The USA is a Federal Republic with 50 States and the District of
Columbia (as in 'Washington, DC'), which lies between Maryland and
In addition, the USA has close associations with the Commonwealth
of Puerto Rico, Guam and the US Virgin Islands and exercises trusteeship
on behalf of the UN over several Pacific Island groups.
The Constitution (the final arbiters of which are the members of
the Supreme Court) ensures that the powers of the executive, legislature,
judiciary, presidency and the individual States are balanced by
The President is elected by an electoral college system based
on universal adult suffrage every four years. No President may be
elected to serve more than two full terms of office. The current
President is George Bush.
The legislature is bicameral; the Senate has two members from each
State while the larger House of Representatives allocates seats
on the basis of population. Collectively these two bodies are known
as Congress. Each State enjoys a fairly high degree of self-government