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Presidential government is a form of government whereby an individual is endorsed by the

public to have power over the whole government and state. He or she thus has the power to
reorganize the government by making key appointments among other major decisions.

Our federal government has three parts. They are the Executive, (President and about 5,000,000
workers) Legislative (Senate and House of Representatives) and Judicial (Supreme Court and lower
The President of the United States administers the Executive Branch of our government. He enforces
the laws that theLegislative Branch (Congress) makes. The President is elected by United States
citizens, 18 years of age and older, who vote in the presidential elections in their states. These votes are
tallied by states and form the Electoral College system. States have the number of electoral votes which
equal the number of senators and representatives they have. It is possible to have the most popular votes
throughout the nation and NOT win the electoral vote of the Electoral College.
The Legislative part of our government is called Congress. Congress makes our laws. Congress is
divided into 2 parts. One part is called the Senate. There are 100 Senators--2 from each of our states.
Another part is called the House of Representatives. Representatives meet together to discuss ideas and
decide if these ideas (bills) should become laws. There are 435 Representatives. The number of
representatives each state gets is determined by its population. Some states have just 2 representatives.
Others have as many as 40. Both senators and representatives are elected by the eligible voters in their
The Judicial part of our federal government includes the Supreme Court and 9 Justices. They are
special judges who interpret laws according to the Constitution. These justices only hear cases that
pertain to issues related to the Constitution. They are the highest court in our country. The federal judicial
system also has lower courts located in each state to hear cases involving federal issues.
All three parts of our federal government have their main headquarters in the city of Washington D.C.

The executive branch of the United States government consists of the president, the vice president
and 15 Cabinet-level executive departments.
The president is elected every four years, and chooses his vice president as a running mate. The
president is the commander-in-chief of the U.S. Armed Forces and is essentially the leader of the
country. As such, he must deliver a State of the Union address to Congress once each year; may
recommend legislation to Congress; may convene Congress; has the power to appoint ambassadors to
other nations; can appoint Supreme Court justices and other federal judges; and is expected, with his
Cabinet and its agencies, to carry out and enforce the laws of the United States.
The vice president, who also is a member of theCabinet, serves as president in the event that the
president is unable to do so for any reason or if the president steps down. The vice president also
presides over the Senate and can cast a deciding vote in the event of a tie.

Fifteen cabinet members are appointed by the president after he is elected to run the government's
executive departments; the Senate must approve all appointments. The Cabinet includes:

The Department of Agriculture, among other functions, ensures that the food Americans consume is safe and regulates the

nation's vast farming infrastructure.

The Department of Commerce helps regulate trade, banking and the economy; among its agencies are the Census Bureau

and the Patent and Trademark Office.

The Department of Defense, which includes the U.S. Armed Forces, protects the nation's security and is headquartered at

the Pentagon.
The Department of Education is responsible for ensuring equal access to a quality education for all.
The Department of Energy keeps the U.S. plugged in, regulating utilities, ensuring the security of power supplies and
promoting new technology to conserve energy resources.

Health and Human Services helps keep Americans healthy; its agencies include the Food and Drug Administration, the
Centers for Disease Control, National Institutes of Health and the Administration on Aging.

The Department of Homeland Security, established in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, is charged with preventing terrorist
attacks in the U.S. and helping to fight the war on terror and includes the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

Housing and Urban Development promotes affordable home-ownership and ensures that no one is discriminated against in
the pursuit of that goal.

Interior is dedicated to protecting and nurturing natural resources, national parks and wildlife. Among its agencies are the
Fish and Wildlife Service and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Justice, led by the Attorney General, enforces the nation's laws and includes, among other agencies, the Federal Bureau of
Prisons, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

The Department of Labor enforces labor laws and keeps workers' safety and rights protected.
State is charged with diplomacy; its representatives reflect the United States as part of the world community.

Treasury ensures the country's financial and economic stability, manages federal finances and collects taxes.

The Department of Transportation established the Interstate Highway System and keeps the U.S. transportation
infrastructure safe and functioning.

Three Branches of Government

The Constitution calls for a system of separation of powers in which three branches of government can check and
balance each other. Those three branches are the executive branch which includes the president, the legislative
branch which includes Congress, and the judicial branch which includes the Supreme Court. The men who wrote the
Constitution spread the powers of government among these three branches to keep any one branch of government
from becoming too powerful. Each branch performs separate functions and checks the other branch's functions in
different ways.
The legislative branch is made up of the Congress which is the House of Representatives and the Senate. Its job is to
make the laws. Congress also decides on who and what to tax and how to use tax money. Each house of Congress
meets separately. However, they can come together for joint sessions.
The executive branch includes the president of the United States, the vice president, and the major departments of
the government such as the Labor Department, Department of Defense, State Department, Treasury Department,
etc. Each department has a leader, appointed by the president. Together, all the leaders, along with the president,
vice president, and a few other people, make up the cabinet. The job of the executive branch is to enforce the laws.

The judicial branch branch is made up of the Supreme Court and other courts, and its job is to interpret the laws.
By triple-checking everything, government is more likely to represent the needs of more people. The public also is
part of the system of checks and balances. If citizens aren't satisfied with an official, they can choose to not reelect
him or her.
Sample some of the following activities to learn more about the three branches of the United States government.

The Three Branches of Government

Delegates at the Constitutional Convention also wanted to divide power within the
federal government. They did not want these powers to be controlled by just one
man or one group. The delegates were afraid that if a small group received too
much power, the United States would wind up under the rule of another dictator or

judicial branch.

To avoid the risk of dictatorship or tyranny, the group divided the new government
into three parts, or branches: the executive branch, the legislative branch, and the

Executive Branch:Headed by the president. The

president carries out federal laws and recommends new
ones, directs national defense and foreign policy, and
performs ceremonial duties. Powers include directing government,
commanding the Armed Forces, dealing with international powers,
acting as chief law enforcement officer, and vetoing laws.
Legislative Branch:Headed by Congress, which includes
the House of Representatives and the Senate. The main
task of these two bodies is to make the laws. Its powers
include passing laws, originating spending bills (House), impeaching
officials (Senate), and approving treaties (Senate).
Judicial Branch:Headed by the Supreme Court. Its
powers include interpreting the Constitution, reviewing
laws, and deciding cases involving states' rights.