Levels of Government

Government Opens in new window exists at three separate levels: the federal government, the state governments, and local governments.

Each level of government is divided into three branches:

  1. the legislative branch (which makes the laws),
  2. the executive branch (which carries out the laws), and
  3. the judicial branch (which applies the laws to specific court cases, and evaluates laws to make certain that they are legitimate).

Normally, the constitution, the fundamental legal authority for government in the United States, gives the federal government the power to undertake certain tasks - and assigns all other powers to the state governments. State governments each establish the local governments within their territory and delegate certain powers to them.

The Three Levels of Government: Overview

  1. Federal Government

Federal government Opens in new window also known as (national government) deals with areas of law listed in the constitution Opens in new window and that generally affect the whole country. It decides how to spend the country’s tax money because it is in charge.

The federal government also runs the military, providing for national defense; conducts the country's foreign affairs, and deals with a number of issues that are national or global in scope and cannot be successfully dealt with by state or local governments - like air pollution, interstate commerce, and piracy.

  1. State Government

State government Opens in new window is responsible for areas defined in the Constitution of the country. Most state governments are responsible for education, health care, some natural resources, and road regulations. Sometimes they share responsibility with the federal government.

  1. Local Government

Local government Opens in new window is the level of government that is usually based in a city, town or district (a municipality). local governments handle many smaller projects in the town. This may be something simple such as fixing a sidewalk or cutting the grass in the park.

Local government perform larger projects as well, such as building and maintenance of libraries, community water systems, local police, roadways and parking. They receive authority for these areas from the state governments.

The U.S has one federal government and 50 different state governments. It also has close to 90,000 smaller local governments.

related literatures:
  1. U. S. Congress Man, Myke Doyle, About Our Government https://doyle.house.gov/resources/about-our-government Opens in new window
  2. Baron Bedesky, What Are the Levels of Government, (p.6-7)
  3. Wikipedia, Government Opens in new window