Do You Know Who Does What in Government?


By: John Miller

6 Min Quiz

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About This Quiz

America's government is a vast and complicated hierarchy complicated by a system of checks and balances. Do you have any idea who does what in our government?

Who is the commander-in-chief of the American military?

The American president is the commander-in-chief of the military. He or she ultimately calls the shots in armed conflicts, and the president has a plethora of other responsibilities in the executive branch of government, too.


Who leads the executive government of each U.S. state?

Each of the 50 states elects a governor to office. Those governors are the top leaders of state executive government.


If the president becomes incapacitated, who takes charge?

The vice president is indirectly elected as part of the presidential election cycle. If something bad happens to the president, it's the VP who steps out of virtual anonymity into the most powerful position in the world.


Who is the top leader in the United States House of Representatives?

The House of Representatives is the lower chamber of Congress, made up of representatives from each state. The speaker of the House is the presiding official in the House -- it's usually the leader of the party that's in control of the House.


The chair of the Federal Reserve is in charge of which aspect of the government?

The chair of the Federal Reserve is top dog in the federal banking system. The president chooses the chair, who serves a four-year term.


A mayor is the leader of what entity?

Mayors are the elected leaders of cities and towns all over the country. Mayors of major cities like Chicago and New York wield considerable influence at all levels of American government.


Who is the top federal official in dealing with foreign affairs?

The secretary of state serves a vital and prominent role -- that of conducting and coordinating diplomatic relations with other countries. This position is incredibly important in times of both peace and war.


Who is the head of the entire U.S. federal court system?

The chief justice of the United States is the top leader of the entire federal court system. As with all federal judges, the chief justice is nominated by the president and must undergo an (often contested) confirmation process.


Which person offers critical advice to the president on financial matters?

The secretary of the Treasury is a financial expert who offers advice on monetary issues. It's a critical position that can wield great influence over the country's economic future.


If both the president and vice president are incapacitated, who is next in line to take control of presidential duties?

If neither the president or VP is able to rule, er, govern, the Speaker of the House is next in line. Hold on to that gavel, speaker! It'll come in handy as you pursue your dreams of a dictatorship.


If you're concerned about farming policies or invasive species that harm crops, you'd turn to the _______.

Farming and food production are major concerns for the secretary of agriculture. This person molds policies that (hopefully) maximize food supplies while ensuring that producers can turn a profit.


Who is the top official at the Department of Justice?

The attorney general is the top law enforcement official in the land, the head of the Department of Justice. So when you wind up in prison for a murder you didn't commit … you know who to call for help.


Which person has the job of developing American industries at home and abroad?

The secretary of commerce is an expert in business development. He or she attempts to expand and strengthen American businesses on both domestic and foreign lands.


Who is the leader of the majority party in the Senate?

The Senate Majority leader is the top leader of the controlling party of the Senate. He or she is the primary spokesperson for that party in the Senate.


Who is in charge of managing federal lands?

The secretary of the interior makes important decisions regarding federal lands. He or she has power over areas like national parks and the Bureau of Land Management.


Who negotiates treaties between America and other nations?

The secretary of state is the leader of the treaties and their conditions. He or she negotiates with other countries to find solutions to diplomatic issues.


Which person is supposed to keep members of Congress in line with respect to a certain party's agenda?

The majority and minority whips are tasked with reminding voting members of Congress as to their respective party's agenda. On hotly contested issues, the whips may struggle to keep votes within party lines.


Who is the top leader of a U.S. territory?

As with U.S. states, governors are the top leaders of territories like Puerto Rico and Guam. They often advocate for their constituents by appealing to Washington for assistance on various matters. Often, they are ignored because, you know, they're just territories.


When there is a tie vote in the Senate, who steps in to place his or her tie-breaking vote?

Voting ties in the Senate aren't exactly commonplace. But when they occur, it's up to the vice president to cast his or her vote, which then breaks the tie. Afterward, the vice president again fades into obscurity, playing golf and dreaming of presidential incapacitation.


If you're concerned about workplace challenges, you might turn to the ______.

Workplace laws of all kinds are the concern of the secretary of labor. The person in this position can greatly influence the American workplace in countless ways, from day-to-day work life to unions and much more.


People who serve in the military rely heavily on the guidance of the ____.

The secretary of Veterans Affairs is a leader in guiding policies that affect veterans' benefits and welfare. Shoddy guidance in this area results in a lot of really negative press.


Who works on policies that have a profound effect on the nation's highway system?

The secretary of transportation works on policies and plans for America's highways. Road infrastructure has an enormous impact on everything from the economy to national defense.


Which person manages much of the day-to-day life in the White House?

The White House chief of staff is an important manager of life at the White House. He or she supervises and controls many of the people who have access to the president.


If you need to know all about power production and regulation you might consult the _______.

Will it be wind power or dinosaur bones? Power production and associated laws are the domain of the secretary of energy. This position has the power to influence how America creates power for daily life and work.


Who is the highest-ranking officer who advises the president on military matters?

"I say we bomb Canada, immediately." The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is one of the most important people in federal government. He or she offers strategy and advice on matters regarding America's military engagements.


Who is in charge of handling matters of human condition and welfare in America?

When it comes to health issues and welfare matters, the secretary of Health and Human Services is a powerful person. This person advises the president on a vast array of matters that affect health and the populace.


Who advises the president on matters related to the nation's education system?

"Mr. President, I think we should, like, ban No. 2 pencils because they are poisonous." America's educational system sets the stage for the country's successes and failures. And the secretary of education helps (or hinders) the policies that change the lives of learners across the land.


Who is the top intelligence professional in the government?

The director of national intelligence serves as part of the president's cabinet. He or she is responsible for coordinating all of America's intelligence agencies and making sure the KGB doesn't attempt to usurp the New World Order.


Which person represents America at a global level?

The ambassador to the United Nations is America's representative at the United Nations. This critical position is nominated by the president and must be confirmed by the Senate.


Which fairly new position is meant to protect American citizens?

In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, a new position -- secretary of homeland security -- was created. The primary mission of this person is to keep American citizens safe.


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