The Differences Between the UK and US Constitutions

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The Differences Between the UK and US Constitutions

The question invites an analysis of how the differences between the UK

and the US constitutions establish the political systems in both

countries, and further whether there is distinction between the

political systems. Initially I will define what a constitution and a

political system are. Subsequently in the main body of the text I

shall analyse the differences between the constitutions, and how they

influence each separate political system. Loosely defined, a

constitution creates institutions and should state any definite power,

indicates the relationship between different state institutions, and

how the constitution can be amended. In my essay I shall illustrate

the differing state institutions in America and Britain, who has the

power according to the constitution, and accordingly which state

institutions wield the power and authority, and additionally if the

difference in ease of changing the constitution is responsible for a

difference in political system. In my conclusion I shall assess

whether my investigation is corresponding to the statement.

Friedrich (1937) believed a constitution should be 'a system of

effective regularised restraints on government action, therefore

should be a statement of individual rights.'[1] This leads to the

question, should a constitution include a Bill of Rights like the

American constitution's amendments? In America there are freedoms in

religion, speech and the press for example, yet Britain has no

enforceable Bill of Rights in its constitution. There are essential

rights and freedoms in the European Human Rights Act but this is at

the h...

... middle of paper ...

...rnment and Politics: An Introduction (Hampshire: Palgrave, 2001),

p. 186.

[2]James Q. Wilson, American Government (Boston: Houghton, 2000), 54.

[3]Simon Hix, "Britain, the EU and the Euro," in Patrick Dunleavy,

Andrew Gamble, Ian Holliday and Gillian Peele, eds., Developments in

British Politics, (Hampshire: Macmillan Press Ltd, 2000), p.54.

[4]Wilson, American, 32.

[5]Vernon Bogdanor, "Britain: The political constitution," Vernon

Bogdanor, ed., Constitutions in Democratic Politics (Aldershot: Gower,

1988), 56.

[6]Hailsham cited in Bogdanor, "Britain," 66.

[7]Richard Hodder-Williams cited in Joseph Hogan, "The no-win

Presidency and contemporary presidential-congressional relationships,"

in Robert Williams ed., Explaining American Politics: issues and

interpretations (London: Routledge, 1990), p. 48.
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