You are on page 1of 65

GOVERNMENT AND

POLITICS IN THE USA


LECTURER: HONG THI PHUONG ANH
The Constitution (1788)
• The Constitution, originally consisting of
seven articles, constructs the national frame
of government, under which the US still
operate until today.
• It has established the foundation of
democracy for the United States.
US GOVERNMENT
& POLITICAL SYSTEM

AND HOW IT EMBODIES


THE SPIRIT OF DEMOCRACY

(…or supposed to, anyway)


DEMOCRACY IN US POLITICS
Has 3 main ingredients:

1. A division of power
2. A competitive system
3. The people’s involvement
A DIVISION OF POWER
In creating the Constitution they felt a need
to balance power between three branches
of government, each with specific, exclusive
duties and powers.
LEGISLATIVE BRANCH
CONGRESS

THE CAPITOL
EXECUTIVE BRANCH
PRESIDENCY

THE WHITE HOUSE


JUDICIAL BRANCH
FEDERAL COURTS

THE SUPREME COURT


• By keeping the people, powers and
actions of the three branches clearly
separated, no one branch or one
individual is able to dominate or control the
federal system.
CASE IN POINT #1:
Presidential vetoes
We want to
pass this Haha.
bill. NO.
CASE IN POINT #1:
Presidential vetoes
You know
we can fire Haha.
you, right?

NO.
CASE IN POINT #2
BLACK ISSUES

All persons born or naturalized in the United


States, are citizens of the United States and
of the state wherein they reside. No state
shall […] deny to any person within its
jurisdiction the equal protection of the
laws.
(The 14th Amendment)
• In 1896, the US Supreme Court ruled that
“separate but equal” school rooms,
hospitals, libraries, hotel accommodations,
and streetcars were in the spirit of the
Constitution.

The nation was officially segregated.


Rosa Parks
1954, The U.S. Supreme Court declared all
laws establishing segregated schools to
be unconstitutional, and it called for the
desegregation of all schools throughout the
nation.
LITTLE ROCK NINE

National Guard to enforce integration and protect


the nine Black students
A DIVISION OF POWER
• The US is a federal republic.
• Each state resembles the federal
government, with separate executive,
judicial, and legislative branches.
• Federal and state governments have an
overlapping relationship.
A DIVISION OF POWER
The US is a federal republic.

The principle of operation


in decision making:

MAJORITY RULE
But…

Majority isn’t always right.

So how does the US deal with that?


The Great Compromise
Congress consists of a House of
Representatives and a Senate:

• Number of seats in the House: 435


• Number of seats in the Senate: 100
The number of representatives each state
placed in the House would be in direct
proportion to its percentage of the total
national population.

Eg: California (most populous state): 53


South Dakota (46th populous): 1
• In the Senate, each state would be equally
represented by two senators.

Eg: California (most populous state): 2


South Dakota (46th populous): 2
The House of
The Senate
Representative
Number
435 representatives 100 senators
of seats
Length of
2 years 6 years
Term
Debate
strictly limited not limited
time
Most responsive to Less influenced by
the people, most the moment, more
representative experienced
PRACTICE TIME!
A COMPETITIVE SYSTEM
Yeah! No! Better
Welfare be…
state! Capitalism!

Democratic Party Republican Party


Liberal Conservative
Left Right
The Democratic and Republican parties
navigate between three core American
values:
• individuality (freedom),
• community (order)
• fairness (equality)
Equality,
Order,
Freedom,
Freedom,
Order.
Equality.

Democratic Party Republican Party


Liberal Conservative
Left Right
Mitt Romney vs Barack Obama
THE PEOPLE’S INVOLVEMENT
• The US is a federal republic.
• Which means its officials are elected by
the people:
– The President is elected indirectly by the
people, through an Electoral College.
– All members of the Congress, are directly
elected.
– There are also elected offices at the state and
local level.
To vote or Not to vote?
Does it really matter?
Individual Americans and various
organizations have many ways to participate
in and make an impact upon political
decisions without ever stepping into a
voting booth.
THE PEOPLE’S INVOLVEMENT

Joining a Demonstration
Voting
Party Strikes
A million march to US Capitol to protest against
'Obama the socialist'
Women’s march against
Vietnam war
S O PA
STOP ONLINE PIRACY ACT

PIPA
PROTECT IP ACT
January 18, 2012

The Internet blacked out in protest.


LEGISLATIVE BRANCH
CONGRESS

THE CAPITOL
On January 18 itself
More than 8 million people looked up their
representative on Wikipedia,
3 million people emailed Congress to protest
against the bills,
More than 1 million messages were sent to
Congress through the Electronic Frontier
Foundation.
The changing tide
THE PEOPLE’S INVOLVEMENT

Voting
Joining a Demonstration Lobbying
Party Strikes with interest
groups
Interest groups
• Interest groups allow Americans to
express their views and preferences
constantly, not just in voting booths on
election days every two years.

• Lobby groups expand democracy by


letting minority groups and interests be
heard
Freedom of the press
• Free press is essential for the political
system to work.

• Free press help citizens to criticize the


government and expose the government
wrongdoings.
DEMOCRACY IN US POLITICS
Has 3 main ingredients:

1. A division of power
2. A competitive system
3. The people’s involvement
What should a
government be?
Americans are divided over the issue of how
strong government should be.
• Some see governmental power as a
danger and are eager to limit it.
• Others see government as a force for
good, helping people help themselves.
Coming up next
1. Business (*)
2. Educational system (*)
Presentations
Group 11: Discuss the characteristic attitude
of American people in doing business.
Group 12: What are some problems in the
educational system the Americans are
facing?