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Overview Of The U.S. Political System

The US is the oldest continuous democracy in the world. It was established in 1789, although not all features of the system were as democratic as they are now.

Key Facts:

  1. The US is a Federal system. This means that power is divided between a central/national government and the States. The national government is referred to as the Federal Government.

  2. The Federal Government has three branches/arms:

    • Legislative Branch: House of Representatives and Senate
    • Executive Branch: President, Cabinet, Federal Departments and Agencies
    • Judicial Branch: Supreme Court, Other Federal Courts
  3. There are 50 States. Each State has an elected Governor and a legislature consisting of a State House and a State Senate.

  4. The list of original 13 States is here. A table showing how each State has voted in presidential elections since 1972 is here.

How is Power Divided in the US Political System?
Malcolm Farnsworth
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