In What Ways And Why Are The Constitutions Of The Uk And The Us Different?

1022 words - 4 pages

One of the most significant differences, that is evident from the evaluation of the constitutions, is that one is codified and the other is not. The US constitution has a physical existence whereby it is written down and is accessible to virtually anybody in the US to refer to. Contrary to this, the UK constitution is regarded as being uncodified as it has not been formally established in a "bill of rights" format. However, these judgements of the constitutions are only accurate to a certain extent. The origins of both constitutions explain why they are different in structure due to the organic development of the UK constitution, comprised of conventions, acts and authoritative works, and the establishment of the US constitution in 1789 following the "years of weakness and chaos resulting from the pre-existing Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union which loosely bound the colonies together since 1778". However, although the UK constitution is generally regarded as being unwritten, there is evidence to suggest that this is not entirely correct. For example, Walter Bagehot wrote a book entitled "The English Constitution", an authoritative work. However, the only problem with this was that the day after it was published an act was passed, immediately resulting in it being outdated. Similarly, any laws that are passed in Britain immediately become part of their constitution, which suggests that the UK constitution cannot be deemed as uncodified.Emerging from the codified/uncodified aspect of the constitution is the assumption that the US constitution is rigid and the UK's is flexible. However, there are complications with this vague assessment due to the way that each has been structured, regardless of whether or not they have been written. The US constitution cannot be considered as ultimately rigid and impossible to adjust, due to the evidence of the 27 Amendments already established, and a possible 28th that may be instigated by President Bush in the near future. Furthermore, the constitution has not alluded to any aspect of federalism, political parties or pressure groups that now form the foundation of America today. This therefore implies that the constitution is open to an extent of interpretation and change. In contrast, the UK constitution is not as flexible as is assumed. This is primarily a result of convention that has formed the basis of the constitution, and has never been, and will never be, altered as it has "always been done this way". Examples of this convention refers particularly to the theoretical powers of the Monarch, although they are now seen to be symbolic, such as her power to declare war, even though it is always declared by the Prime Minister. Conventions such as these will never be altered and so in a sense the constitution is rigid to an extent.Deriving from this comes the difference of the Monarchical and Republican constitutions. As already established, the Monarchical powers in Britain are primarily symbolic...

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