The Harry Potter Lexicon Link to Main page of the Harry Potter Lexicon.

The Lexicon Blog

What is the US equivalent of the Ministry of Magic?

daily_prophet_snipThere’s not much information in the canon about witches and wizards in the United States. Rowling mentions a couple of American Quidditch teams in Quidditch Through the Ages, including one in my home state of Texas, as well as the American broom game called Quodpot, and we all remember the cryptic mention of the Salem Witches’ Institute in Goblet of Fire. However, buried in a news report from the currently-ongoing Quidditch World Cup in Patagonia was a very interesting little nugget of new information: the name of the governmental organization in the US which is the equivalent of the British Ministry of Magic! Not only that, but the name of the President is also  included (and no, it’s not Barak Obama, although that does sound like a fantastic Wizarding name, if you ask me).

According to the Daily Prophet article, straight from the pen of J.K. Rowling under the pseudonym of Ginny Weasley, the governing body for magic in the USA is called the MACUSA (Magical Congress of the United States of America). The President of the Magical Congress is President Samuel G. Quahog.

So there you have it. One can’t help but wonder if the Magical Congress is as polarized and unable to get anything done as it’s Muggle counterpart.

This entry was posted in Canon discussion and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
  • Todd Abbott

    Interesting. That does bring up an interesting point… How does the Wizarding World’s government get funding? Do they have taxes or is it somehow funded just through all the licenses and fees? They do control almost all the transportation in one way or another (Flue Network, Apparition Testing, Broomstick Regulation, Portkey Office…). They have a huge restriction on trade (poisons, magic carpets, cursed items…), and they control the sports (Quidditch and Tri Wizard Tournament). It sounds like the School supports itself and so does the Hospital (through donations it seems and medical treatment is free). Banking also seems completely separate too. They never talk about a sales tax. If they had property taxes than the Guants would have lost their property a long time ago.

    • hpboy13

      I’ve thought about that to, and I think the answer is “magic.” Because the Ministry controls so much of the wizarding economy (the sports, having much of the workforce on payroll, etc.) I think they just enchant enough money through Gringotts to keep the economy going, though not enough to induce inflation. This type of thing would be easier when so many people’s salary is determined by the government.

      Otherwise, I don’t see the economy working considering the goblins essentially give away money to anyone who walks in with Muggle currency (which Jo has said the goblins give away because it’s worthless int he wizarding world).

      Also brings up the question – are the galleon/sickle/knut the universal wizarding currency, or do different countries have different ones? And if my above assumption is correct, imagine the nightmare that is exchange rates!

  • Lisa H.

    Quahog. *sigh* Of course. (One wonders if the honored gentleman drinks the wizarding equivalent of Pawtucket Patriot.) I suppose she just found the sound of the word funny, as that seems to be a principle she applied to the creation of a good number of wizarding names.

  • James Jennings

    Here’s my idea for the American magical government, the Magical Congress of the USA (MACUSA) and it’s President share power with a Head Witch. The Head Witch is elected by members of the Salem Witchs’ Institute (which is more a womens’ organization than a wizarding school) to serve as head of state for the United States’ wizarding community. MACUSA itself is primarily composed of Senators whoe are elected at least once every seven years (although the Head Witch has the authority to call for an early election). However, the President of MACUSA is appointed by the Head Witch from the ranks of the elected Senators. The President in turn appoints a cabinet of five to ten members from the ranks of the Magical Congress. The Head Witch also has (at least) a technical/theoretical veto over legislation, since any bill passed by a MACUSA majority must be signed into law by the Head Witch. Judicial power in the American magical government is vested in a United States Wizengamot whose members are appointed by the Head Witch, usually on the advice of a Congressional majority. The Head Witch also appoints delegates to the International Confederation of Wizards, usually on the advice of a MACUSA majority. The Head Witch also has the authority to appoint “acting” Senators to vacant seats in the Magical Congress.
    In practical terms, the MACUSA Senators mostly vote on bills supported by the President or a majority of the cabinet.
    The current system of American magical government dates from 1792, when the Magical Congress was first elected. The traditionally dominant parties in the Magical Congress were the Unicorn Party (good-government types) and the Dragon Party (nationalists). There has also been a small Anti-Muggle Party, represented by only a handful of Senators. Since 1876, however, the Donkey and Elephant Parties (offshoots of the main American Muggle parties) have gained influence within MACUSA. Since the late 19th Century, the President and cabinet have represented a coalition of two or three parties, generally a two-party coalition of Dragons and Unicorns or Dragons and Elephants or Unicorns and Donkeys or a three-party coalition of Dragons, Unicorns, and Elephants.
    The Salem Witchs’ Institute, apart from it’s political role in which SWI members elect the Head Witch, was originally founded in 1649 in Salem, Massachusetts as a magical Womens’ institue. The SWI historically has been involved in the manufacture of wands, flying broomsticks, cauldrons, and certain potions, and still is in the present day.

    • James Jennings

      The Salem Witchs’ Institute and the Head Witch, before the first election of MACUSA and the creation of the unified magical government in the then-young United States in 1792, were from 1675 to 1792 involved in the local government of the wizarding community in New England. The SWI members would elect the Head Witch to serve as leader of the witches and wizards in colonial New England. The Head Witch would share authority with a Privy Council elected by the local magical population.

Harry Potter Lexicon logoAbout Us | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Copyright | ©2000 - 2015 The Harry Potter Lexicon.
HARRY POTTER, characters, names, and all related indicia are trademarks of Warner Bros. ©2001-2015.

Page layout by Lisa Waite Bunker and Steve Vander Ark, banner graphics by Camilla Engelby © 2007.

Primary editor: Steve Vander Ark
Original photograph © Steve Vander Ark
Original page date 9 June 2011; Last page update 14 June 2011 SVA