This page shows users locating research tools published by federal, state, and local governments within the United States and internationally. On this page, there is an overview of general resources for broader topics. Additional pages on this guide highlight more subject-specific resources for government information.
The following list is additional databases that will likely contain information that is related to the discipline of military and veteran-related topics and which service members and veterans may find useful information.
The Founding Fathers, the framers of the U.S. Constitution, wanted to form a government that did not allow one person to have too much control. With this in mind, they wrote the Constitution to provide for a separation of powers or three separate branches of government.
Each branch has its own responsibilities and at the same time, the three branches work together to make the country run smoothly and to assure that the rights of citizens are not ignored or disallowed. This is done through checks and balances. A branch may use its powers to check the powers of the other two in order to maintain a balance of power among the three branches of government.
The Senate has 100 elected senators total; 2 senators per state. Each senator serves a 6-year term.
The House has 435 voting representatives; the number of representatives from each state is based on the state's population. Each representative serves a two-year term and may be re-elected.
The executive branch is composed of the president, vice president, and Cabinet members.
The president is the head of state, head of the U.S. government, and the commander-in-chief of the U.S. military.
The vice president not only supports the president but also acts as the presiding officer of the Senate.
The Cabinet members are nominated by the president and must be approved by the Senate (with at least 51 votes). They serve as the president's advisors and heads of various departments and agencies.
The judicial branch of government is made up of the court system.
The Supreme Court is the highest court in the country. The nine justices are nominated by the president and must be approved by the Senate (with at least 51 votes).
There are lower Federal courts but they were not created by the Constitution. Congress established them around the country to handle federal business as the country grew, using the power granted by the Constitution.
The executive branch carries out and enforces laws. It includes the president, vice president, the Cabinet, executive departments, independent agencies, and other boards, commissions, and committees.
American citizens have the right to vote for the president and vice president through free, confidential ballots.
Key roles of the executive branch include:
Much of the work in the executive branch is done by federal agencies, departments, committees, and other groups.
Executive Office of the President
The Executive Office of the president communicates the president's message and deals with the federal budget, security, and other high priorities.
These are the main agencies of the federal government. The heads of these 15 agencies are also members of the president's cabinet.
There are many sub-agencies and bureaus under the umbrella of the executive branch of government. usa.gov has a comprehensive list of these areas of government.
To find it:
The Judicial Branch
|The Supreme Court of the United States|
|United States Court of Appeals For the Federal Circuit|
|Federal Court System|
The Supreme Court is the highest court in the United States. Article III of the U.S. Constitution created the Supreme Court and authorized Congress to pass laws establishing a system of lower courts. In the federal court system’s present form, 94 district-level trial courts and 13 courts of appeals sit below the Supreme Court. Learn more about the Supreme Court.
There are 13 appellate courts that sit below the U.S. Supreme Court, and they are called the U.S. Courts of Appeals. The 94 federal judicial districts are organized into 12 regional circuits, each of which has a court of appeals. The appellate court’s task is to determine whether or not the law was applied correctly in the trial court. Appeals courts consist of three judges and do not use a jury.
A court of appeals hears challenges to district court decisions from courts located within its circuit, as well as appeals from decisions of federal administrative agencies.
In addition, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has nationwide jurisdiction to hear appeals in specialized cases, such as those involving patent laws, and cases decided by the U.S. Court of International Trade and the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.
Learn more about the courts of appeals.
Bankruptcy Appellate Panels (BAPs) are 3-judge panels authorized to hear appeals of bankruptcy court decisions. These panels are a unit of the federal courts of appeals and must be established by that circuit.
Congress created several Article I, or legislative courts, that do not have full judicial power. Judicial power is the authority to be the final decider in all questions of Constitutional law, all questions of federal law and to hear claims at the core of habeas corpus issues. Article I Courts are:
The federal government publishes tons of information on the offices, departments, agencies, and other parts of the government that are publically available. Below are some of the most relevant web sources on the three branches of government.
Internal Revenue Service: Statistics (Statistics of Taxes and Income)
The Bureau of Labor Statistics maintains a list of additional web resources for finding statistical information related to government-published topics.
Check out the Statistics page on this guide for additional government-published statistics.