Comparison of the British Parliament and the American Congress

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Comparison of the British Parliament and the American Congress

Németh Barbara


I write this essay with the aim of comparing the British Parliament with the American Congress. I personally think that everybody should know the major differences between political system of the US and the UK. First of all, I would like to describe my technical conception in my essay. I separated it in two columns and on the left side I write about the British Parliament and on the other side about the American Congress. I tried to draw a parallel between the two systems and the columns, which are next to each other, examine the two institutes from the same aspect. After each section I summarized what has been written. Of course my list cannot be complete since their system is totally different thanks to their different backgrounds. An intelligent and educated person should be aware of the structure and the role of the political parties. I would also like to point out the difference between the two countries, which have the same language, but their politics is quite different.

In general
A parliament is a legislature, especially in those countries whose system of government is based on the Westminster system derived from that of the United Kingdom. The name is derived from the French parlement, the action of parler (to speak) : a parlement is a talk, a discussion, hence a meeting (an assembly, a court) where people discuss matters. While all parliaments are legislatures, not all legislatures are parliaments. In the United Kingdom, Parliament consists of the House of Commons, the House of Lords, and the Monarch. In a similar fashion, most other nations with parliaments have to some degree emulated the British, "three-tier" model. Most countries in Europe and the Commonwealth have similarly organized parliaments with a largely ceremonial Head of State who formally opens and closes parliament, a large elected lower house and a smaller, upper house. The lower house is almost always the originator of legislation, and the upper house is the body that offers the "second look" and decides whether to veto or approve the bills. A nation's 'Prime Minister' is almost always the leader of the majority party in the lower house of parliament, but only holds his or her office as long as the "confidence of the house" is maintained. Parliaments can be contrasted with congresses in the model of the United States. Typically, congresses do not select or dismiss the head of government, and cannot themselves be dissolved early as is often the case for parliaments.

Form of state
Constitutional MonarchyFederal Republic
Washington, DC
Parliament of the United KingdomCongress of the United States The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the supreme legislative institution in the United Kingdom and British overseas territories (it alone has parliamentary sovereignty). At its head is the Sovereign; it also includes an Upper House, called the House of Lords, and a Lower House, called the House of Commons. The House of Lords includes two different types of members—the Lords Spiritual (the senior clergy of the Church of England) and the Lords Temporal (members of the Peerage); it is an almost wholly appointed body. The House of Commons, on the other hand, is a democratically elected chamber. The House of Lords and the House of Commons meet in separate chambers in the Palace of Westminster (commonly known as the "Houses of Parliament"), in British capital, London (more precisely, in the borough known as the City of Westminster). Parliament evolved from the ancient council which advised the Sovereign. In theory, power is vested not in Parliament, but in the "Queen-in-Parliament" (or "King-in-Parliament"). The Queen-in-Parliament is often said to be a completely sovereign authority, though such a position is debatable. In modern...
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