Despite many similarities, the American Political system seems relatively better than the British Political system. The American constitution is a system of checks and balances while UK does not have a constitution. The American Senate has the power to resist the decisions made by the Presidency. On the contrary, the British House of Lords does not have such powers. The British House of Commons is all in all but the American House of representatives has to share equal powers with the Upper Chamber. The three pillars of the American Confederation are sovereign and perform their duties and functions as laid down in the constitution. In the United Kingdom, the Court exercises its power and performs its duties and functions in accordance with various laws passed by the British Parliament. In Britain the House of Commons is more powerful, while in United States the Senate is considered as the most powerful institution. The British House of Lords is simply a hereditary institution with few powers. In spite of many powers vested in the Senate, the President of the US still enjoy exclusive powers and can make decisions on his own. On the contrary, the Queen is the head of the state in the United Kingdom but her powers are extremely limited.
A Comparison of Systems and Experiences
The United States of America is a confederation, composed of fifty states and a Capital territory. On the other hand, United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy also known as Hereditary Monarchy with a Parliamentary system of government. United Kingdom is composed of four countries: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Island. In United States, the President is the head of state and in Britain, the Monarch is the head of state, and the Prime minister is the head of government.
There is a two party system and capitalistic economy in both the countries. Historically, thirteen North American colonies rebelled against British colonialism and declared independence on July 4, 1776 which became known as United States of America. Both the countries have three pillar structures, The Executive, Legislative and the Judiciary. The functioning of these three pillars and their merits and demerits are discussed under separate heads as follows (Historylearningsite).
Both, the President and the Prime minister are elected by the public. The American President is elected by an electoral college and the British Prime Minister is formally appointed by the Queen, but in practice, he is also the direct choice of the voters. The President of the United States seems more powerful than the British Prime minister because of his supremacy over the Cabinet. The Prime minister is the member of the Parliament but the President of United States in not a member of the Congress. The office of the Prime minister of Britain is Conventional while the American Presidency is the product of the Constitution. The American President has the discretionary power to appoint his Cabinet team, while in Britain Cabinet contains important personalities from political parties.
The President is the boss of the Cabinet and fully authorized to announce policies and make decisions without consulting his team. However, the British Premier cannot easily ignore the advice and concerns of the Cabinet members. The British Prime minister has the advantage of enjoying powers over the legislature if he has a qualified majority in the Parliament. He would not find it difficult to ratify the treaties and he also enjoys full control over legal and financial issues. Moreover, the Prime minister can request the Queen to dissolve the assembly if the house is not in order and members are violating the code of conduct.
On the other hand, In spite of so many discretionary powers, the US President has to work under many handicaps. He often faces strong resistance from the Senate. The appointments made by the President are subject to the approval of the Senate and all the treaties concluded by him have to be ratified by the qualified majority of the Senate (Historylearningsite).
The British Prime minister is elected through the Parliament therefore; he can be directed to leave 10 Downing Street at any time by the majority members of the House of Commons. On the other hand, the US President has the fixed term to enjoy luxuries of the White house at least for four years unless impeached earlier by the Congress. The impeachment process is very difficult and almost impossible in the United States (Historylearningsite).
The House of Common is the lower house of the British Parliament and the House of Representatives is the lower chamber of the American Congress. The strength of House of Commons is 650 members while the US House of Representatives has 435 voting members, 6 non-voting members and 5 delegates and 1 resident commissioner. There is only one similarity in both the houses is that they are democratically elected by the voters, but as far as their constitutional powers are concerned, the two chambers differ widely from each other (Herbert).
The House of Common has few advantages as compare to House of Representatives. The former is the law making machinery of Britain and House of Lords cannot act as barrier against the House of Commons. To some extent it can hinder the flow of work by delaying ordinary bills passed by the Commons at the most for one year under the British Parliament Act of 1949. The Supremacy of the House of Commons is very well established that Judiciary has no power to review once a law has been formulated by the Lower House. The House of Common is all in all in the financial sphere, it also exercises control over the executive. It has one more significant power which is to amend the constitution (Herbert).
The US House of representatives is a weak legislative body than the British Lower House. Its powers are equally shared by the Senate. It has no direct authority over the executive. No bill originates in the HoR can become law unless it is passed by the American Senate. The Lower House of American Congress cannot propose any changes in the constitution. The representatives can prefer impeachments against the President and the Civil Servants while the Commons have no such power (Herbert).
The British Constitution is mainly unwritten whereas the American Constitution is a written document framed in 1787 by the Philadelphia Convention. The US constitution is the supreme law of the land; on the contrary, Parliament is a sovereign body in Britain. The doctrine of Judicial Review is a very important feature of the US constitution; while the British Courts are bound to apply laws passed by the Parliament. One more merit that US has over British political system that its constitution contains a bill of fundamental rights of the people and in Britain there is no such thing as a bill of rights. There are few advantages in Britain is that all the pillars of the state work with full flexibility while in USA the constitution is highly rigid which hinder the flow of work. The British Constitution is actually unitary and the American Constitution promotes federalism (Darlington).
The American President enjoys full power over the cabinet because practically he is the real boss of the Cabinet. The British Cabinet members are more powerful because they are backed by the public and they have so many roles to play in the House of Common. The Cabinet members in Britain are appointed by the Queen on the advice of the Prime minister and they can also take part in law making process. The British Cabinet is a Bridge between the Executive and the Legislature while the American Cabinet cannot participate in the business of Congress. The British Cabinet members can make decisions independently but the American Cabinet members have to follow the instruction of White House (Darlington).
In the United States, the Supreme Court is a political institution and its members are appointed by the President. In United Kingdom, the Courts are free from all sorts of Politics. The US courts are highly controversial because of the political influence while the British trial system is considered transparent (Darlington).
The American Senate is considered as the powerful legislative body in the world. One of its founding roles is to protect the interests of the small states and to keep any eye on local and international politics. The Senate consents and confirms appointment of Secretaries, Judges, Military officers and Ambassadors. It also has the power to conduct investigations. The British House of Lords is the Upper Chamber of the British Parliament. Its role is to influence the government and the people by its debates. The members of the Upper House have the power of asking questions from the government regarding the administrative affairs of the state. They have the power to approve or disapprove of the Statuary instruments. The British Upper House is a weak institution as compare to American Senate. A significant change was made by the Parliament Act of 1911 that money could be introduced only in the Lower House and whether the bill is approved by the House of Lords or not the same become law (Den Beste).
Denbeste.nu. "USS Clueless - House and Senate and Commons and Lords." 2004. Web. 14 Feb 2013.
Herbert, Hillary. "The House of Representatives and the House of Commons." The North American Review, 158. 448 (1894): 257-269.
Historylearningsite.co.uk. "President versus Prime Minister." 2011. Web. 14 Feb 2013.
Rogerdarlington.me.uk. "Contrasts between American and British political systems." 2012. Web. 14 Feb 2013.