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"The Main Difference Between the UK And US Constitution Is That One Is Flexible And The Other Is Not" Discuss.

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"The Main Difference Between the UK And US Constitution Is That One Is Flexible And The Other Is Not" Discuss A Constitution is a set of rules and principles by which a state is governed and how power is distributed. It defines the power between government and the governed, between different section of government and between central and local government. The constitution is the centre and foundation of any democratic society. Hence, it is vitally important. The US has a written codified constitution that means, is all contained in one document, to which, amendments have been and can be made. The US constitution was written to last and thus, it is very difficult to alter. It requires a two-thirds majority in the Senate and House of Representatives, Presidential approval and three quarters approval of the state legislatures. When the constitution was set up it had the idea of Federalism at its heart. This was to determine the power of the state with power of the national government. The idea was to leave the states with as much power as possible but remove enough to create a national government. This is why three quarters of the state legislatures must agree with any amendments. There have been only 27 amendments, 10 of which were the Bill of Rights, which, guarantee an individuals political and civil liberties. ...read more.


But two foreign policy declarations (doctrines) have been made which are highly regarded, and, are widely accepted and as such are accepted almost like the constitution. The Monroe Doctrine 1823 declared that western hemisphere affairs were the rightful concern of the USA and that it would, henceforth, claim the right to intervene to maintain order in that part of the world. Evidence of its use is best seen in the blockade of Cuba in 1963 by John Kennedy in order to force the removal of Soviet missiles. Informal amendments are another example of constitutional flexibility. Typical example is executive agreements. Pacts or treaties made by the President with foreign powers. Not classed as treaties, they require no approval of Congress. It provides the President with some flexibility in foreign relations. These are regarded as conventions, which are like a gentlemen's agreement (also like the House of Representatives leading the way in taxation and finance legislation). Even though these conventions and legislation are not in the US constitution they are never the less very powerful and unless changed are literally regarded as binding as the constitution. The UK constitution is uncodified in that there is no single document that with it in. But he UK does have a constitution but it is made from several sources. These are statute law, which is created easily by a simple majority in both houses of parliament. ...read more.


A constitution can protect the rights and privileges of the individual. Because the UK does not have a Bill of Rights like in the US it is said that the government can often abuse its power at the cost of individuals rights. But this is somewhat recently contradicted by the inclusion of the EU Human Rights Act into the UK law. But even so, because the UK does not have a written codified constitution the government is not controlled adequately. On face value because the US has a written codified constitution, which is, deeply entrenched it would appear that the US constitution is very inflexible. This is largely true. The constitution is very difficult to change, but far easier mechanisms, which are supported and up held, can be put into effect e.g. legislation, executive agreements, judicial review etc. These are not as solid as the constitution but are nevertheless are treated in the highest regard. On the other hand the UK constitution is not entrenched and is uncodified and is therefore is far more flexible than the US as it can be easily changed. But this is now somewhat limited due to the inclusion of EU law and devolution of Scotland and Wales. At a first glance the title could be easily accepted but it is apparent the US constitution is far more flexible than generally thought and the UK constitution is flexible but less than it appears. Tom Bright 1 ...read more.

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This essay provides is a detailed analysis of the UK and US constitutions and contains clear and effective outlines of the similarities and differences between the two. Typos affect the cogency and highlight the necessity of proof reading. However, taken as a whole this essay is an effective comment on the flexibility of the constitutions.

Marked by teacher Rabina Ramsey 26/03/2013

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