U.S. Government the United States Democracy Term Paper

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U.S. Government

The United States democracy and government can be considered to be one of the most important political structures of the modern times. From the point-of-view of the principles it entangles, it is created according to the 18th century Constitution which, aside from some amendments, has maintained its basic elements which defines to this day the American government.

The present paper assesses the main structures of the executive branch in terms of institutions and positions of decision inside the administration. There have been wide debates in terms of the way in which the American government is able to adjust its mechanisms to the increased issues of security and national threats. From this point-of-view, the paper analyses the reforms that have been undertaken in order to insure a proper response to the aspects of terrorist threats and challenges.

The American constitution has clearly separated the powers in the state according to democratic principles. In this sense, the constitution provides the distinction between the executive, legislative, and judicial powers

. The role of the president is marked in the Executive branch, an aspect which makes the president the most important person in the state.

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The legislative branch is represented by the U.S. Congress, which, in terms of the process of election, is viewed as a representative body. Indeed, the U.S. Congress is, by comparison, similar to European parliaments in the sense that the representativeness of the elected officials provides sufficient legitimacy for legislating, promoting, conducting foreign policy, among other tasks. What is special about the U.S. Congress is its prerogatives in terms of controlling the executive power. These prerogatives have been widely used in cases such as the Iraq war, as the latest example. Also, the process of impeachment has been used throughout the history of the U.S. In order to hold the President accountable in front of the electorate and the voting poll.

TOPIC: Term Paper on U.S. Government the United States Democracy and Assignment

The judicial power is represented by the judicial system with the Supreme Court the highest authority in the system. The system in itself is spread around the country with positive reach in terms of authority and case resolution. This is an important aspect of the structure of the state because it offers legal framework for both civil and criminal offenses.

However, the most visible branch in the administration is the executive power. According to the Constitution, the president of the United States embodies the executive power as article II, section one of the Constitution points out: "The executive Power shall be vested in President of the United States of America. He shall hold his office during the term of four years and together with the vice president chosen for the same term, be elected as follows: each state shall appoint in such manner as the legislature thereof may direct, a number of electors, equal to the whole number of senators and representatives to which the state is entitled in the Congress, but no senator or representative, or person holding an office of trust or profit under the United States shall be appointed an elector"

The Constitution is from this point-of-view the most important source of information in terms of the powers and attributions of the president. It is the sole source legitimated by hundreds of years of democratic experience and is from this point-of-view the single most important document to be studied in reference to the prerogatives of the president. As seen in the passage above, the drafters of the Constitution clearly underlined the separation of powers, not necessarily from the point-of-view of the executive, legislative, or judicial one, but rather from the consideration of the conflict of interests. In this sense, it is clear that given the mechanisms of the presidential elections, at least theoretically, the president should be elected by fully independent forces, with no connection of partisanship in terms of economic or potentially financial gains. This is an important aspect to underline because, at least at the theoretical level, it offers a sense of impartiality and provides a greater legitimacy to the election process.

The Constitution is also the one to provide the duties and responsibilities of the president. In this sense, "the president shall be the Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States (...) he shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided that two thirds of the senators present concur (...)"

. The present attributions do not differ to a large extent from other constitutions. In the European democracies, these attributions are similar and are respected accordingly.

The government of the U.S. however represents indeed an interesting construction because it is a federal mechanism. This implies a different framework for action split at the level of the federal and state government. This framework is important because it is tailored for the actual necessities of the state as a federal construction.

The three branches of the federal government, the legislative, the executive, and the judicial one are essentially constructed with due regard to the federal nature of the state. From this point-of-view, there is a certain degree of subsidiarity at the level of the states. A similar model was adopted at the moment of the drafting of the European Union structure. More precisely, the model represents for most of the federal states a successful one particularly because it offers a sense of freedom in terms of federal and state laws. In this case, for instance, while the people of Texas do agree with the death penalty, those of California do not. In a federal state, both can apply in the two different states because the states can choose in these matters. Similarly, the European Union, aiming to eventually become a federative structure, according to the most optimistic Europeans, allow the most important laws to be decided upon at the Brussels headquarters, while the member states do decide on their internal regulations according to their national laws. This is an important aspect especially for the United States, because this legal and administrative structure allows the states to retain their specificities and historical experiences while being part of an "ever closer Union" as former president Abraham Lincoln mentioned in the 18th century.

The executive branch of the United States government is as mentioned previously, headed by the president of the State. However, he delegates his attributions to his cabinet. This is comprised of 15 executive departments, which include the department for agriculture, commerce, education, defense, energy, health and human services, homeland security, housing, justice, labor, interior, treasury, transportation, veteran affairs

. However, probably the most important is the State Department which is in charge of the diplomatic processes of the United States. Better said, the State Department is responsible in assisting the President to conduct a well established and documented foreign policy.

The role of the State Department is crucial for the well being of the country's foreign policy. Aside from the fact that the Secretary of State is the fourth person in the state, after the President, and the vice president, its roles go beyond a simple formal stand. More precisely, "State's mission involves maintaining American leadership in the world. It carries out this mission by negotiation, trade pacts, and cultural exchanges. The centers of the department's activities overseas are its embassies, consulates, and other missions. Embassies are considered to be sovereign U.S. territory, and are protected by the United States Marine Corps"

. There are traditional missions executed by the ministry of foreign affairs in other countries around the world. However, the role of the State Secretary as a close adviser to the president is crucial because it ensures a proper communication between the line structure clearly in charge of foreign policy and the head of the administration of the United States, the President.

The role of the State Secretary is widely known throughout the world. Some of the most impressive actions undergone in the history of the United States in the last century have been the result of increased action from the State Secretary. One proper example in this sense would be the shuttle diplomacy achieved during the presidency of Richard Nixon which eventually unblocked the relations between China and the U.S. The Secretary of State at the time was Henry Kissinger who was considered one of the most professional and remarkable men of his time. The strategy of the shuttle diplomacy was crucial for the way in which the relations between China, the U.S. And the U.S.S.R. would develop for the remaining part of the Cold War. From this perspective, the State Department's consideration of foreign relations was clearly led by the Secretary of State Kissinger who envisaged a foreign policy with a triangular structure

. More precisely, Kissinger considered that being closer to China, one of the most important rivals of communist Russia during the Cold War, would also determine a better relation with Russia as well.

Another aspect of the Cold War foreign policy is related to the way in which the State Secretary Kissinger… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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