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What kind of information materials are available?
CD: Texts available on CD version.Texts available in multiple languages.

The New Administration:

Abbreviations and Acronyms of the U.S. Government
About America: How the United States is Governed
Accountability in Government CD
American National Government: An Overview CD
The Obama Administration
Basic Readings in U.S. Democracy: Creating a Government CD Frequently Asked Questions of the U.S. Government
A Guide to the U.S. Federal System
Outline of U.S. Government | Das amerikanische Regierungssytem CD
magazinUSA: Das politische System der USA Deutsch
BPB: Politisches System der USA Deutsch CD
Portrait of America: A Responsive Government CD
Portrait of America: Eine bürgernahe Regierung Deutsch CD
Transparency in Government CD
BPB: Die Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika Deutsch
About the America - How the U.S. is Governed (online publication)

Original Documents
GPO: Basic Documents and Writings
Core Documents of U.S. Democracy
GPO: U.S. Government Manual

U.S. Census Bureau: Federal, State, and Local Governments
U.S. Census Bureau. Statistical Abstract 2006: Federal Government Finances and Employment CD
OMB: U.S. Budget
Yahoo: U.S. Government > Statistics



The United States is a federal union of 50 states, with the District of Columbia as the seat of the federal government. The Constitution outlines the structure of the national government and specifies its powers and activities, and defines the relationship between the national government and individual state governments. Power is shared between the national and state (local) governments. Within each state are counties, townships, cities and villages, each of which has its own elective government.

Governmental power and functions in the United States rest in three branches of government: the legislative, judicial, and executive. Article 1 of the Constitution defines the legislative branch and vests power to legislate in the Congress of the United States. The executive powers of the President are defined in Article 2. Article 3 places judicial power in the hands of one Supreme Court and inferior courts as Congress sees necessary to establish. In this system of a "separation of powers" each branch operates independently of the others, however, there are built in "checks and balances" to prevent a concentration of power in any one branch and to protect the rights and liberties of citizens. For example, the President can veto bills approved by Congress and the President nominates individuals to serve in the Federal judiciary; the Supreme Court can declare a law enacted by Congress or an action by the President unconstitutional; and Congress can impeach the President and Federal court justices and judges.

See also:
About the USA
> U.S. Government > The Constitution

For High School Students
Ben's Guide to U.S. Government for Kids
Official Kids Portal for the U.S. Government
PBS: How does government affect me?
House of Representatives. Office of the Clerk: Kids in the House Our Government - Learn about the Three Branches of Government

Teacher Resources

EDSITEment: Balancing Three Branches at Once: Our System of Checks and Balances
NARA: Constitutional Issues: Separation of Powers
Educator's Reference Desk: Role of the Government


Link Lists
Dirksen Congressional Center: About Government Homepage
Library of Congress: Browse Government Web Resources
GPO: Catalog of U.S. Government Publications
Rutgers University Library: Federal Documents on the Internet
University of Michigan: Federal Government Resources on the Web
U.S. Dep. of Commerce: FedWorld Government Made Easy Virtual Research Center U.S. Government eRulemaking Program
This Nation: American Government & Politics Information Site
Open Directory Program: U.S. Government
University of Pennsylvania Library: U.S. Government Documents - Research Guide
Yahoo! U.S. Government

Texts are abridged from U.S. State Department IIP publications and other U.S. government materials.
What kind of information materials are available?
These documents are available in fulltext format on the About the USA CD-ROM. Teachers: Request a copy for classroom use.
Selected documents are available in German as well as other languages, including Arabic, Chinese, French, Spanish, Persian and Turkish.
Any reference obtained from this server to a specific commercial product, process, or service does not constitute or imply an endorsement by the United States Government of the product, process, or service, or its producer or provider. The views and opinions expressed in any referenced document do not necessarily state or reflect those of the United States Government.
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Updated: July 9, 2009