The Constitution of the United States designates three main
structures of government. The judiciary is charged with the country's
legal system, interpreting and upholding the country's laws. The
legislature, composed of the Lower House and the Senate, is composed of
representatives who write the laws of the country. Finally, the executive
branch runs the country's administrative needs.
In the United States, the executive branch is headed by a president,
who is elected directly by the American people. These elections are held
separately from the elections for representatives in Congress.
Furthermore, while the president is not vested with any direct legislative
power by the Constitution, he or she may veto any laws that have been
passed in Congress. This system of separate elections dates back to the
presidential elections in 1789 (Brinkley A30).
It is through this electoral period that the American government
pursues a common "general will" of its constituents. In contrast to direct
democracies such as Switzerland, where people vote in national referendums,
the American people elect Congressional representatives and the President
in two separate elections. This separation
The United States legislature is composed of two bodies a"" the LowerHouse and the Senate. Membership in the House of Lords is determined by heredity, bypeerage and by being a clergy member of the Church of England. In summary, both the United States and the United Kingdom havedemocratic forms of government, which are premised on duly elected bodiesacting as representatives of the interests of their constituency. The Lower House or House of Representatives iscomposed of 435 members, who represent the various districts around theUnited States. Inaddition, Queen Elizabeth II is also the head of the English judiciary andof the Church of England (Goldsworthy 89). The Royalfamily spends most of its time doing traditional ceremonies, raising moneyfor charities and acting as ambassadors of goodwill for Britain by visitingvarious countries. Thus, while the majority party composition of the UnitedStates Congress would have a great effect on the types of laws that arepassed in session, party dominance in Congress does not necessarilytranslate to a corresponding dominance in the executive branch. The other ministers,such as the Minister for Defense, Minister for Trade and Industry andMinister of Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, could be appointed from bothHouses of Parliament (Goldsworth 200). At the helm is the Prime Minister, who is elected by the MPs andwho traditionally comes from the House of Commons. The House of Representatives has co-equal status with the Senate, withtwo important distinctions. As head of government and the military, the United StatesPresident also wields more clout than the British Prime Minister. With atotal of 529, majority of the MPs hail from parliamentary districts inEngland, the most populous British state. TheUnited Kingdom is divided into 659 parliamentary constituencies, each ofwhich elects its own representative as a Member of Parliament (MP). Like its American counterpart, the British legislature is divided intotwo bodies. In contrast to the American presidential system, the BritishPrime Minister is appointed by the party that dominates the House ofCommons.