The French established their own as well along the Mississippi River.
State governments of the United States States governments have the power to make laws that are not granted to the federal government or denied to the states in the U. Constitution for all citizens.
These include educationfamily lawcontract lawand most crimes. Unlike the federal government, which only has those powers granted to it in the Constitution, a state government has inherent powers allowing it to act unless limited by a provision of the state or national constitution.
Like the federal government, state governments have three branches: The chief executive of a state is its popularly elected governorwho typically holds office for a four-year term although in some states the term is two years.
Except for Nebraskawhich has unicameral legislatureall states have a bicameral legislature, with the upper house usually called the Senate and the lower house called the House of Representativesthe House of DelegatesAssembly or something similar.
In most states, senators serve four-year terms, and members of the lower house serve two-year terms. The constitutions of the various states differ in some details but generally follow a pattern similar to that of the federal Constitution, including a statement of the rights of the people and a plan for organizing the government.
However, state constitutions are generally more detailed. Urban politics in the United States The United States has 89, local governments, including 3, counties, 19, municipalities, 16, townships, 13, school districts, and 37, other special districts that deal with issues like fire protection.
Typically local elections are nonpartisan—local activists suspend their party affiliations when campaigning and governing.
City governments are chartered by states, and their charters detail the objectives and powers of the municipal government. The United States Constitution only provides for states and territories as subdivisions of the country, and the Supreme Court has accordingly confirmed the supremacy of state sovereignty over municipalities.
For most big cities, cooperation with both state and federal organizations is essential to meeting the needs of their residents. Types of city governments vary widely across the nation. However, almost all have a central council, elected by the voters, and an executive officer, assisted by various department heads, to manage the city's affairs.
Cities in the West and South usually have nonpartisan local politics. There are three general types of city government: These are the pure forms; many cities have developed a combination of two or three of them. Mayor-council[ edit ] This is the oldest form of city government in the United States and, until the beginning of the 20th century, was used by nearly all American cities.
Its structure is like that of the state and national governments, with an elected mayor as chief of the executive branch and an elected council that represents the various neighborhoods forming the legislative branch.
The mayor appoints heads of city departments and other officials, sometimes with the approval of the council. He or she has the power of veto over ordinances the laws of the city and often is responsible for preparing the city's budget. The council passes city ordinances, sets the tax rate on property, and apportions money among the various city departments.
As cities have grown, council seats have usually come to represent more than a single neighborhood. Commission[ edit ] This combines both the legislative and executive functions in one group of officials, usually three or more in number, elected citywide.
Each commissioner supervises the work of one or more city departments. Commissioners also set policies and rules by which the city is operated. One is named chairperson of the body and is often called the mayor, although his or her power is equivalent to that of the other commissioners.
The answer has been to entrust most of the executive powers, including law enforcement and provision of services, to a highly trained and experienced professional city manager.
The city manager plan has been adopted by a large number of cities. Under this plan, a small, elected council makes the city ordinances and sets policy, but hires a paid administrator, also called a city manager, to carry out its decisions.
The manager draws up the city budget and supervises most of the departments. Usually, there is no set term; the manager serves as long as the council is satisfied with his or her work.
County government[ edit ] The county is a subdivision of the state, sometimes but not always containing two or more townships and several villages. New York City is so large that it is divided into five separate boroughs, each a county in its own right.
In other cities, both the city and county governments have merged, creating a consolidated city—county government. In small counties, boards are chosen by the county; in the larger ones, supervisors represent separate districts or townships.
The board collects taxes for state and local governments; borrows and appropriates money; fixes the salaries of county employees; supervises elections; builds and maintains highways and bridges; and administers national, state, and county welfare programs.As practiced in the United States, direct democracy is subnational, exclusively occurring at the state and local levels, although not uniformly.
Because South Dakota first adopted direct democracy in , roughly half the states have adopted it in one form or another. Democracy and respect for human rights have long been central components of U.S. foreign policy. Supporting democracy not only promotes such fundamental American values as religious freedom and worker rights, but also helps create a more secure, stable, and prosperous global arena in which the United States can advance its .
The United States is not a direct democracy, in the sense of a country in which laws (and other government decisions) are made predominantly by majority vote. Some lawmaking is done this way, on. The history of direct democracy amongst non-Native Americans in the United States dates from the s in the New England Colonies.
Many New England towns still carry on that tradition in the form of open town meetings.
While this doesn't seem to be as big of an issue as it was a few years ago, there continues to be major debates about Homosexuality, Abortion, Cannabis, Gun Control in the United States of America, Euthanasia, etc. ‘The United States is a republic, not a democracy.” This is one of those oft-repeated expressions that one hears in civil discourse whose meaning nevertheless remains somewhat fuzzy.