Public policy is an area of increasing study. Of concern in this presentation is the consensus-building feature of policymaking in the United States. The role of government in following the procedures established to achieve consensus and the importance of citizen participation in this open process cannot be under-estimated. The five central features of American consensus building are separation of powers, multiple levels of government, citizen participation, policymaker accountability, and individual freedoms. These features frame the efforts of those who shape the public policies that determine the ways laws are made and enforced and public funds are spent.