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Constitutional Study and Legitimacy of Government

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1 Constitutional Study and Legitimacy of Government
Angelica, Rosel , Maria, Nicky, Aly


3 Dominant People The Queen (Elizabeth II) Commonwealth immigrants
Descended from royalty Symbol of division between British unionists and Irish republicans who reject the crown Commonwealth immigrants More and more common Inflow and outflow from Australia, Canada, European union, united states One characteristic in common – not white Public opposes unlimited immigration of nonwhites Both conservative and labor parties pass laws limiting immigration

4 3 Political Justifications Needed To Make Decisions (177)
Trustee Theory of Government: assumes that leaders should take the initiative in deciding what the public interest is Interest Theory Group of Government: sees government’s role as balancing the demands of competing groups and classes in society Individualist Theory: emphasizes political parties should represent people rather than organized interests All represent articulation of conflicting beliefs about who should govern and what government should do

5 Role of Government & Signs of Tradition
Provide safety to the people and enforce social order Individuals are rarely offered referendum allowing them to vote directly on what government does English comply with basic political laws = 1 source of legitimacy Signs of Tradition Monarchy – 1 source of legitimacy Queen and her popularity is a consequence not a cause of legitimacy

6 Churchill Churchill “No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all wise, indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except, all those other forms that have been tried from time to time” Provides a justification of the country’s democracy

7 Secrecy Secrecy Remains strong because serves interest of most powerful people in government Public information act 2005 reduced executives power to keep secret, the exchange of views within the white hall network People were unaware of what government was doing Secrecy is supporting the government making mistakes (negative)

8 Legitimacy through Religion

9 Religion & Government The monarch’s role as the official head of the Church of England creates a sense of legitimacy for the monarch as the head of state. Formal authority is vested in the sovereign (in Parliament) as the religious and political leader of the realm. The Church of England is the established religion of the state, which creates a sense of legitimacy for the government among the Church’s adherents. In a society with increasing religious heterogeneity, the presence of leaders who adhere to religions other than the Anglican Church legitimizes the system of government for other adherents of those religions.

10 Features of Constitution

11 Development King John became unpopular among his subjects, Pope and fellow barons. Since 1028 with William the Conquer, every king had a revolution on his hands, and so did King John. King John feared death and the person who would inherit the throne was Prince Louis of France. England and France have been at war for 30 years To Prevent everything, he created the Magna Carta to keep England content. The Magna Carta was established June

12 Magna Carta The Magna Carta originally had 61 clauses
Varying taxation, freedom of the English Church, lending money, stealing, and evil customs involving forests to be abolished. It allows the formation of a parliament which the King must address for taxation The Magna Carta has been amended many times and is the basic law of the land.


14 Influences on Constitution

15 More on the Magna Carta Created by assembly of barons, document against tyranny and voiced importance of individual freedom Demanded traditional rights to be documented An inspiration for American Colonists Limited King’s ability to obtain funds Lost money due to disastrous foreign policy Originally meant to protect rights and property of powerful families

16 Cont. Now basic document of constitution
Democracy and protection of ancient liberties not originally baron’s goals Presented the principle of “majority rules” over the king Title of “King” was not above the law Has been re-interpreted numerous times Equally important to the UK and America

17 English Civil War King vs. Parliament
King James believed he had divine right by God, that Parliament should not argue with him Parliament had money while King didn’t though Then Charles argued with Parliament over religion and money issues as well

18 After the Civil War Monarchy was reminded that they were a constitutional monarchy and not an absolute monarchy. The parliament was needed because it was there to represent the people.

19 Glorious Revolution Victory of parliament over the King!
Overthrowing of King James Issues of power in favor of parliament Had to convene regularly All new taxes approved by parliament No religious toleration, Catholics limited rights, King remain protestant at request of parliament

20 The Great Reform Act Act of parliament changed electoral system of England and Wales House of Commons had 658 members 513 represented England and Wales Created by Whigs, wanted larger majority in House of Commons to remove Tories Found opposition due to voting requirements, needed minimum income

21 Cont. New towns able to elect MPs
Constituencies still unequal (representatives) Two types of constituencies counties and boroughs County members represent land holders Borough members represent mercantile and trade interests of UK

22 Electoral System

23 Elections British Government is a Party Government
The parties nominate parliamentary candidates and elect a leader who is prime minister Elections give voters the choice of deciding between parties who are competing for the right o govern Must occur once every five years Prime minister can be elected at any time

24 First-past-the-post system
Candidate with the largest number of votes win Even if the plurality falls short of half the vote Candidates do not need to get absolute majority (over 50 %) Used for general elections for the House of Commons Justifications is because it places responsibility for government in the hands of one single party

25 Multi-Party System Emerged in 1974
Three Main Parties in England (“Two and a Half”) Labour Party Conservatives Alliance of Liberals and Social Democrats (Liberal Democrats) Four Parties in Scotland and Wales Five Parties in Northern Ireland Makes the House of Commons disproportional represented Each parties has a different amount

26 Party Organization & Image
Each Party has annual conferences to debate policy and vote on policy resolutions Decentralization = wide variety of outlooks in parliamentary candidates Left-right scale Left = socialist values Right = conservative values Goal is to do what people want

27 Comparisons Italy & Belgium United States of America
Proportional Representation Parties make a coalition government which results in intensive bargaining between parties Coalition governments encourage broader consensuses United States of America Two Main Parties Democrats Republicans

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