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Researching the Law in the United States for LLM Students

Three Branches of Government

The United States is a constitutional republic, which means that officials are elected as representatives of the people. There are three branches of government. The structure allows for separation of powers and a system of checks and balances between the three branches. 

Image credit: https://www.usa.gov/branches-of-government

Federalism

In addition to the separation of powers between the three branches of government, the United States also divides power between the states and federal government. The relationship between state governments and the federal government is called federalism.

States follow a similar governmental structure as a federal government, with a state constitution providing for three branches of government. For example, California has an executive branch (comprised of the Governor and other constitutional officers), legislative branch (comprised of the State Assembly and Senate), and judicial branch (comprised of the state courts).