Ecjs THE BRITISH MONARCHY AND US REPUBLIC TODAY•

II. The US republic today (docs 1, 4 & 5)

• Government buildings
The White House : represents the executive power held by president Joe Biden - and vice president Kamala Harris ;
The Capitol : represents the legislative power held by Congress composed of the Senate and the House of Representatives

• A democracy
In 1787 the USA wasn’t a democracy because US voters had to be white, male and free owners so Black slaves, women and non-owners were excluded : it was a restricted franchise.
African-American slaves were emancipated by President Lincoln who abolished slavery in 1865. They became citizens but were prevented from voting. They only got the right to vote one century later in 1965 thanks to the civil rights struggle led by Martin Luther King. Today the US is a democracy, everyone votes : it’s a universal franchise.

• The president’s role
The president of the USA is both the head of state and of government, so there is no prime minister in the USA. It’s called a presidential regime


Notions & vocabulary

democracy: when the people is sovereign and exercise power through the vote ; government of the people, by the people, for the people.
franchise: the right to vote. Can be restricted (in French: suffrage censitaire) or universal (in French: suffrage universel).
Commonwealth: current association between the UK and its former colonies, its former empire.
a voter: un électeur, à ne pas confondre avec an elector: un grand électeur dans un suffrage indirect.