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S. government—the executive (the White House and the pr esidency), the leg islative (Cong ress), and the judicial (the Supreme Court)—are each important institutions in American politics. The term institution, however, is not always used to refer to a branch of government or a par ticular level of government. It is also used to r efer to procedures for decision making or to organizations that make democracy work. The methods by which people are elected to office, for example—the voting rules, including the electoral college—and the pr ocedures adopted for bargaining between the branches of go vernment are also key institutions of go vernment.

One-party state A political system in which one party controls the government and actively seeks to prevent other parties from contesting for power. democracy Rule by the people; in practice today this means popular election of the government and basic protections of civil rights and liberties. Comparing the American political system with other political systems can help us to understand and evaluate it. We can learn about the consequences of having different institutional forms by examining what happens in other countries.

In any political system, even nondemocratic ones, bureaucracies can be considered the agents of the sovereign government, as when a king hires an army to fight his wars. In democracies, however, bureaucracies are supposed to carry out the work that elected representatives—the ones who make the rules—want them to do. In the United States, Cong ress and the pr esident together pass leg islation, and the jobs of the ex ecutive-branch bureaucracies are to execute, administer, and enforce the laws. The principal-agent problem looms, however.

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Articles for the Government of the US Navy [website capture]


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