Is the United States’ system of government more ‘democratic’ than that of the United Kingdom? Compare and critically evaluate presidential and parliamentary systems of democratic government.
Not all democracies are the same. Even superficial comparison of the liberal democratic systems of the United States and the United Kingdom reveals huge differences between their respective institutions, in the organisations of powers and functions of government, elections, and law-making procedures. Richard Rose (1974: 131, cited in Lijphart, 2012:9) writes that, ‘with confidence born of continental isolation, Americans have come to assume that their institutions….are the prototype of what should be adopted elsewhere’; Lijphart adds that ‘political scientists… have tended to hold the British system of government in equally high esteem’ (Lijphart, 2012:9).So which system is ‘better’? In this essay, you will need to think about the question from the point of view of democracy. Is it possible to say that presidential systems of government, or the US system of government in particular is more ‘democratic’ than that of the parliamentary systems like that of the UK? And what exactly does it mean when we say that one system is more democratic than another? Is this even a useful claim for a political scientist to make?