Overview of New York City

Politics of New York City

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Politics in the USA

The United States is the world's oldest surviving federation with a constitutional republic, and the country prides itself on being a democracy, but is more accurately a representative democracy.

The U.S. Constitution provides a strict system of checks and balances. The constitution remains the country's supreme legal document and a social contract for the American people.

In the American political system, there are three levels of government: federal, state, and local. The local government's duties are commonly split between county and municipal governments. In almost all cases, executive and legislative officials are elected by a plurality vote of citizens by district.

Executive, Legislative and Judiciary power

  • The Legislative is the bicameral Congress which is made up of the Senate and the House of Representatives. It is responsible for making federal law, declaring war, approving treaties, and has the power of impeachment.
  • The Executive branch consists of the president, commander-in-chief. It is formally independent of both the legislature and the judiciary.
  • The Judicial, which is made up of the Supreme Court and lower federal courts. Their primary job is to interpret laws and they can overturn laws they deem unconstitutional.

In order to be included on the Electoral Register and be able to vote, you will need to be at least 18 years of age on the day the Register comes into force.

* Notice that, all states and the District of Columbia contribute to the electoral vote for president. However, U.S. holdings like Puerto Rico and Guam, lack of federal representation in Congress. These constituencies do not have the right to choose any political figure outside their respective areas.

Political System in New York City

New York City politics were once dominated by a political organization known as Tammany Hall. The organization was based on patronage and "behind-the-scenes" control and was mostly supported by the many Irish Catholic immigrants who flooded into the city in the early 1800s.

Also known as the Society of St. Tammany, the Sons of St. Tammany, or the Columbian Order, it was founded on May 12, 1789. The name and many of the group's customs were derived from the Native Americans who first lived in New York, the Lenape. The first leader of the "tribe" was called the Grand Sachem and was named William Mooney. From here, the party continued to expand in power and eventually supported Aaron Burr, who was curiously never a member of the Society. Burr used the Tammany Society for the election of 1800, in which he was elected Vice President.

After 1829, Tammany Hall became the city affiliate of the Democratic Party and continued to control most of the New York City elections. However, its power finally collapsed in the difficult years of the Great Depression around 1930. The election of non-Tammany Hall Fiorello LaGuardia as mayor in 1933 marked the fall of the group after eighty years of political dominance.

After the Tammany Hall era, when New York was once a powerful swing state in presidential elections, the state changed into an uncontested "blue state"-meaning that it is presumed safe for the Democrats. A few Republicans have held the office of Mayor of New York City, but most have had to support liberal social issues to reflect the will of the people. For complete a list and history of mayors click here.

New York City today is a metropolitan municipality with a strong mayor-council form of government. This makes the area's government more centralized than most other U.S. cities.

Political Organization in NYC

The New York City mayor is elected to a four-year term and is in charge of administration of city government.

On the other hand, the City Council is a unicameral body consisting of 51 members, each elected for four-year terms. All elected officials (other than those elected before 2010, who are limited to three consecutive terms) are subject to a two consecutive-term limit.

The court system consists of two citywide courts and three statewide courts.

All these branches together are responsible for public education, correctional institutions, public safety, recreational facilities, sanitation, water supply and welfare services.

New York City government employs 325,000 people, more than any other city in the US and more than any US state but two: California and Texas.

New York's City Hall is located at the centre of City Hall Park in the Civic Centre section of Lower Manhattan. The building is the oldest City Hall in the United States that still houses its original governmental functions. The City Hall houses the office of the Mayor of New York City and the chambers of the New York City Council. Constructed from 1803 to 1812.

Official New York City government website: www.nyc.gov/

Update 13/02/2020

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