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American Civics Basics

The United States is the world's oldest surviving federation. It is a constitutional republic, "in which majority rule is tempered by minority rights protected by law." It is fundamentally structured as a representative democracy, though U.S. citizens residing in the territories are excluded from voting for federal officials.

What do you know about the government of the United States? Try this quick quiz.

FUN Trivia Quizzes powered by ABE1. The government is regulated by a system of checks and balances. What document serves as the country's supreme legal document and as a social contract for the American people?

2. In the American federalist system, citizens are usually subject to three levels of government, federal, state, and local; the local government's duties are commonly split between county and municipal governments. True or False?

3. In almost all cases, executive and legislative officials are elected by a plurality vote of citizens by district. There is no proportional representation at the federal level, and it is very rare at lower levels. True or False?

4. Federal and state judicial and cabinet officials are typically nominated by the executive branch, although some state judges and officials are elected by popular vote. Who approves judicial and cabinet officials nominate by the executive branch?

5. What are the functions of the Legislative Branch?

6. What are the duties of the Executive Branch?

7. What are the duties of the Judicial Branch?

8. How many states only have one representative in the House of Representatives?

9. The Senate has 100 members with each state having two senators, elected at-large to four-year terms; one third of Senate seats are up for election every other year. True or False?

10. Who elects the President of the United States?

11. How long does the members of the Supreme Court serve?




1. The U.S. Constitution

2. True

3. True

4. the legislature

5. Legislative: The bicameral Congress, made up of the Senate and the House of Representatives, makes federal law, declares war, approves treaties, has the power of the purse, and has the power of impeachment, by which it can remove sitting members of the government.

6. Executive: The president is the commander-in-chief of the military, can veto legislative bills before they become law, and appoints the Cabinet and other officers, who administer and enforce federal laws and policies.

7. Judicial: The Supreme Court and lower federal courts, whose judges are appointed by the president with Senate approval, appoints, interpret laws, and can overturn laws they deem unconstitutional.

8. The House of Representatives has 435 members, each representing a congressional district for a two-year term. House seats are apportioned among the states by population every tenth year. As of the 2000 census, seven states have the minimum of one representative, while California, the most populous state, has fifty-three.

9. False.  The Senate has 100 members with each state having two senators, elected at-large to six-year terms; one third of Senate seats are up for election every other year.

10. The president serves a four-year term and may be elected to the office no more than twice. The president is not elected by direct vote, but by an indirect electoral college system in which the determining votes are apportioned by state.

11. The Supreme Court, led by the Chief Justice of the United States, has nine members, who serve for life.

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