2 Political SystemThe USA is a Democracy - ideology which allows people freedom of speech, right to vote for different political parties if over 18.The Constitution set out 3 different branches of government – President, Congress & Supreme Court.Separation of powers designed to stop any one branch or part of government becoming too powerful.
3 Government - 3 branches The Executive (The President) The Legislature THE TRIANGLEOF POWER(A system of checks and balances on power)The Legislature(Congress)The Judiciary (Supreme Court)
4 Separation of PowersAmericans feel that there are dangers for the people if the 3 branches of government are concentrated in the hands of one person.In the US Constitution each branch of government was kept separate from the others.
5 The President The President must be a born American & be aged 35+. The President is elected by direct vote of the people in each state.The job of the President is to suggest ways to run the country (i.e. suggesting tax levels, immigration etc).
6 Congress CONGRESS HAS 2 HOUSES: 435 members 1. THE SENATE 2. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES435 membersNumber depends on the size of the population in each state.States with large populations have more representatives.Congressmen elected for 2-year term1. THE SENATE100 members (X2 senators per state)Senators are elected for a term of 6 years
7 CongressThe job of Congress is to decide on which of the President’s suggestions for running the country should go ahead.
8 SOMETIMES CALLED THE ‘WATCHDOG OF THE CONSTITUTION’ The Supreme CourtSOMETIMES CALLED THE ‘WATCHDOG OF THE CONSTITUTION’Highest Judicial Power in the land and consists of judges.Main task - to overlook the political system to see that all laws operate in the interests of the American people and not harm their rights and freedoms as guaranteed by the Constitution.Has full weight of law and can “throw out” any measures contrary to the American Constitution.
9 Checks & BalancesTo make sure that no single branch of government becomes too powerful, a system of ‘checks and balances’ is built in.President suggests most laws but Congress must pass them.Congress can pass laws but the Supreme Court must approve them.President can appoint new Supreme Court judge but Congress must approve the appointment.The timing of the elections was arranged so that the electorate could quickly change the balance of power should any group become dominant.
10 Checks & Balances: Passing a Law President proposes the law.The Congress must pass the law.The President must sign the law.It then becomes law.... BUT if it is challenged...The Supreme Court will decide if it is constitutional or unconstitutional.President Obama proposed an economic stimulus package to deal with the Credit Crunch.Congress passed it e.g. Senate vote wasEconomic stimulus package was first piece of legislation signed by President Obama.Unlikely to be challenged in Supreme Court.