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Our American Government

This is the 1993 edition as printed by the Government Printing Office. The foreword states that it is "a popular introductory guide for American citizens and those of other countries who seek a greater understanding of our heritage of democracy. The question-and-answer format covers a broad range of topics dealing with the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of our Government as well as the electoral process and the role of political parties. " The material was prepared by the Congressional Research Service.

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These files are "image" type PDF files, and thus the file sizes are rather large, and are not indicative of "typical" PDF files. Therefore, downloading will take much longer than you expect. Actual file sizes may also vary slightly from those noted here.

Pages Cover-V(PDF, 72K)
Introduction: Contents; Foreword.
Pages 1-2(PDF, 108K)
Democracy and its American Interpretation.
Purpose of the U.S. Government - form of Government we have - role of the citizen in our Government
Pages 2-6(PDF, 286K)
The Constitution.
What is the Constitution? - the basic principles - Bill of Rights - amending the Constitution - separation of powers - checks & balances
Page 6(PDF, 58K)
The Legislative Branch.
Organizations of the legislative branch - functions of support agencies
Pages 6-23(PDF, 1.3M)
The Congress.
Qualifications for Congress - term of office - staff - size of House - Congressional districts - oath of office - vacancies - Officers of the House - the Speaker - The Senate: who presides, officers, party leaders, majority leaders, "whips" - caucuses - floor seating - joint sessions - opportunities for work - Congressional pages
Pages 23-26(PDF, 302K)
Congressional Process and Powers.
Tax bills - appropriation measures - authorizations & appropriations - the budget process - sequestration - powers of Congress - impeachment - control of the Armed Forces
Pages 26-33(PDF, 417K)
Congressional Rules and Procedures.
Rules of Procedure - the Rules Committee - quorum - Committee of the Whole - Parliamentarian - customary proceedings - unanimous consent - voting - debates - speaking - introducing bills - stages of a bill - how bills become law
Pages 33-38(PDF, 452K)
The Committee System.
The committee organization - the Conference Committee - Standing Committees - Select Committees - Joint Committees - Congressional Committees - public hearings - "seniority rule"
Pages 39-40(PDF, 96K)
The Executive Branch.
Organization - The Executive Office
Pages 41-51(PDF, 699K)
The President and the Vice President.
Comparison of President to other titles - Constitutional powers of the President - Commander in Chief - veto power - "pocket veto" - Presidential term - qualifications for office - the electoral college and the House of Representatives - oath of office - Presidential incapacity - Presidential succession - resignations - election of Vice-Presidents - qualifications of V.P. - Presidential control over Congress - State of the Union message - "President's Cabinet"
Pages 51-52(PDF, 180K)
The Executive Departments and Agencies.
Creation of executive departments & agencies - funding - oversight of operations - the merit system - roles of OPM, MSPB, & FLRA -
Page 53(PDF, 60K)
Independent Agencies and Commissions.
Independent agencies & regulatory commissions
Pages 53-57(PDF, 348K)
The Judicial Branch.
The "Supreme Law of the Land" - The Federal Courts - the Supreme Court - District Courts - Courts of Appeal - other Federal Courts - Justices & Judges - oath of office
Pages 57-64(PDF, 516K)
The Electoral Process.
How Presidents & Vice Presidents are nominated - How they're elected - the "electoral college" - How Senators & Representatives are nominated & elected - qualifications to vote - administering elections - election day - political campaigns - campaign financing - "matching funds"
Pages 64-69(PDF, 328K)
Information Resources.
The Office of the Federal Register - the Federal Register - the National Archives - Presidential Libraries - depository libraries - the Federal Information Center - the Library of Congress - The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) - Congressional documents & publications - unpublished records of Congress - sending letters to Federal officials
Pages 71-77(PDF, 513K)
Glossary of Terms.
60 different terms defined
Pages 78-79(PDF, 157K)
Selective Bibliography.
32 additional sources of information
Pages 80-82(PDF, 107K)
State Population and House Apportionment;
Political Divisions of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives from 1855 (34th Congress) to 1991-93 (103rd Congress).
Pages 83-87(PDF, 267K)
The Declaration of Independence.
A Declaration by the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress Assembled.
Pages 89-99(PDF, 642K)
The Constitution of the United States.
The Constitution of the United States
Pages 100-114(PDF, 923K)
Amendments to the Constitution of the United States.
Amendments to the Constitution of the United States of America, Proposed by Congress, and Ratified by the Legislatures of the Several States, Pursuant to the Fifth Article of the Original Constitution. 27 Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
Pages 115-117(PDF, 156K)
Proposed Amendments not Ratified by the States.
Proposed Amendments as of 1993
Pages 119-124(PDF, 208K)

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