Government in the United States consists of three separate levels: the federal government, the state governments, and local governments. 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.
Each level of government is divided into three branches: the legislative branch (which makes the laws), the executive branch (which carries out the laws), and the judicial branch (which applies the laws to specific court cases, determines whether someone has broken the law, and evaluates laws to make certain that they are legitimate).
The following web pages provide additional information about the three levels of government in the United States:
- National Government – the “United States Government” or the “Federal Government”
- State Governments – the United States is divided into 50 states, several territories, and the District of Columbia
- Local Governments – each state is divided into counties and municipalities, each of which has its own government