• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

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

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

"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.

Middle

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.

Conclusion

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.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level United States section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

4 star(s)

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

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level United States essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Outline how and why federalism has changed since the 1960s.

    5 star(s)

    He carried on Nixon's plans of block grants, and reduced the size of the federal aid of the states to release the government of the large federal deficit. Reagan developed Carter's idealisms by stating "Government is not a solution to our problem, government is the problem."

  2. Marked by a teacher

    Evaluate the claim that the Senate is far more powerful than the House of ...

    3 star(s)

    Bill Frist who became majority leader in The Senate after only 8 years, whilst it took Nancy Pelosi 16 years to become minority leader in The House of Representatives. The Senate is also more powerful as it is often seen as a recruiting post for Presidents and Vice Presidents e.g.

  1. How effective are the checks and balances of the Constitution today?

    Neither house can adjourn for more than three days, without the consent of the other house; this is an example of when the President can use his power of adjournment over Congress if neither house can agree on adjournment. The House of Representatives has the power to impeach the executive

  2. Comparison of US and UK Constitution

    The UK constitution also exists in common law which has developed through tradition and custom over time; royal prerogative, which were powers originally exercised by the monarch; various conventions; authoritative works and political literature written by constitutionalists A V Dicey and Walter Bagehot, and more recently EU law.

  1. Examine the effectiveness of the checks and balances system of the American Government. and ...

    FPTP usually ensure a one party government and avoids coalitions, 1979 was the last time a government was defeated under a vote of no confidence. First-past-the-post tends to reduce the number of political parties to a greater extent than most other methods, thus making it more likely that a single party will hold a majority of legislative seats.

  2. The Role and Functions of the US President.

    373 1. What occurs when the President is unable to perform the duties of the office? The Vice President is to become Acting President if (1) the President informs Congress, In writing, "that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office," or (2)

  1. What are the advantages and disadvantages of an unwritten constitution in the UK?

    There is no such principle in the British constitution because sovereignty lies with Parliament. The British constitution cannot be referred to in a legal sense like the US constitution, which has a Bill of Rights. A further disadvantage of the British constitution is that it is considered old fashioned, some

  2. Is the USA still a federal state?

    Additionally had the financial crisis of 2008 not occurred would there be a bailout package, would the state intervene in private corporations to recover the economy? Therefore central government did not dominate the US political system for the sake of domination, rather to recover from security and financial events that required large scale intervention.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work