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US Government Guide

US Government Guide
This article contains a useful US
Government guide with simple definitions of many of the terms used when studying the US Government, Constitution and the US Bill of Rights. The facts and info on this page answers the question "How Does the Government Work?"

The Government and the Constitution
Articles of Confederation was the first US Constitution and the basis of the  National  government that was used during the American War of Independence. When the US gained independence from Great Britain the Founding Fathers designed and established the new Government of the United States and a new constitution in 1787. The purpose of the new Constitution was to describe how the US government would be organized, how government officials would be chosen, and what rights the new central government would guarantee to its citizens.

US Government

Constitution Home

US Government Guide - The 7 Principles of Government
The men who shaped the US Government and Constitution were well educated men with knowledge of politics, the law, colonial and state government. These were the men who discussed political philosophies and agreed the 7 Principles of the Constitution. Their experience with the British made them very clear on what they did not want. Agreeing the basic principles of government and the new constitution would allow them to design a government that would be fair. They also needed to define the role of the central government and the role of the individual states. Their 7 Principles were based on the following ideas:

  • Rule by the people, not a king

  • The right to vote for representatives to speak for them

  • Personal freedoms and individual rights

  • Limited government in which everyone is bound by the US Constitution

  • Power is shared between the national and state governments

  • Separation of powers into branches that make, enforce or interpret laws

  • Controls (checks and balances) between branches

US Government Guide - The 3 Branches
In their new central government, their would be no powerful monarch. The Constitution would be the 'Supreme Law'. The Founding Fathers wanted to prevent a concentration of power in one government official or in one government office. They therefore divided the government into three separate branches (Executive, Legislative and Judicial).
This idea extended to include the State Governments. Every state has its own constitution and every state also has the same three separate branches. There is a system of 'Checks and Balances' at both Federal (National) and state level to ensure the balance of power and limit opportunities to abuse power.

US Government Guide - The Legislative, Executive and Judicial Branches
The Legislative, Executive and Judicial Branches have different  functions consist of


Legislative Branch
US Capitol Building
The US Capitol
Legislative Branch
Senate & House of Representatives
Library of Congress

Executive Branch
White House
The White House
Executive Branch
Vice President
Executive Office of President
Independent Agencies
Post Office, CIA,
Environment Protection Agency

Judicial Branch
Supreme Court
The Supreme Court
Judicial Branch
Supreme Court
Lower Courts
State Courts
Tax Court
Courts of Appeal

US Government Guide to Federalism - National (Federal), State and Local Government
he system of government in the United States is called "Federalism" which consists of a structure of shared, distributed power that is divided between federal (national), state and local government. The American people elect officials to serve in the Federal and State Government.

US Government Guide: Glossary of Terms
The following  US Government Glossary of terms contains common words associated with the US, helpful for kids and children studying the US Government.

US Government Guide: Glossary of Terms

Adjourn: To close or end a meeting or session

Amendment: A change to the Constitution

Articles of Confederation: The first national constitution of the US

Appropriation: A bill providing funding for authorized federal program

Bicameral: A two-tier system - A legislature with two houses

Bill: A proposed law

Bill of Rights: The first ten amendments to the Constitution

Capitol: The building in which state legislative bodies meet.

Congress: Congress is an assembly of representatives.

Congress: Congress is made up of two Chambers: the House of Representative and the Senate.

Constitution: A set of laws and rules establishing the government

Democracy: Rule by the people

Federalism: A system of government in which power is shared by national and state governments.

Framers: The men who wrote the Constitution

Government: The organization of power within a country

Governor: The chief executive of a state

Legislator: A person who makes laws

Legislature: The group that has the power to make laws

Senate: A governing body - Congress

Senator: A member of the Senate

Veto: The rejection of a bill by the President

US Government Guide: Video of the US Presidents
The US Government Guide provides a fast overview of the key facts and trivia about the US Government of the United States. The following President of the USA video enables you to sit back and listen to the history of the personal and political lives of all the President of the USA - a useful educational resource for kids, children and schools learning about the Presidents of the United States of America. Facts and info.

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