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Politics of the United States

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State type Federal presidential constitutional republic

Constitution United States Constitution

Legislative branch

Name Congress

Type Bicameral

Meeting place Capitol

Upper house

Name Senate

Presiding officer Mike Pence

Vice President & President of the Senate

Appointer First-past-the-post voting

Lower house

Name House of Representatives

Presiding officer Paul Ryan

Speaker of the House of Representatives

Appointer First-past-the-post voting

Executive branch

Head of State and Government

Title President

Currently Donald Trump

Appointer Electoral College

Cabinet
Name Cabinet of the United States

Current cabinet Cabinet of Donald Trump

Leader President

Deputy leader Vice President

Appointer President

Headquarters White House

Ministries 15

Judicial branch

Name Federal judiciary of the United States

Head John Roberts, Chief Justice of the United States

Courts Courts in the United States

Supreme Court

Chief judge John Roberts

Seat Supreme Court Building

This article is part of a series on the

Politics of the

United States of America

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Federal Government[show]

Legislature[show]

Executive[show]

Judiciary[show]

Elections[show]

Political parties[show]

Federalism[show]
Other countries Atlas

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Political system of the United States

The United States is a federal republic in which the President, Congress and federal courts share powers
reserved to the national government, according to its Constitution. The federal government shares
sovereignty with the state governments.

The executive branch is headed by the President and is formally independent of both the legislature and
the judiciary. The cabinet serves as a set of advisers to the President. They include the Vice President
and heads of the executive departments. Legislative power is vested in the two chambers of Congress,
the Senate and the House of Representatives. The judicial branch (or judiciary), composed of the
Supreme Court and lower federal courts, exercises judicial power. The judiciary's function is to interpret
the United States Constitution and federal laws and regulations. This includes resolving disputes
between the executive and legislative branches. The federal government's structure is codified in the
Constitution.

Two political parties, the Democratic Party and the Republican Party, have dominated American politics
since the American Civil War, although smaller parties exist such as the Libertarian Party, the Green
Party and the Constitution Party. Generally, the Democratic Party is commonly known as the center-left
liberal party within the United States, while the Republican Party is commonly known as the United
States right-wing conservative party.

There are a few major differences between the political system of the United States and that of most
other developed democracies. These include greater power in the upper house of the legislature, a
wider scope of power held by the Supreme Court, the separation of powers between the legislature and
the executive and the dominance of only two main parties. Third parties have less political influence in
the United States than in other democratically run developed countries; this is because of a combination
of stringent historic controls. These controls take shape in the form of state and federal laws, informal
media prohibitions and winner-take-all elections and include ballot access issues and exclusive debate
rules. There have been five United States presidential elections in which the winner lost the popular
vote.