US Politics: Most Popular Articles
Find out the date of President Barack Obama's last day as president. See when Obama's second term in the White House ends. Discover who could be running to replace him and when the next election is.
Find out who's on the short list of 2016 presidential candidates. Read bios of the possible 2016 presidential candidates. Learn about the political careers of the candidate who will succeed President Barack Obama in the White House.
The history and texts of the first ten amendments to the Constitution of the United States.
How to amend the Constitution of the United States.
Learn about executive actions. Find out how U.S. presidents use executive actions. Read examples of executive actions. See how executive actions compare to executive orders.
Read a list of all the U.S. president who were impeached. See what caused the House of Representatives to impeach them. Find out why happened to the impeached presidents.
In Congress, the seniority system describes the practice of granting privileges to members of Congress (Senators and Representatives) who have served the longest.
Find out why presidents can serve only two terms in office. Learn about the reasons behind the presidential term limit. See which amendment to the the U.S. Constitution allows president to serve only two terms.
Here's why U.S. presidents use more than one pen to sign some bills into law. Find out which president started the tradition of using several pens to sign laws. See who used the most pens to sign a bill into law.
The United States Cabinet (usually referred to as
Find out why the color red is associated with Republicans. See why the color blue is associated with Democrats. Learn where the terms red state and blue state originated.
The Grand Jury in the United States: an historical overview with details on selection, reponsibilities, secrecy, subpoena power, and indictments.
Economists and historians are still debating the causes of the Great Depression. While we know what happened, we have only theories to explain the reason for the economic collapse. This overview will arm you with knowledge of the political events that may have helped cause the Great Depression.
This issue summary provides background about abortion in America, presents various points of view on the political aspects of abortion, and provides links to pro choice and pro life organizations.
Describes the difference between authorization of a program and appropriations for a program.
Table showing the party in power (balance of power) in each of the three branches of government, from 1945-2008.
Find out when candidates for president in 2016 will begin announcing their campaigns. See when other presidential hopefuls have launched their campaigns. Learn how early candidates must begin their work to get elected.
Federal political action committees, PACs, raise
Find out how many days Congress really works in a year. See how the average work week for a member of Congress compares to that of the average American worker. Learn why the relative small number of session days for members of Congress can be misleading.
Read the definition of a super PAC. Learn about the history of super PACs and the role they play in presidential politics. See how the controversial committees came into existence.
See where marijuana is legal in the United States. See which states have legalized the recreational use of marijuana. Find out how federal laws and state laws are enforced.
Overview of Senate procedural Rule 22, filibuster and cloture .
Details the oath of office for members of Congress. Page 4.
Find out why there are 435 members of the House of Representatives. Learn about efforts to reduce the size of the U.S. Congress. See how the size of the House affects you.
Find out how social media has had changed American politics. See how political campaigns use Twitter and Facebook. Learn about the trouble some candidates have gotten into on social media networks.
Find out what a Blue Dog Democrat is. Read examples of Blue Dog Democrats in Congress. Learn how Blue Dog Democrats differ from ordinary Democrats.
How to get in touch with your U.S. congressman.
A step-by-step look at how new U.S. Supreme Court justices are chosen and nominated by the White House and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
Find out whether Americans born overseas are eligible to serve as U.S. president. See which candidates have been challenged over their eligibility. Learn what the Constitution and legal scholars say about whether presidents must have been born on American soil.
What powers are granted to the Senate by the US Constitution? Page 2.
What happens when a Senator dies in office or resigns? How is the replacement handled?
A Congressional Conference Committee is composed of members of the House of Representatives and the Senate, and it is charged with resolving disagreements on a specific piece of legislation.
The McCain-Feingold Act, Public Law 107-155. is United States federal law that regulates the financing of political campaigns; chief sponsors were Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Russell Feingold (D-WI). The law became effective 6 November 2002.
After a 10-year moratorium, the United States re-instituted the death penalty in 1977. This article provides an overview of statistics, arguments pro-and-con, background of capital punishment. Page 2.
Context for understanding how much is a billion.: financial ruin time politicians one thousand million quintillion quadrillion
Here's a list of the wealthiest members of Congress. Find out how much the wealthiest members of Congress are worth. See how much members of Congress earn compared with average Americans.
The Watergate scandal occurred during the presidency of Richard Nixon; it resulted in the indictment of several of Nixon's advisors and his resignation on 9 August 1974.
Read a biography of Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz. Find out where Ted Cruz stands on important issues. See why Ted Cruz is such a divisive figure in American politics.
The equal time rule This is a provision of the 1934 Communications Act (section 315) that
Find out whether you can recall a member of Congress. See what the U.S Constitution says about recalling a member of Congress. Learn about past attempts to recall members of Congress.
A Congressional session runs for one year, 3 January to sometime in December. Adjournment means that Congress is out of session, it is closed to business. This is in contrast to a recess, which we might think of as
Find out how to start a super PAC. See what steps you need to take to begin raising and spending money on elections. Learn what to do with your own super PAC once you've created it.
Earmarks are funds provided by the Congress for specific projects or programs in such a manner that the allocation (a) circumvents a merit-based or competitive allocation process; (b) applies to a very limited number of individuals or entities; or (c) otherwise curtails the ability of the Executive Branch to independently manage the agency budget
Read a complete list of American presidents with beards. Find out which presidents wore beards. See who were the first and most recent presidents to wear beards.
Find out how to get a job in politics. Learn about the different types of jobs in politics. See how to get started in politics.
Are illegal immigrants covered under Obamacare? Find out how undocumented immigrants can get free health care in the United States. Read about the controversy surrounding President Barack Obama's health care reform law.
When Barack Obama decided he wanted to run for the Illinois Senate in 1996, he ensured his candidacy by successfully challenging the nomination petitions of his four competitors. This article provides a timeline of Obama's political career.
Learn about the debate over term limits for politicians. See what the pros and cons are of term limits for Congress and the president. Find out what happened to legislation that would have imposed term limits on politicians.
Read a definition of sequestration. Find out how sequestration is used in the federal budget process. See examples of sequestration.
Context for understanding how much is a trillion.: jet planes financial ruin 1 000 bills time politicians one thousand million
Find out what lobbyists do. Read about their role in American politics. Learn about the rules and regulations covering lobbyists.
There have been 18 government shutdowns in modern U.S. political history. The longest lasted three weeks. Here is a list of all of them and their duration.
Find out why there aren't many bearded politicians in the United States. See why modern politicians don't wear facial hair. Learn about some of the famous bearded politicians in U.S. history.
The fourth estate is a term that references the press, positioning it as a fourth branch of government.
Learn about the 2016 presidential election. Find out when the 2016 president election is. See who's running in the 2016 presidential election.
The fairness doctrine was a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) policy. The FCC believed that broadcast licenses (required for both radio and terrestrial TV stations) were a form of public trust and, as such, licensees should provide balanced and fair coverage of controversial issues. The policy was a casualty of Reagan Administration deregulation.
The nation's health care system is once again in the spotlight as part of President Obama's policy agenda. Growing numbers of Americans are uninsured; costs keep rising (annual growth rate, 6.7%); and the public is increasingly worried about the issue. The U.S. spends more money on health care than any other nation. By 2017, we will be spending about $13,000 per person, according to the annual projection by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
: A "coattail" is "the loose back part of a coat that hangs below the waist," according to FreeDictionary.com
Read a definition of the cloture rule. Find out how the rule came into being in the U.S. Senate. Discover how often cloture is used.
Find out now the SpeechNow.org court case led to the creation of super PACs. Learn about the court arguments in the SpeechNow.org case. See how the SpeechNow.org case differed from the more widely known Citizens United court case.
Read of list of the scandals and controversies that occurred during President Barack Obama's administration. Find out the outcome of the Obama scandals and controversies. Learn about the impact the controversies had on Obama's agenda.
Learn about the 113th Congress. Discover the political makeup of the 113th Congress. Find out how many women and minorities were members of the 113th Congress.
Find out where Hillary Clinton stands on the issues. See what likely 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has said about the most important issues of the day. Learn how Hillary's position on some issues has changed over time.
Find out how many gun laws were signed by President Barack Obama. See what the gun laws signed by Obama actually do. Learn about Obama's proposals for gun control.
Read a list of the best campaign songs used by presidential candidates. Find out how politicians choose campaign theme music. See what recording artists had to say about their music being used by politicians.
Selecting, nominating and confirming a Supreme Court Justice is a multi-step process. The President nominates and the Senate confirms Supreme Court Justices.
Text of the US Civil Rights Act - 1964
A look at changes in U.S. immigration policy being considered by President Obama and the 111th Congress. Page 1 of 2.
Many controversial issues have been decided by a 5-4 vote of the Supreme Court; the swing vote is the person who is vote number five.
In 2002, Congress interjected the federal government into how states conduct federal elections when it passed the Help America Vote Act (HAVA - Public Law 107-252). The Act set up ID requirements for voters. Page 3.
Find out the date of the 2016 election. See which offices are up for election in 2016. Learn about who sets the date of the 2016 election.
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Explains entitlement programs and their importance in the federal budget.
Find out who was on the ballot in the 2013 election. See who was facing challenges in the 2013 election. Discover the important dates in the 2013 election.
Overview of the history of the draft in the US. Page 2.
Definition of a filibuster and how it has been used in the U.S. Senate, as well as famous filibustersn in Senate history and popular culture.
Learn about the influence of dark money in politics. Read a definition of dark money. See some example of dark money contributions to campaigns.
Learn about the practice of bundling in politics. Read a definition of bundling. Find out why people bundle campaign contributions.
President Barack Obama has had three press secretaries - Robert Gibbs, Jay Carney and Josh Earnest. Read about their backgrounds and controversies.
What is the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade?
Definition of partisan. US Politics.
Find out how electoral votes are distributed in U.S. presidential elections. Learn about controversies surrounding how electoral votes are distributed. Discover several proposals for changing the Electoral College and how electoral votes are distributed.
Passed in 1939, the Hatch Act restricts the political activity of executive branch employees of the federal government, District of Columbia government, and some state and local employees who work in connection with federally funded programs.
Chart of end-of-term Presidential Approval ratings. Links to current approval ratings -- job, Iraq -- as well as Presidential candidate polling data.
Find out why Americans dislike Congress intensely but keep re-election their own members of Congress. Learn about Congress' approval ratings and its member incumbency rates. See where there's a disparity between public opinion and re-election rates.
Find out what role Bill Clinton would play in a Hillary Clinton administration. Read what Hillary Clinton said about her husband's position in her administration. See what the former president says about his position in Hillary's administration.
Find out where Hillary Clinton stands on illegal immigration. See where she stands on the controversial path to citizenship for people living in the United States illegally.
Find out why Barack Obama was called the first gay president. Learn who historians claim truly was the first gay president. Read about the controversy surrounding the sexuality of American presidents.
A list of Americans who have won the Nobel Peace Prize.
Read about the Citizens United case against the Federal Election Commission. Find out what the legal arguments were in the landmark decision. Learn about the ruling's impact on campaign finance laws.
Find out what a landslide election is in American politics. See examples of landslide elections in modern congressional and presidential elections. Learn what percentage margin constitutes a landslide election win.
See the political makeup of the House of Representatives and Senate. Learn how many Republicans and Democrats have been sent to Washington over the years.
Current salaries for members of the U.S. Congress as well as the White House and the Courts.
This is a list of the 10 largest federal budget deficits in modern history. Find out under which president the biggest deficits occurred. See how those administrations explained their overspending.
What are the nationwide public holidays in the United States and how is a holiday born?
Although we cast a ballot for a presidential nominee on election day (the first Tuesday in November),
The Gang of Eight refers to eight members of Congress who must be briefed by the executive branch on matters of intelligence.
This is a list of living U.S. presidents. Find out which presidents are still alive. Learn who the oldest living president is in the United States.
See who Facebook cofounder Mark Zuckerberg supports for Congress. Find out how much money Zuckerberg and Facebook have contributed to political candidates.
Find out more about the grand bargain of 2012. See how the grand bargain would affect the national debt. Read about the political controversy surrounding the grand bargain.
Find out what President Barack Obama will do after leaving the White House in January 2017. See when Obama's last day in office is. Learn what former presidents do after leaving office.
A mid-term election occurs two years after a Presidential election; one-third of the Senate and all of the seats in the House of Representatives are at stake. Conventional wisdom holds that the President's party will lose seats during a mid-term election.
Use this gift guide to find the best political TV shows for the politico on your gift list.
Learn about a time when voters had to pass a test. Find out why some people think voters should have to pass a test on Election Day. See what federal laws say about forcing voters to pass a test.
This issue summary provides background about the Geneva Conventions and treatment of prisoners of war. The context is the current war against terrorism and events in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and Abu Ghraib, Iraq. Page 2.
See a list of leaders in the 113th Congress. Find out who holds which positions. Learn which party controls the House and Senate.
Executive orders are official documents by which the President of the United States manages the operations of the Federal Government.
Review of the life of Supreme Court Justice William Rehnquist, including notable decisions. Page 2.
The Emancipation Proclamation consists of two executive orders issued by U.S. President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War. These orders did not end slavery; that happened on 18 December 1865 with the passage of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.
A Congressional session runs for one year, 3 January to sometime in December. When Congress is in a recess, business has been put
Read a list of the most famous political quotes in U.S. history. Find out who uttered the most memorable political quotes. Learn the context of the most famous political quotes in America.
Here are 10 facts you may not have known about President Barack Obama. Learn the truth behind some of the most widespread myths about Barack Obama.
Learn about David Letterman's political views. Find out where the Late Show With David Letterman host stands on the issues. See why some viewers think Letterman is a liberal.
The year was 1979. Jimmy Carter was in the White House. G. William Miller was Treasury Secretary. And Chrysler was in trouble. Would the federal government help save he nation's number three automaker?
Terms of office, political affiliation, and brief bios of the Presidents of the United States.
Learn about President Barack Obama's net worth. See how much Obama and first lady Michelle Obama hold in assets. Learn about the Obamas' wealth.
: The Presidential Election Campaign Fund (PECF) is an attempt to publicly fund federal elections elections.
Find out how to run for Congress. Read these five steps to running for Congress. Learn about the process of running for the House of Representatives or the U.S. Senate.
Find out how many Keystone Pipeline jobs would be created. See why estimates for the number of jobs created by the pipeline differ. Discover who's making what claims about the project's benefit to the economy.
Issues surrounding the all volunteer Army and the draft.
Learn about some of the most famous landslide presidential elections in American political history. Find out which candidates won landslide presidential elections. See how much a landslide victory is in presidential politics.
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The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is responsible for ensuring the safety of civil aviation; it is functions as agency within the US Department of Transportation
The amendment would prohibit the federal government from spending more than it takes in, unless Congress specifically authorizes the additional spending.
Find out whether one vote can make a difference in American elections. Learn about the odds that presidential, congressional and legislative races can be decided by one vote. See which races in history have been decided by one vote.
President Bush nominated Third Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Samuel Alito to replace Sandra Day O'Connor. He was confirmed on 31 January 2006 and is the second Bush appointment to the Court.
Find out the date of the 2014 election. See which offices are on the ballot in the 2014 election. Learn more about the 2014 election.
An appropriation is money designated for a specific purpose by a state or federal legislature.
Find out what President Barack Obama did to address gun violence during his second term. See why neither gun enthusiasts nor gun-control activists were please. Discover the difference between executive actions and executive orders.
This overview examines six types of taxes and explores five principles used to judge whether a tax is good or bad.
Read a list of people pardoned by President Barack Obama. Find out what crimes those people committee. Learn how long they were sentenced for their crimes before being pardoned by Obama.
Learn about Janet Yellen and her work on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. Find out whether Janet Yellen will be nominated to replace Ben Bernanke as the Fed chairman. See where Yellen has worked before joining the Federal Reserve Board.
Find out how much the U.S. presidential plane Air Force One Costs taxpayers. Learn about whether the president uses the airplane for political purposes. See how the president reimburses for Air Force One costs when it's used for less-than-official purposes.
Here is a list of requirements for voting. Find out what you need on Election Day. Read this list of essentials for the polling place.
On 15 March 15 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson addressed Congress, calling for passage of the voting rights act. The speech cam one week after a gathering in Selma, AL led to deadly violence when African-Americans preparing to march to Montgomery were attacked by police. A white Unitarian Minister from Boston, James J. Reeb, was killed.
Here are the number of pardons by president. See which president issued the largest number of pardons. Find out which president issued the least amount of pardons.
Find out what careers members of Congress held before being elected to the House and Senate. See how many members of Congress consider themselves to be career politicians. Learn about some of the most unusual careers held by members of Congress.
Presidents of the United States -- beginning with George Washington -- have claimed that the Constitutional principle of separation of powers grants the Executive Branch the right to resist some Congressional or Judiciary requests for information.
Find out where likely 2016 presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton stands on the Keystone XL pipeline. Read what Clinton has said about the Keystone XL project. Learn about the political risks Clinton faces over her position on the Keystone XL pipeline.
Top 10 classic political novels, from 1984 to To Kill a Mockingbird.
As the end of President Bush's term drew near, he had pardoned about half as many people as his prior two-term predecessors, Clinton and Ronald Reagan. Page 4.
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The Davis-Bacon Act (1931) requires federal contractors to pay prevailing wages -- in other words, public funds cannot be used in price discrimination. Ironically, an Act championed by Republicans has been suspended most almost exclusively by Republican Presidents.
Find out what a swing state is in American politics. See which states are considered swing states. Learn about the importance of swing states in presidential elections.
Learn about the government shutdown of 2013. Find out what caused the government shutdown of 2013. See why Republicans and Democrats couldn't agree on a budget in time for the new fiscal year.
The Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA) provides for both the conservation and protection of plant and
Read the most prevalent myths about President Barack Obama's executive orders. Learn the truth behind the myths. Find out how Obama's use of executive orders compared to that of other modern presidents.
Why is the March 2013 snowstorm called the snowquester?
Find out where all that money comes from to fund political campaigns. See which kinds of people and organizations give money to candidate. Learn how the money is used.
Details on the bills that have been vetoed by President George W. Bush (43).