Politics of the United States

The United States is a constitutional federal republic, in which the president (the head of state and head of government), Congress, and judiciary share powers reserved to the national government, and the federal government shares sovereignty with the state governments.

Politics of the United States
Polity typeFederal presidential constitutional republic
ConstitutionUnited States Constitution
FormationMarch 4, 1789; 232 years ago (1789-03-04)
Legislative branch
NameCongress
TypeBicameral
Meeting placeCapitol
Upper house
NameSenate
Presiding officerKamala Harris, Vice President & President of the Senate
AppointerDirect Election
Lower house
NameHouse of Representatives
Presiding officerNancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives
AppointerExhaustive ballot
Executive branch
Head of State and Government
TitlePresident
CurrentlyJoe Biden
AppointerElectoral College
Cabinet
NameCabinet of the United States
Current cabinetCabinet of Joe Biden
LeaderPresident
Deputy leaderVice President
AppointerPresident
HeadquartersWhite House
Ministries15
Judicial branch
NameFederal judiciary of the United States
CourtsCourts of the United States
Supreme Court
Chief judgeJohn Roberts
SeatSupreme Court Building

The executive branch is headed by the president and is independent of the legislature. 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 layout is explained in the Constitution. Two political parties, the Democratic Party and the Republican Party, have dominated American politics since the American Civil War, although other parties have also existed.

There are major differences between the political system of the United States and that of most other developed capitalist countries. These include increased power of 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. The United States is one of the world's developed democracies where third parties have the least political influence.

The federal entity created by the U.S. Constitution is the dominant feature of the American governmental system. However, most residents are also subject to a state government, and also subject to various units of local government. The latter includes counties, municipalities, and special districts.