Describe the federal government of the United States of America.  

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The federal government of the United States is the government that is in charge of the country as a whole, as opposed to the state governments, which govern the individual states.  The form of the federal government is set out in the Constitution of the United States.

The federal government of the United States consists of three branches.  Each branch of government has its own powers.  This is known as separation of powers.  However, each branch also has some control over the other branches’ powers, a system called checks and balances.

The first branch to be mentioned in the Constitution is the legislative branch.  This branch, which is made up of the House of Representative and the Senate, is mainly responsible for making the laws that govern the country.  However, Congress can also check the other branches.  For example, the Senate must accept anyone that the president nominates as an ambassador before that person can take office. 

The second branch to be mentioned in the Constitution is the executive branch.  This branch is headed by the president.  The main power of the executive branch is to carry out the laws.  The president also has strong military powers as the commander-in-chief.  The executive can also check the other branches.  For example, it is the president who gets to nominate people to the Supreme Court.  As another example, the president has the power to veto bills passed by Congress.

Finally, there is the judicial branch.  This branch is headed by the Supreme Court of the United States.  This branch has the power to interpret the laws made by the Congress and signed by the president.  It also has the power to interpret the Constitution.  In doing these things, the judicial branch can check the other branches because it can invalidate actions of the other branches if it believes that they conflict with the Constitution.

This is the basic structure of the federal government of the United States.