The Government Research Guide is a pathway to research tools and resources. In this guide, you will find articles, books, eBooks, media, and open-access sources to assist you with your projects and assignments in your government courses. This guide will help you navigate library resources whether you are an online student, dual credit, hybrid student, or attending in-person.
The United States federal government oversees all fifty states, the District of Columbia, and US territories. It is distinct from, and in many cases superior to, the governments of each state.
The federal government is divided into three branches, each with its own powers, duties, and organizational structure. The three branches are the executive, which includes the president and numerous regulatory agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security and the Food and Drug Administration; the judicial, which includes the Supreme Court and the federal court system; and the legislative, essentially Congress, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives.
The Constitution of the United States of America--entered into force in 1789--created the federal government as a constitutional republic. One of the core principles of the Constitution is federalism, which causes governmental power to be divided among different regions (states) and between different levels (state and national).
A defining feature of the US federal government is its structure as a republic. Thus, the power to govern is believed to be vested in the people, who elect representatives to act on their behalf. The members of the federal government that are directly elected by the citizens of the United States are the members of both the Senate and the House of Representatives . The president, while chosen as the result of a popular vote, is not directly elected. Instead, when individual citizens cast their vote for a presidential candidate, they are actually voting for electors, who are members of the Electoral College.