them are created by Congress, with judges appointed by the President (with Senate approval). All federal courts hear cases involving federal law, involving state laws whose constitutionally is changed, involving the U.S., involving two separate states, and involving citizens of different states.

Having presented the three branches of U.S. government in broad strokes, I will now turn in to how the separation of powers is designed to work. The system of government is commonly referred to as "the system of checks and balances". It is designed to work so as to avoid placing too much power in too few hands.

The most powerful tool Congress has (most important "checks" on the power of the President) is the power to appropriate money (set aside money for some specific purpose). After both houses of Congress have approved the budget, it is sent over to the President. He/she has to sign the bill into law. Another major check on the power of the President is the Senate's power of advice and consent. The President is obliged to ask for the advice and consent of the Senate on all major appointments (e.g. members of the president's Cabinet, new justices of the Supreme Court, other federal judges, and members of administrative or regulatory agencies) and major foreign policy decisions he/she makes (e.g. when it concerns treaties). To declare war, the President must turn to both houses of Congress for their approval.

The president's major countervailing power in the legislative process is the power of the veto. The President must sign any proposed legislation before it becomes law; his failure or refusal to do so can thus stop any bill. If the President returns a bill to Congress with a veto on it, the legislature has the power to override the President's veto by re-passing the legislation by a two-thirds majority in both houses. Then the bill becomes law without the President's signature. (If the President does not wish to be associated with a bill but does not feel that it is worthwhile to prevent it from becoming law, he can demonstrate this by using a so-called pocket veto: he/she simply lets it lie on his/her desk for ten days without signing it or vetoing it, in which case it becomes law without the President's signature.)

The Congress has the power to impeach the President. (A complex matter that involves the House of Representatives and its Judicial Committee or a special ad hoc committee, the Senate, the Chief Justice of the U.S. (the Supreme Court))

Turning to the relationship between Congress and the Supreme Court, we find that Congress has the power to determine the construction of the Court (and its inferior courts). As mentioned before, the Congress has some say in whom will sit on the Supreme Court bench, in that nominations made by the President must be approved by the Senate.

I have already touched the "checks" between the Supreme Court and the President. Just as the President may be impeached by the Congress, so may justices of the Supreme Court (indeed, all civil officials, except members of Congress) be removed from office by impeachment.

The single countervailing "arrow" of power aimed at Congress by the Supreme Court is the comprehensive power of judicial review (As mentioned earlier on in the paragraph about the Supreme Court). This review of laws by the courts is not an "automatic" part of the legislative process, but the specific laws have to be brought before the courts for a decision about their constitutionality. If Congress finds that the Supreme Court has interpreted the Constitution in a way which disagrees with its own fundamental views (or for any other reason), then Congress can initiate the process of amending the Constitution. A majority of two thirds of both houses of Congress must pass the amendment. As soon as three quarters of the states (thirty-eight of them) have ratified the proposed amendment it becomes a part of the Constitution.

In all these ways the Constitution checks the unrestricted exercise of power by each branch and balances of the powers of the branches against each other.



Sources:

T. Sirevåg, American patterns, Ad Notam Gyldendal, Oslo

D. May and J. Oakland, American civilization, Routledge, London/New York

B. O'Callaghan, An Illustrated History of the USA, Longman, Essex

G. T. Kurian, A Historical Guide to the U.S. Government, Oxford University Press, New York/Oxford

L. Berlowitz, D. Donoghue, and L. Menand, America in theory, Oxford University Press, New York/Oxford

D. J. Boorstin, The Americans, The Democratic Experience, Random House, New York

D. S. MacQueen, American Social Studies, Studentlitteratur, Lund

Encyclopædia Britannica (http:/www.britannica.com)

 

Other sample model essays:

American History / US History

For a country as powerful as the United States, there comes a responsibility to protect its allies, neighbors, and supremely itself. However, there are times when this sense of responsibility mislead...

History / Victorian England

The Victorian era, from the coronation of Queen Victoria in 1837 until her death in 1901, was an era of several unsettling social developments that forced writers more than ever before to...

American History / Vietnam

The trials and tribulations the soldiers faced at home were far worse than any battle they fought while in Vietnam. No one seemed to fully understand what these men had went through. They cam...

American History / Vietnamization (Real Version)

Vietnam Controversy It"s January 27th, 1973 and the Vietnam War is over. Peace agreements were signed in Paris by the South Vietnam Communist forces, North Vietnam, South Vietnam and the Unite...

American History / Vietnam And Gulf War

"No new taxes." This is a quote that most all of us remember from the 1992 presidential election. Along with it we remember that there were new taxes during that presidents term in ...

American History / Vietnam War

The very mention of the name Vietnam in the 1960s and '70s came to signify either a brutal jungle war or a spectacular failure of American power - or both. Thankfully, the combined legacies o...

History / Vikings

The Viking age has long been associated with unbridled piracy, when freebooters swarmed out of the northlands in their longships to burn and pillage their way across civilized Europe. Modern schola...

History / Virginians And The Puritans

The Virginians were better off than the Puritans were, because they had tobacco for a cash crop, they had a longer growing season, and they could trade and sell to England easier than the Pur...

History / Voltaire's Candide Through My Present Day View

The world as I see it is not perfect. In this present day and age there are some people that like to believe that god created a beautiful planet, but I believe the devil should receive some credi...

History / Wars Between Spain And France

The wars between England and Spain was a shifting of power in Europe. A cause of the wars was the imprisonment and execution of Mary Stuart Queen of Scots. The Netherlands wanting to break aw...

One thought on “American Government Essay

Leave a comment

L'indirizzo email non verrà pubblicato. I campi obbligatori sono contrassegnati *