Both the USA and Great Britain are powerful and influential. Both are examples of the democracy. Both are the countries of a dream for thousands of people all over the world. But looking at their sizes, history and different forms of government it seems a little bit odd to compare such different states. What can they have in common? However, exploring American government and UK government has one main goal: to realize how quite different systems can lead to more or less prosperous and sound society where democracy is not just a name without gist and weight, but real practice.
The USA and Great Britain: basic points
For deeper understanding, it makes sense to recall some general points which are known to everyone from the very school years.
So, America is a federal and constitutional presidential republic while the UK is a constitutional monarchy. Here the differences between American and British government start. A monarchy means the presence of the monarch, but unlike the kings and the queens of the earlier times, modern monarch’s power is restrained by the Parliament, and the real power belongs to the Prime Minister and his cabinet of ministers as well as to the Parliament.
Presidential republic implies a President as a head of the country, but he is also not the only carrier of the power. There are also the Cabinet, Congress, Senate and the House of Representatives, and the Supreme Court.
And, what is most important, power also belongs to the people who make a decision concerning who will take responsibility for all key processes of the state activity. That is called democracy.
Similarities between US and UK government
The key similarity is that both USA and Great Britain are democratic, or, in other words, each citizen who has reached the adulthood can take part in the elections, impacting managing the countries. By the way, today most countries could boast such achievement, but it is a consequence of long and complicated processes. Both American and British governments are accountable to the people.
And although the governmental systems are quite different in the details, there are a few common features.
The American President and the British Prime Minister possess a similar level of power – they both represent the executive authorities.
The Parliament in the United Kingdom and the Congress in the USA and can create laws, being representatives of the legislative branch of the power.
The Prime Minister and the President may appoint numerous significant figures like the ambassadors, senior judges, and other important government officials.
Difference between UK and US government
The USA government is divided into three main branches: executive, legislative and judicial. The purpose of such system is obvious: any of the branches has not enough power to make decisions independently. More than 18 thousands of official positions are elected, and the President is one of them, of course, as well as the members of the Congress (both of the House of Representatives and the Senate). The key problem of this system is that all the elections need investing huge amounts of money. There is no chance to take part in the elections not having millions for the election campaign.
The United Kingdom government is headed by a Queen or a King (currently it’s Queen Elizabeth II), and this person owns numerous elements of the power including the right of dissolution of the Parliament, appointing of the ministers and even declaring war. The Prime Minister is assigned by the monarch, but only the person who is supported by most in the House of Commons (part of the Parliament as well as the House of Lords).
The main law of the USA is the Constitution. It is the object of the pride of the Americans, and it’s quite reasonable. It was created in 1787, and only 27 changes had been accepted since that time. On contrary, Great Britain has not the constitution at all, so it is not quite correct to discuss the difference between UK and US constitution. However, although the British constitution consists of the scattered Acts of Parliament and laws, there can be found similarities between US and UK constitution (or the documents that can be called so). Both constitutions describe the way of governing the states, electing or nominating the officials, list the rights and obligations of the people and the government.
How does the British constitution differ from the US constitution? There are numerous coincidences in the content, but the form is absolutely different. Moreover, there is no even a list of papers belonging to the UK “constitution”. Actually, there is pretty complicated to make any changes to the US Constitution. The British Constitution can be easily changed by adopting a new law, but it is protected from chaos by legal practice having being built within centuries.
Both American and British political systems have many defects and things to be improved but they have proved the efficiency and serving democratic ideas.
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