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Q: politics question ( Answered,   1 Comment )
Subject: politics question
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: rev-ga
List Price: $4.50
Posted: 15 Dec 2002 08:17 PST
Expires: 14 Jan 2003 08:17 PST
Question ID: 124930
Why doesn't the United States of America prefer a parliamentry
government?  I am doing a paper about parliament and democracy.  The
parliament government seems to be a perfect fit for the United States,
yet we continue to have a democracy.  So, why don't we switch to a
Subject: Re: politics question
Answered By: luciaphile-ga on 15 Dec 2002 10:59 PST
Hi rev-ga,

Thanks for your question.

Parliamentary systems are not necessarily undemocratic. The type of
government the United States is called a federal republic. There are
nations that employ different types of government, but they are still
considered democracies, for example, Canada, which is a confederation
with parliamentary democracy.

For a listing of the various nations and the type of system they use
World Factbook

“The chief difference between parliamentary and presidential systems
is the relationship between the legislature and the executive. In a
parliamentary system, they are essentially one and the same, since the
prime minister and members of the cabinet are drawn from the
parliament.”  In contrast, in a presidential system (which the U.S.
has), “both the head of government and the head of state are fused in
the office of the president. The president is elected for a specified
period directly by the people, as are the members of the congress. As
one element of the separation of powers, members of the president's
cabinet are usually not members of congress.”

What is Democracy?

The articles at this site offer some arguments against a parliamentary
system, positing that this type of system promotes party loyalty and
minimizes popular control.

The Jeffersonian Perspective

“In our system the chief executive is not chosen from the legislative
majority (unlike a parliamentary system) and often does not even
belong to the majority party in Congress. The American way of
governing was not designed for peaceful coexistence between the two
branches, even when both are controlled by the same party.” This last
sentence may help you in understanding why the U.S. does not use a
parliamentary system. Separation of powers and checks and balances
were purposely and deliberately built into the construction of the

Summary of Hearings on Legislative-Executive Relations

This comes from a memo regarding impeachment but highlights one of the
key differences between a parliamentary and presidential system. “It
was emphatically not the intention of the Framers that the President
should be subject to the will of the dominant legislative party. Our
system of government does not permit Congress to unseat the President
merely because it disagrees with his behavior or his policies.”

Memorandum Regarding Standards for Impeachment

This web site details the distinctions between the British (which has
a parliamentary system) and American forms of government.

Cyberland University of North American

The founding fathers deliberately constructed the constitution so that
altering it would be difficult. Making any kind of substantial change
to the United States government requires a constitutional amendment.
As this process is quite involved, extensive, and not necessarily a
guaranteed success, it usually needs to have a powerful impetus behind
it to persuade politicians to begin the process.

“The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it
necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the
application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states,
shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either
case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this
Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of
the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the
one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress;
provided that no amendment which may be made prior to the year one
thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any manner affect the first
and fourth clauses in the ninth section of the first article; and that
no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage
in the Senate.”

Since the founding of the United States Constitution, there have only
been 27 amendments. To completely changing the foundation of the
United States government would require an enormous amount of support
from the citizenry and Congress.

FindLaw: US Constitution: Article V

You may also wish to explore the Federalist Papers. These were written
by some of the founding fathers (James Madison, John Jay, and
Alexander Hamilton) to persuade people to support the ratification of
the Constitution. They provide information about the intent of the
founders that may be helpful to you.

About the Federalist Papers

A couple of other sites you may wish to look at

The British Parliamentary System

Glossary of Social Studies Terms and Vocabulary

Search strategy:
Google and Google/Unclesam (://
government “parliamentary system” “federal republic”
“us constitution”
founders amending "us constitution"
“parliamentary system”

I hope this answers your question. If you need additional information
or if the links do not work, please ask for clarification before
rating my answer and I will do my best to assist you.

Subject: Re: politics question
From: neilzero-ga on 15 Dec 2002 21:42 PST
Until recently, the USA was by far the most successful country in the
history of the world, so why would you think we should change to a
parliament? In my opinion most of the recent troubles in the USA are
because we have departed from the spirit of our great Constitution.
Even if parliament is better, an ammendment to our Constition would be
necessary to make the change which few citizens or polititions would
favor.  Neil

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