The Differences Between Unicameral and Bicameral Legislatures

Topics: Bicameralism, United States, Legislature Pages: 3 (837 words) Published: April 25, 2013
Explain the differences between unicameral and bicameral legislatures. What are their virtues and vices?

A bicameral legislature is composed of two houses, namely the lower house and the upper house. The lower house is usually elected by the general public and represent the ordinary people. The upper house is usually selected and reflect political subdivisions, such as the House of Senate of US, or represent certain class, such as the House of Lords of Britain. On the contrary, a unicameral legislature is composed of only one body, representing all people in the community. This system usually exists in more culturally and ideologically homogenous countries.

The virtues of the bicameral system

Firstly, the two houses of the bicameral legislature represent two different groups of people in the community. For example, in the British legislature, the House of Lords acts as the upper house and represent the aristocrats whereas the House of Commons acts as the lower house and represent ordinary public. This way, the interest and views of people form different groups can be equally heard in the legislature without any domination of either party.

Secondly, with the existence of two houses, both of them can have the effect of check and balance against each other. This can form an effective self-monitoring system within the legislature, any mistake or false is easily to be discovered and exposed to the knowledge of the public. Such system helps the prevention of the passage of flawed or unfair legislation that favours any groups of people in the community.

Thirdly, a legislature formed by two houses can act as a stronger and more effective monitor over the executive branch of the government. As a duty of the legislature, the legislators representing the public should help the people to check the executive branch of the government in order to prevent abuse of power within the government. With two legislative bodies, the check and balance of the executive...
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