The United States government’s history
The United States government’s history constitutes its formation, growth, development, and federal government evolution, including changes in its Constitution, office of the presidency, U.S. Code, Congress, Supreme courts, executive agencies and departments, and lower federal courts. The development constitutes the roles of the government, policies, structures, regulations, formation of new departments, and enactments of new codes from 1776, which is the year it gained independence, to the present day.
Composition and Concerns of the Federal Government in the Early Years
Articles of Confederation existed from 1777 to 1781, establishing a committee of representatives to establish a confederated government of the U.S. However, the articles created a weak government as it had no military and could not levy taxes. Congress endorsed a plan to establish an entirely new constitution in 1786, which included the creation of a new executive branch (Chervinsky 156). The Constitution empowered the federal government to collect taxes, print money, and maintain a military by fusing the states into a single nation. Consequently, no national currency or army could be raised by the states.
The Constitution was responsible for establishing the new presidential system with power separation with three branches of government the legislature, executive, and judiciary. During this time, house members were directly affected, and the state legislature chose the Senate members. During President Washington’s reign, the supreme, circuit, and district courts were formed after Federal Judicial Act was signed into law in 1789. The first President’s cabinet included four members: the Secretary of Treasury, Secretary of War, Secretary of State, and Antony General, compared with the current presidential cabinet, which consists of sixteen members.
Formation and Evolution of Political Parties and Their Impact on the Democratic System
Political parties and factions first emerged at the Federal Constitutional Convention of 1787. After a new federal government was built, tensions erupted between those who supported and those who opposed the new government. Since the country’s inception, American politics have been dominated by two major political parties in the 1850s, the Democratic and Republican parties. Since President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act in 1965, when the Democratic Party became a center-left and liberal party, there has been no significant shift in the political parties’ ideological beliefs (Cohen and Partner 9). Due to the Electoral College system, suburban voting districts can significantly impact the election results in battleground states.
People who have common political ideals form political parties. A representative body, such as a city council or the legislature, is elected by political parties to reflect the interests of their constituents. Political parties perform various functions, such as the defense of the rights and welfare of the people. Members of political parties are free to join and have a say in the party’s platform. The selection of candidates is made during conventions conducted by political parties. These candidates represent the party’s followers and platform in elections.
Party platforms and tenets have a significant role in the electoral process. Candidates can run their campaigns with a clearly defined political platform from this vantage point. Most elected officials at all levels of government represent one major political party. Deliberating on proposed legislation and policies, legislators generally vote along party lines when they support their party’s principles. The elected members of the political party interact on all levels. Using these metrics, political parties can be judged on their effectiveness. The results of new policies supported by the majority dictate the course of action.
Key Events in the Process of Increasing the Size and Scope of the Federal Government
The most prominent event in the growth of the federal government was the American Civil War, which established federal control over the states. New federal powers were created, and interest groups were born during the Civil War, making the federal government more powerful. Even though veterans served as a model for subsequent interest groups, the Treasury had limited resources at the time. In 1890, the Sherman Antitrust Act was enacted, and in 1887, the Interstate Commerce Commission was established.
At the turn of the century, the American government continued to evolve as the Progressive Era began. The Federal Reserve was founded in 1913, the Federal Trade Commission in 1914, and the Food and Drug Administration in 1906 (Davis 16). A government previously committed to defending the civil liberties of its citizens. World War I ended the Progressive Era, which saw unprecedented increases in government power. In addition to nationalizing railroads and regulating marine trade, the United States Food Administration was established in 1917. It assumed control over all areas of the food industry, including production, distribution, and retail, as well as assuming control over the food sector (Davis 22). Eventually, the entire economy was subject to the same constraints as fuels.
The nation’s three regions were brought together using the American System to develop a strong and stable economy. The American System played a role in uniting the North, South, and West by developing a world-class transportation system that facilitated the movement of products. This system was implemented to ensure that Americans could benefit from their country’s currency and take advantage of the opportunity to buy more Western territory. The American System played a key influence when setting American policy and drawing attention to regional disparities before the Civil War.
Nationalistic ideas were developed by Western Expansion, which promoted the idea of the brave pioneer as the typical American and the ordinary person as the symbol of democracy. Slavery was the foundation of the United States and a significant factor in its rapid growth. Government interference in price and agricultural output, development of the federal welfare state, and rise in international trade were some of the New Deal’s long-term repercussions in the U.S. An efficient economic system was created because of its ability to respect the rights of everyone who lives in the United States, regardless of their wealth.
A vital remnant of the Great Society is a rent subsidy scheme and more readily available home loans. Johnson’s Great Society initiatives included the Medicare and Medicaid programs, the AARP, and the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. There were eighty-four laws signed into law by Congress. Medicare and Medicaid, which offer health care for seniors and those with low incomes, were part of the Great Society’s educational and healthcare initiatives that benefited the government and the people.
Under the Constitution, there are three branches of government the executive, legislature, and judiciary. The term checks and balances refer to a system designed to prevent any one branch of government from wielding too much authority over the others. When legislation is declared unconstitutional, the judicial branch can declare it unconstitutional. It is the executive branch’s job to see that the laws of the United States are always carried (Mortenson 57). Judicial decisions are made by judges, not legislators, even though the Senate can impeach any of the President’s judicial nominees and confirm them.
In the history of the U.S., there have been different events that characterized the strong presidents, courts, and congresses. One of the powerful and successful presidents, Abraham Lincoln, had a contentious but cooperative relationship with Congress. He rarely sought congressional support or action and only vetoed one crucial measure in his presidency. Lincoln collaborated with other Republicans to appoint five judges to the Supreme Court and others in district courts to ensure the judiciary was friendly to his plans. President Franklin D. Roosevelt was tempered by the act of the Supreme Court, which ruled against the New Deal plans. The court struck down a law that set the minimum wage for child workers as well as women in New York. The laws passed by Congress were declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, leading to heated power swings between the three branches of government. The President lobbied for Congress action to pass legislation that would advance his ideals.
Summary Comparison and Contrast of the Government Under the First Four and the Last Four Presidents
There has been a significant change in the development of the government since the first four presidents George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison, compared to the most current presidents in the present time. In the first years after independence, the U.S. did not experience government growth to a great extent until after the establishment of the new deal. At the time, government spending and revenues were low due to limited involvement in external issues and few government employees. The population of the U.S was approximately 3 million, while now, the population is about 332 million, and government employees are more than the population during the 1850s. For the last four presidents, George Bush, Barack Obama, Donald Trump, and Joe Biden, the size of the government has been on the rise. However, Trump had the objective of reducing the number of government workers by proposing a budget cut that did not shrink the size of the government. This is due to increased government spending, revenues, and federal employee numbers.
Chervinsky, Lindsay M. The Cabinet: George Washington and the Creation of an American Institution. Harvard University Press, 2020.
Cohen, Ira, and Partner Esquire. “The Seldom Told Tale of the United States of America’s First Federal Court.” Federal Lawyer (2020).
Davis, Angela J. “Reimagining prosecution: A growing progressive movement.” UCLA Criminal Justice Law Review 3.1 (2019).
Mortenson, Julian Davis. “The Executive Power Clause.” U. Pa. L. Rev. 168 (2019): 1269.