Democracy in the usa
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Democracy in the USA. What is it based on?. Congressional or Presidential Democracy (Key Term: Checks and balances ) – everything that occurs in the US must be ratified by another institution of the government – examples?

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What is it based on
What is it based on?

  • Congressional or Presidential Democracy

  • (Key Term: Checks and balances) – everything that occurs in the US must be ratified by another institution of the government – examples?

  • USA -a republic (all representatives are elected; no hereditary leaders) – WHY?


  • power clearly divided/separated among the three branches so that no one can be too powerful and have too much control over the entire government (Canada's branches are not so separate )

  • WHY?

Democrats principles
Democrats - principles

  • Environmentalism

  • Social (Modern liberalism

  • Enhanced freedoms

  • universal health care

  • Strong support from youth, working class, African Americans

  • Support unions

  • Forward thinking in science (stem cell research)

  • Gun control

Republicans principles
Republicans - principles

  • Free market economics

  • Fiscal conservatives

  • Increase personal responsibility over welfare

  • Conservative -issues?

  • Advocate greater powers at the state level

  • Pro life (generally)

  • Greater support from business, educated middle class, white families, older citizens

  • Criticized fro limited individual freedoms-Patriot Act, Guantanamo Bay Prison

  • Right to bear arms

Legislative branch congress
Legislative Branch - Congress

  • representatives from each state -ensures the regions [States] have a strong voice in the legislature of the Federal government

  • 2 houses: Senate and House of Representatives - where bills are passed into law (if signed by President)

  • both houses can initiate money matter bills

  • weak party discipline -voting in Congress does not follow partylines, because there is no responsible government and no votes of confidence (this frees reps to vote for the best interests of their state)

  • President is responsible for operations of government, but must rely on Congress for funding ($$) needed to operate government


  • different from Canada; powerful and effective(can be stronger than H.O.R.)

  • two Senators per state (=100), thus each state is equal here – WHO BENEFITS?

  • term of office one third elected every year (thus more stable than House of Representatives) WHY?

House of representatives
House of Representatives

  • Representation by population ( 435 members )

  • Representatives/Congressmen elected for 2 years

  • Laws-must be approved by both houses – deadlock

  • Large states rule

Executive branch
Executive Branch

  • not a part of the legislative branch; unlike Canada)

  • President

  • Chief Executive Officer of USA; Head of State, Head of Government

  • not a member of Congress (therefore, not responsible to it)

  • term: 4 years

  • re-election – once

  • Veto

  • What is the President’s job?


  • appointed by President

  • not members of Congress (thus not responsible to it); are not elected

  • proposes legislation to President

  • similar function to Canada's Cabinet

  • Who can be a member of the cabinet?

  • Experts versus decision makers – BETTER?

Judicial branch
Judicial Branch

  • interprets government law and determines its constitutionality (its “fit" with the Constitution)

  • Supreme Court - 9 members appointed for life – very similar to Canada

  • Challenges?