Cultural Differences: American and British Governmental and Political Structures Mark H. Barbieri
ANT 101: Cultural Anthropology
Daniel Beteta Jr.
February 16, 2009
The objective of this paper is to contrast the governmental structures of two very similar, but different, cultures, the American and British cultures. This paper contends that although the cultures have many similarities, their governmental structures are quite different. This paper concludes that there are major differences between a culture with a bicameral legislative branch of government and a bicameral parliamentary form of government. Although both governments are very different in makeup, both cultures incorporate an effective means of governing and share some of the most basic forms of governmental structure.
British and American Governments
Government, what does it mean to you? Depending on your culture, the term government may hold many different meanings. In many modern societies and cultures, the term government refers to a governing body or official who has the power and authority to generate and enforce laws with a given organization, culture, or group. This paper will highlight the differences between the governments of the American and British cultures and will compare some of the similarities between these two similar, but very different, cultures. The Monarchy
A monarchy is a form of government in which the ruling authority is typically a king or queen. The monarch is also known as the Crown. In traditional monarchies, the monarch holds true and absolute power and control over a land or kingdom. The United Kingdom has what is called a constitutional monarchy. A constitutional monarchy is a form of government in which the king or queen fulfills certain roles within the government and doesn’t have absolute and sole authority over the government. A constitutional monarchy has a democratic government which limits the monarch’s power and control. “The ability to make and pass legislation resides with an elected Parliament, not with the monarch” (The Royal Household [TRH], 2008, para. 2). The monarch for England is Queen Elizabeth II. According to The Royal Household (2008), the Queen is Head of State in the United Kingdom. As a constitutional monarch, Her Majesty does not 'rule' the country, but fulfils many important ceremonial and formal roles with respect to the British Government. She is also Fount of Justice and the Head of the Armed Forces. “A constitutional monarchy also provides stability, continuity and a national focus, as the Head of State remains the same even as governments change”(TRH, 2008, para. 3). The British Parliament
Parliament, Britain’s legislature is made up of two houses: the House of Lords and the House of Commons. Similar to the legislative branch of government in the United States, the British Parliament is bicameral and maintains a series of checks and balances over the government. The parliament is the highest legislative authority in the United Kingdom. According to the British Parliament (2009), together, the House of Lords and the House of Commons has the responsibility for examining, debating, and approving new laws. The House of Lords
The members of the House of Lords are not democratically elected, but are mostly appointed by the Crown. According to the British Parliament (2009), there are a fixed number of members of the House of Lords that are elected internally. The House of Lords include a limited number of lords spiritual, the archbishops and bishops of England; and the law lords, who assist in the judicial functions of the of the House of Lords. According to the British Parliament (2009): The House of Lords is the second Chamber of the United Kingdom’s Parliament. It plays an important part in revising legislation and keeping a check on government by scrutinizing its activities. It complements the work of the House of Commons, whose members are elected to represent their...
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