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In the United Statesmarker, divided government describes a situation in which one party controls the White Housemarker and another party controls one or both houses of the United States Congress. Divided government is suggested by some to be an undesirable product of the separation of powers in the United States' political system. Earlier in the 20th century, divided government was rare. In recent years, however, it has become common, especially since the Watergate scandal of Richard Nixon, prompting the ideology that a divided government is esoteric for the country.

Unified and Divided Party Control of Government in the United States. D and R denotes for the Democratic Party and Republican Party respectively.

Year President Senate House
1901-1903 R R R
1903-1905 R R R
1905-1907 R R R
1907-1909 R R R
1909-1911 R R R
1911-1913 R R D
1913-1915 D D D
1915-1917 D D D
1917-1919 D D D
1919-1921 D R R
1921-1923 R R R
1923-1925 R R R
1925-1927 R R R
1927-1929 R R R
1929-1931 R R R
1931-1933 R R D
1933-1935 D D D
1935-1937 D D D
1937-1939 D D D
1939-1941 D D D
1941-1943 D D D
1943-1945 D D D
1945-1947 D D D
1947-1949 D R R
1949-1951 D D D
1951-1953 D D D
1953-1955 R R R
1955-1957 R D D
1957-1959 R D D
1959-1961 R D D
1961-1963 D D D
1963-1965 D D D
1965-1967 D D D
1967-1969 D D D
1969-1971 R D D
1971-1973 R D D
1973-1975 R D D
1975-1977 R D D
1977-1979 D D D
1979-1981 D D D
1981-1983 R R D
1983-1985 R R D
1985-1987 R R D
1987-1989 R D D
1989-1991 R D D
1991-1993 R D D
1993-1995 D D D
1995-1997 D R R
1997-1999 D R R
1999-2001 D R R
2001-2003 R D R
2003-2005 R R R
2005-2007 R R R
2007-2009 R D D
2009-2011 D D D


In Parliamentary systems such as the United Kingdommarker, the executive relies on Parliamentary support for its existence. In the United States, however, the constitution is designed to create conflict between the executive and legislative branches of government.

Despite the perceived problems of divided government, the President and Congress are often able, out of necessity, to establish an effective working relationship.

See also



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