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Abstract only
Duncan Watts

Chap 2 28/8/03 1:08 pm Page 26 Constitutions 2 Constitutions describe the fundamental rules according to which states are governed, be they embodied in the law, customs or conventions. They set out how decisions are made, how power is distributed among the institutions of government, the limits of governmental authority and the methods of election and appointment of those who exercise power. Constitutions also define the relationship between the state and the individual and usually include a listing of the rights of the citizen. There are wide variations

in Understanding US/UK government and politics
Philip Norton

A constitution is the body of laws, rules and customs that establishes the organs of a state (executive, legislature, judiciary), how those organs relate to one another, and the relations between those organs and the citizen. Most, but not all, nations embody the key provisions in a single codified document. There is thus a document with the designation of ‘the constitution’. However, the provisions extend beyond the document to encompass judicial decisions (interpreting the words of the document), laws that supplement the document, as well as rules of

in Governing Britain
Abstract only
Edward Ashbee

Relatively few Americans have an accurate knowledge of the US Constitution and its provisions. A study conducted in August 2017 by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania revealed that only about a quarter (26 per cent) of respondents could identify all three branches of the federal government. More than a third (37 per cent) could not point to a single specific right guaranteed under the First Amendment to the Constitution. Meanwhile, 15 per cent asserted to pollsters that

in US politics today (fourth edition)
Open Access (free)
Arthur B. Gunlicks

chap 4 27/5/03 11:54 am Page 141 4 The Land constitutions Introduction For almost forty years after the federal Constitution went into effect, little attention was paid to state (Land) constitutions in Germany. Amendments were made on numerous occasions, but these were almost always rather minor changes or technical corrections and did not arouse much controversy. At the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s, this changed dramatically for two major reasons. A scandal in SchleswigHolstein in 1987 involving allegations that the prime minister

in The Länder and German federalism
Bill Jones

Unwritten Constitutions provide the ‘rules of the game’ for states, determining how their political systems are allowed to operate – how often there will be elections and what kind of voting system is to be used, what constitutes a majority in the legislature, what powers the head of the executive has, and so forth. If they know nothing else about the constitution, most British people know that their country has no written document upon which it is inscribed. But, like many other well known ‘truths’, this is not quite correct. Much of the constitution is

in British politics today
Brice Dickson

The picture since the 1990s The history of proposals for a written Constitution in the United Kingdom is a long but not particularly glorious one. The only document to achieve anything like the status of a written Constitution is the 1653 Instrument of Government, the document which confirmed Oliver Cromwell as the Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland and created a Council of State. The Instrument was supplemented by two ‘Humble Petition and Advice’ documents in 1657

in Writing the United Kingdom Constitution
Matthew Kidd

. Bradlaugh’s actions provoked heated discussions among a broad cross-section of society and encouraged political actors at a ‘high’ and ‘low’ level to debate questions of a constitutional, theological, social, political and ideological nature. In the House of Commons and on street corners, Bradlaugh’s supporters and opponents engaged in fierce debates about a range of delicate topics, from the true meaning of the constitution and the rights and duties of elected representatives to the boundaries of civil and religious liberty and the relationship between religious

in The renewal of radicalism
Rebuilding the ship at sea
Matt Qvortrup

? So, now you are free. You have officially created your own country, it has been recognised (if you are lucky), and you are ready to start governing. But before you do so, you need to have rules and institutions – in a word, you need a constitution. Okay, there are some countries that do not have such fundamental laws – Israel being one of them. When this country was established in 1948, the

in I want to break free
Brice Dickson

since 1921, partly because of the uncertainties over whether Brexit will lead to a return to a hard border within Ireland and to a significant downturn in Northern Ireland’s economy compared with the economic success of the Republic of Ireland. Famously, the United Kingdom does not possess a document called ‘The Constitution’. Its present constitutional arrangements are the product of centuries of ad hoc development. There are Acts of Parliament which determine issues such as who is the monarch, how

in Writing the United Kingdom Constitution
Who governs?
Philip Norton

The United Kingdom became a member of the European Communities (EC) on 1 January 1973. Membership created problems in terms of adaptation to the basic tenets of the constitution. Under the Maastricht Treaty, ratified in 1993, the EC became the European Union. In 2016, following a referendum in which electors voted for the UK to leave the EU, the UK government began negotiations for the UK’s withdrawal. Just as joining had proved politically contentious and constitutional problematic, the same applied forty-three years later to ending membership. The UK had

in Governing Britain