"The differences between the UK and US constitutions are overstated since both constitutions create a similar type of political system". - Discuss.
"A constitution can be defined as the system of laws, customs and conventions which defines the composition and powers of organs of the state, and regulates the relations of the various state organs to one another and to the private citizen. In short, it stipulates the structures and powers of government and between government and the citizen" (Jones et al. 1994, 279).
Both the United States and the United Kingdom have constitutions but "expressed in purely formal terms, there is very little similarities between them" (Norton 1984, 59). This essay will discuss whether the differences between the two constitutions are overstated, and whether both constitutions create a similar political system. To do this, the essay begins with a description of the British constitution and the political system it creates, followed by a description of the American constitution and the political system which that creates. It goes onto discuss the similarities and differences between the two constitutions and political systems and concludes by stating whether the differences are overstated or not.
Constitutions can vary considerably in nature but since the eighteenth century and onwards; new nations have found it both necessary and useful to codify their constitutions in a single written document. In contrast to this the British constitution is not written in a single document, however it does have a constitution in the sense of a set of rules, customs and understandings which, empower and limit the government. The British political authorities have never in modern times faced a crisis that forced them to think the constitution through to first principles and to set these down, therefore the British constitution was never invented or designed but just grew, so that political facts became constitutional rules.