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State and Local Government in America

State and Local Government in America

Author: Betty Newlon

While federal government receives most of the attention of media, the US political system has 50 more state governments and thousands of local governmental units. All of them offer bigger diversity and public participation at the local level. State governments appeared yet before the national government for some American cities were founded as early as the 17th century. Before the Revolution, 13 states had been political entities with their governments and constitutions. Today state governments actively influence the US politics. They partially ease the pressure laid on the federal government issuing their own legislation and providing for their territories.
State political structures include constitutions, governors, state legislatures, judicial systems, and bureaucracy. State constitutions may strongly differ from each other; on the other hand, they are easy to amend. States continually reform their constitutions adjusting them to the specifics of state government. Governors are at the helm of the state accountable for its daily operation. State legislators are responsible for representation, legislation, and control over the executive branch.

Among the local governments, we differentiate county governments and municipal governments. There are more than 3,000 county governments out of total 88,000 local units in the US. Functions of county governments vary from state to state; in some states, they deliver vital services, such as education or welfare. Counties are strong in rural areas that do not belong to any city of town. All public goods and services in the area may be arranged by county governments. As for municipal governments, they are much more numerous (about 20,000). They may take different forms, such as the mayor-council or the council-manager one. Municipal governments deliver all kinds of services to their towns taking into account that they are much larger than counties.

American Political Parties

The role of parties in the American political process shall not be underestimated. They directly influence elections, governing, and stabilizing political system on the whole. First US political parties emerged soon after the Republic had been established. By the end of the 19th century, party-like organizations called political machines greatly influenced voting. In the 20th century, political parties evolved together with the emerging welfare state.

The present two-party system
was established in 1950 when the American Committee on Political Parties released the report on productivity and convenience of the approach. Only two strongest parties could dominate in elections; third parties participated as well but they would hardly win. The system was accepted, and today the two parties perform a range of functions. Besides pushing acts in the Congress, parties recruit political candidates and encourage voters to participate in political processes.
Structurally, political parties are divided into three parts – the party in government, the party in the electorate, and the party organization. This topic is complex and requires a lot of attention and very great accuracy in statements, writing paper service you can find this topic in a more open version. The first definition refers to all the officials identified within the party. Party members at different levels are expected to coordinate to enact party’s proposals and gain the support of the electorate. Party in the electorate are the voters from within the party who can promote their candidates for legislative office. It allows voters to develop psychological attachment to a party. The party organization consists of structures that help it function day to day.

Today the party system
continues to develop further. Many candidates employ their own organizations and parties seem to gradually weaken. However, the national committees are now service organizations, and their work can help parties gain more importance. The two-party system has proven to be resilient over the years, and any changes in this respect are unlikely.

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