Template:Infobox U.S. state

The State of California (IPA: /[[IPA chart for English|Template:IPA]]/) is the most populous state of the United States of America. Located on the Pacific coast of North America, it is bordered by Oregon, Nevada and Arizona in the United States, and Baja California in Mexico. The state's four largest cities are Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose and San Francisco. California is known for its diverse climate and ethnically diverse population. The state has 58 counties.

State politics and governmentEdit


California is governed as a republic, with three branches of government: the executive branch consisting of the Governor of California and the other independently elected constitutional officers; the legislative branch consisting of the Assembly and Senate; and the judicial branch consisting of the Supreme Court of California and lower courts. The state also allows direct participation of the electorate by initiative, referendum, recall, and ratification. California follows a closed primary system. The state's capital is Sacramento.

The Governor of California and the other state constitutional officers serve four-year terms and may be re-elected only once. The California State Legislature consists of a 40 member Senate and 80 member Assembly. Senators serve four year terms and Assembly members two. Members of the Assembly are subject to term limits of 3 terms, and members of the Senate are subject to term limits of 2 terms.

For the 2007–2008 session, there are 48 Democrats and 32 Republicans in the Assembly. In the Senate, there are 25 Democrats and 15 Republicans. The current governor is Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was re-elected to a term that lasts through January 2011.


California's judiciary is the largest in the United States (with a total of 1,600 judges, while the federal system has only about 840). It is supervised by the seven Justices of the Supreme Court of California. Justices of the Supreme Court and Courts of Appeal are appointed by the Governor, but are subject to retention by the electorate every 12 years.

Presidential elections results
Year Republican Democratic
2004 44.36% 5,509,826 54.31% 6,745,485
2000 41.65% 4,567,429 53.45% 5,861,203
1996 38.21% 3,828,380 51.10% 5,119,835
1992 32.61% 3,630,574 46.01% 5,121,325
1988 51.13% 5,054,917 47.56% 4,702,233
1984 57.51% 5,467,009 41.27% 3,922,519
1980 52.69% 4,524,858 35.91% 3,083,661
1976 49.35% 3,882,244 47.57% 3,742,284
1972 55.00% 4,602,096 41.54% 3,475,847
1968 47.82% 3,467,664 44.74% 3,244,318
1964 40.79% 2,879,108 59.11% 4,171,877
1960 50.10% 3,259,722 49.55% 3,224,099

Political cultureEdit

California has an idiosyncratic political culture. It was the second state to legalize abortion and one of the first states to legalize domestic partnerships for gay couples, and was also the first where voters decided that only marriage between a man and a woman would be recognized (legalized domestic partnerships were not approved by voters, but were made law by the state legislature). California was the first state in which voters approved a measure to deny social services to illegal immigrants and was also the first state in which voters passed a law ending affirmative action.

The state's African American vote remains mostly loyal to the Democrats, while Latinos and Asians tend to vote Democratic to a lesser degree. Conservative Caucasians in the suburbs and rural areas are typically reliable Republican voters. Partisan demographics have shifted in past twenty years with the once-Republican inner suburbans moving to the Democrats; Republicans count on the votes in the fast-growing Inland Empire and Central Valley to make up the difference. Some Democratic activists are pushing for the party to make a stronger effort to be competitive in these areas, and parts of these areas have become more Democratic while others remain strongly Republican.

Democratic strength is centered in the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles County. Democrats are also the majority in Sacramento and San Diego, but those majorities are often offset by Republican strength in their suburbs, making the county highly competitive. (Sacramento County leans Democratic, whereas San Diego County leans Republican). Republican strength is greatest in the San Joaquin Valley, which includes the rapidly-growing cities of Stockton, Modesto, Fresno, and Bakersfield, the suburban counties surrounding Los Angeles (especially Orange County), and suburban San Diego.

Since 1990, California has generally elected Democratic candidates. However, the state has had little hesitance in electing Republican Governors. Of California's past four Governors, three of them were Republicans. The Democrat, Gray Davis, was removed from office via recall election.

California state lawEdit

California's legal system is explicitly based on English common law (as is the case with all other states except Louisiana) but carries a few features from Spanish civil law, such as community property. Capital punishment is a legal form of punishment and the state has the largest "Death Row" population in the country (though Texas is far more active in carrying out executions).

Cities, towns and countiesEdit

For lists of cities, towns, and counties in California, see List of cities in California (by population), List of cities in California, List of urbanized areas in California (by population), List of counties in California, and California locations by per capita income.

The state of California has 478 incorporated cities and towns, of which 456 are cities and 22 are towns. The majority of these cities and towns are within one of four metropolitan areas. Sixty-eight percent of California's population lives in its two largest metropolitan areas, Greater Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area. Although smaller, the other two large population centers are the San Diego and the Sacramento metro areas.

The state recognizes two kinds of cities--charter and general law.[1] General law cities owe their existence to state law and consequentially governed by it; charter cities are governed by their own city charters.[2] Cities incorporated in the 19th century tend to be charter cities. All of the state's ten most populous cities are charter cities.

Further readingEdit

  • Chartkoff, Joseph L.; Chartkoff, Kerry Kona (1984). The archaeology of California. Stanford: Stanford University Press. 
  • Fagan, Brian (2003). Before California: An archaeologist looks at our earliest inhabitants. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. 
  • Moratto, Michael J.; Fredrickson, David A. (1984). California archaeology. Orlando: Academic Press. 
  • Ed. Melton, J. Gordon (2003). Encyclopedia of American Religions. Detroit: Gale. 

See alsoEdit


External linksEdit

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Tourism & recreation

California is a popular destination for tourism and recreation during any season of the year




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Smallwikipedialogo.png This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at California. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Governance Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.

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