United States

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The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic made up of fifty states and one federal district. The United State's capital is Washington D.C. On April 19, 1775, began with the Battles of Lexington and Concord. The following year, on July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence. The 4th of July is now recognized in the United States as Independence Day. On November 15, 1777, the Second Continental Congress submitted the Articles of Confederation for ratification by the states. The Articles of Confederation remained in effect through the end of the Revolutionary War, September 3, 1783, up until it was superseded by the Constitution on September 17, 1787.

The Constitution is the supreme law of the Untied States. It creates the three branches of the federal government: the legislature, the executive branch, and the judicial branch.

The legislature is comprised of two branches, the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Senate is made up of 100 senators, two per state, who are elected for a term of six years. The Vice President of the United States also serves as the president of the Senate. In the even of a tie vote, the Vice President will cast the tie breaking vote. The House of Representatives is made up of 435 representatives, apportioned among the states based on population. Each representative is elected to a two-year term. The majority party, either the Democrats or Republicans, elects from among its members the Speaker of the House. The Speaker of the House is the leader of the House of Representatives and is second in the line of succession for the presidency, behind the Vice President. The drafters of the Constitution intended for the legislature to be the most powerful branch of government. The 20th century, however, saw a dramatic expansion in the power of the executive branch, and as a result, some commentators argue that the legislature is no longer the most important branch. Regardless of whether is this true, the legislature still retains the ultimate power within the federal government. The power to tax and spend.

Type of System

Source of Defendants' Rights

Defendants' Rights



See Criminal Justice Systems Around the World


  • 2009 Prison Population: 2,297,400 / 748 people per 100,000, the highest in the world on a per capita basis
  • 200,000 of these prisoners are over 50 years of age
  • 110.1% prison occupancy level (based on official capacity)