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Federal Government Information   Tags: congress, federal, government, policy, political_science, president, reference, regulation  

This guide provides an overview of information sources about the legislative, executive, judicial branches of the United States Government.
Last Updated: Sep 5, 2013 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Important U.S. Government Documents

When you're researching a topic related to the Federal Government, there are some helpful documents to be aware of:

  • United States Constitution
    Although the Constitution is available in many formats, you can download a copy with explanatory annotations from the Government Printing Office (GPO).
  • U.S. Government Manual
    The U.S. Government manual is a helpful source of up-to-date information about each branch of government the activities and functions of each department and office.

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This guide will help you find information about the Federal Government. The guide has been divided into three parts, based on the three branches of the Federal Government:

  • Legislative: Use this tab for information about Congress (i.e., the House and the Senate).
  • Executive: Use this tab to find information about the President and Federal agencies, like the Department of Health and Human Services or the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Judiciary: Use this tab to find information about the Federal Court System, including the Supreme Court.

Structure of the Federal Government

For basic information about how the Federal Government is organized, we recommend Ben's Guide to U.S. Government. The structure of the United States Government is defined by the Constitution:

  • Article I of the Constitution defines the legislative branch and gives Congress (the House and the Senate) power to legislate (i.e., make laws).
  • Article II defines the powers of the President (i.e., the Executive).
  • Article III places judicial power in the hands of one Supreme Court and the court system established by Congress.

A diagram of the branches of the U.S. Government can be found on Page 21 of the official U.S. Government Manual.

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