What Are the Three Levels of Government?

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The three levels of government are local, state and federal. Local governments control towns, cities and counties. State governments control states, and the federal government controls the entire nation.

Each level of government shares the same general duties of maintaining order and establishing rules and regulations. However, they vary slightly in their structure and the manner in which officials are elected. Local governments, for instance, are led by mayors or even a board of supervisors. They are responsible for maintaining a police force and a local fire department. State governments are headed by a more elaborate network of officials, and the federal level government is even more complex. State governments are headed by a governor, while at the federal level governments are headed by a president, vice president and presidential cabinet.

Structures of Government The three levels of government are structured into a system that is formed of three main branches, which are the judicial, the legislative and the executive. The executive branch is the leader, which is either the governor or the president, who’s in charge of making and enforcing rules. This branch of the government enforces the laws established by the legislative branch. The judicial branch is responsible for settling legal disputes and determines whether or not laws are aligned with the state and federal constitution.

Federal Government In the United States, the federal government has the most power and the most complex structure. As with local and state governments, the federal government is divided into three main branches. The branches of the federal government are the executive, legislative and judicial. The executive branch has about five million employees, and it’s also the branch that contains the president, says the University of Missouri. The legislative branch includes the Senate and the House of Representatives. This branch of government contains Congress, which is the central law-making body of the federal government. Lastly, the judicial branch includes the Supreme Court and the Lower Courts, explains the University of Missouri. The federal government operates as one cohesive unit, but each of its branches contribute to the smooth operation of the government in their own unique way. The executive branch, for instance, is headed by the acting president. The president is also responsible for setting laws made by the legislative branch into motion. The president has the power to either pass laws or veto them. The president, as with leaders at the state and local levels of government, is elected into his or her position of power through a democratic system. Citizens of the United States who are 18 years of age or older are allowed to vote in elections to cast their vote for a presidential candidate of choice. The vote for president is counted by the Electoral College, which then determines the final winner of the presidential race. Each state has its own number of electoral votes based on the number of senators and representatives they have. All federal laws of the United States are created by Congress, which is divided into two parts. The Senate and the House of Representatives are the two separate branches of Congress that perform separate but equally important roles to create laws. The Senate contains 100 senators, and there are 435 members in the House, says the University of Missouri.