Skip to Content

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 levels. If you want to add an addition to your home, you will need a permit from the local town or city government. You will get your driver’s license from the state government, or a small business loan from the federal government. You will certainly pay taxes to government entities at a number of levels. In the United States, a complicated system of laws affects everyday life, yet many laws also affect and restrict the action of government itself.

The sections that follow give a survey of the structure of American government plus some basic information on American laws, followed by information about the police in the United States as well as the American military.

Next Section:From the Beginning

Life in the USA Home Page.

Full Chapter Outline:
Structure of Government
From the Beginning
The Bill of Rights
Rights of Accused People
The Executive Branch
The Legislative Branch
The Judicial Branch
Balance of Power
State Governments

Legal ‘Conservatism’ of the American People

Who Makes the Laws?

Administrative Agencies

Political Parties and Elections

Lawyers and Litigation
The Common Law
A Lot of Laws
Finding a Lawyer
Legal Education
Lawyers Not Popular
Law on Television
Legal Aid
Many Kinds of Courts

Everyday Law
Marriage and Child Support
Estate and Trust
Debtor Creditor Law
Tax Law
Consumer Law
Landlord Tenant Law

Dealing with Bureaucracy

Police and Criminal Law
Many Jurisdictions
Police and Violence
Rights of Accused People

The Military
Vietnam, Iraq, Kosovo
The Armed Services

Other Life In The USA Subject Area Sections:
American PeopleAmerican CultureStores and ShoppingRestaurants and ServicesAmerica EatsOrganizationsTransportationEveryday LifeBusinessEducationRetirement and AgingLand, HistoryReligionMoneyCommunityMaking a LivingImmigrationMedical CareAmerican PlacesAmerican StoriesDeath in America