Our government has not always been as successful as it is today. America’s government began with the Articles of Confederation and separate state constitutions. This was difficult. The country was not united. Each state took care of everything on their own and the national government could not do anything. Our country had no national money or militia. Traveling was almost impossible. There were very few positive concepts with the Articles of Confederation. Our present government is a federalism. This means there is equal power between the government and the people. Our government is divided into three branches: legislative, executive, and judicial. We can find information on these federal branches in the United States Constitution. We find information on the state level of these branches in our Minnesota Constitution. Our government at the state and federal levels have many similarities along with differences.
The legislative branch in both levels are government are not as similar as they may seem. The requirements are the same, but for a different number of years. To be a member of the House of Representatives or a Senator in the state, one must be 21 years old. At the federal level, one must be 30 years to become a senator and 25 years to a House member. At both levels, a member must be a resident of the state they represent. At both levels, the function of the legislative branch is to create laws. Both levels have a bicameral legislature made up of a House of Representatives and a Senate. Both levels have committees: standing and conference. These committees are two steps in the process it takes for a bill to become a law. The structure of the legislative branch is the same ideas in both levels of government, but is not the same. In the federal Congress, the number of representatives is determined by population in each state, totaling 435 representatives in the House. In Minnesota’s state government, there is one representative for each House district, totaling to 134. The House districts are split up to have a roughly equal amount of people in each district. Therefore the number of representatives is based on population for both levels. There are two senators for every state in the federal level, making 100 senators. There are 67 senators in the Minnesota government, one from each Senate district. There are two House districts in every Senate district. The legislative branch has an overall goal to create laws, but they conquer that task
somewhat differently between the state and federal government.
The executive branch enforces laws in both the state and federal governments. The earliest example of an executive leader was the Royal Governor appointed by the King of England.The executive branch was seen as something that would become too powerful to the colonists. Therefore the President was originally a symbolic post, compared to the important job it is today. At the federal level, we have the President of the United States as main power. There is also the Cabinet that consists of the heads of the fifteen executive departments. At the state level, we have the Governor as the main officer. There is also the Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, State Auditor, and Attorney General. The Governor has many jobs to do. Some of his responsibilities include administering laws and affairs in the state, appointing heads of departments and judges when there is a vacancy, acting as commander-in-chief of state military forces, and approving or vetoing bills. These are the same tasks the President has, but he does them on a national level. The President has a couple more powers than the governor because these are elements specific to the entire nation. The President can convene Congress, make treaties with other nations, and pardon someone of a crime’s consequence. There are some differences between the two executive branches, but overall they are part of the government to administer laws.
The judicial branch is almost the same in structure at both levels, but unlike in content. The setup of the courts starts with District Court, then goes to the Court of Appeals, and finishes at the Supreme Court. The are 94 federal district courts, and 10 Minnesota district courts. Equal to the federal district court, the state district courts hear the most cases. However, federal courts hear cases that are national offenses, including violated rights in the Constitution, federal crimes, dispute within the U.S. government, controversies between states or between countries, or a crime committed on the high seas. State courts hear criminal and civil cases that take place in that state. This is the main difference between the state and federal levels. The other courts are set up similarly. The court up from the District Court is the Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals hears appealed cases from the lower court for the second time, but does not come to the verdict of guilty or innocent. The Court of Appeals decides if the case was given a fair trial in the District Court. The number of judges is what differs between federal and state appellate courts. The federal Court of Appeals has a three-judge panel, while the state Court of Appeals has one chief judge and fifteen associate judges. The highest court is the Supreme Court. At both levels of government, the Supreme Court listens to cases that involve the constitution for the first or greater time. There is only one Federal Supreme Court and one Minnesota Supreme Court. In the federal court, there are 9 judges, called justices. The Minnesota Supreme Court has one chief justice and six associate justices. As now pointed out, the judicial branch has the same same structure in the two levels of government with minor differences between.
The state government and federal government have many similarities as well as differences. The legislative, executive, and judicial branches all have the same idea in function for both federal and state governments. They all have their differences in setup and organization, but overall have the same idea: to run our country. The state government is a specific version of our federal government. Our government today is enough to take pride in. We are no longer separated states, but are now one united country. We do have individual state constitutions, but we are a connected nation.