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American Government

Government in America is large, perhaps too large. Some Americans believe that all social concerns can be treated and solved by the government, while others see the government as a vested interest with no function but to perpetuate itself. Whatever your view, in the United States you will have to deal with government at many …

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Tax Law

Tax law is complicated, but it pays to know at least the basics. In the area of taxes, it is often difficult to find competent legal or accounting help. The more you know, the better you will be able to help the professional find ways to cut down on your tax expenses and keep you …

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State Governments

According to the Tenth Amendment of the federal Constitution, all powers not granted to the federal government are reserved to the states and the people. States determine traffic laws, criminal laws, run schools and libraries, have their own taxation systems, welfare systems, environmental laws, and much more. Each of the states has its own constitution. …

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Political Parties and Elections

The election campaign is a time-honored American tradition. Major national, state and even local elections are elaborate, with multi-million dollar advertising budgets, televised debates, rallies, political conventions, and campaign posters. Any American 18 years and over can vote in an election. Two-Party System. The United States has had two major political parties since the 1860’s: the …

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The Police and Violence

Nearly all the police in America carry handguns and clubs. Many carry sophisticated weapons such as stun guns and the electroshock weapon called the Taser. When police actually have to use these weapons, or any weapon, the situation is almost always one of great stress, during which the police may perceive they are themselves endangered. …

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Police and Criminal Law

Many Jurisdictions and Rules. The United States has many layers of government and hence many layers of police. The system is complicated, with overlapping federal, state, county, and municipal police forces. The police are responsible for enforcing the criminal law of their jurisdictions. With so many jurisdictions to deal with, it is not always easy …

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Lawyers Not Popular

According to a 2009 Gallup survey, only 25% of all Americans had a positive view of the legal profession. By contrast, 62% of respondents viewed the computer industry favorably. Lawyers are frequently the butt of criticism in jokes, newspaper cartoons, and the routines of standup comedians. The stereotype tells us that lawyers are only interested …

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The Military

Citizen Soldiers. While the United States has a fine military tradition, it does not have a military social class as in some other countries. Through most of its history, the United States maintained a very small army. During wars and national emergencies the country occasionally instituted the “draft” (conscription) in which men would be legally required …

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A Lot of Laws

Courts of all jurisdictions, legislatures of all levels, and administrative agencies of all types keep churning out law after law, filling vast libraries and computer databases, keeping the law schools humming. America’s most beloved literary figure, Mark Twain, once wrote on the subject, “If you laid all our laws end to end, there would be …

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