The Two Constitutions: A Comparative Study of British and American Constitutional Systems

By Harold Stannard | Go to book overview

VI
PARTIES

THROUGHOUT the English-speaking world, politics are party politics. But neither in England nor in the United States is it immediately clear why parties should have acquired their present hold on the political system. In England the origins of party can be traced back to Tudor times, and the first great split in English politics occurred over religion. Religion, however, is one of the subjects on which men cannot easily agree to differ because they cannot admit that there are two sides to the question. The truth that they hold is the whole truth; those who disagree with them are damned eternally, and discussion is futile. Two circumstances, however, made it possible for parties to develop in England around the religious core. The first was the overwhelming strength in Tudor times of the position of the Crown. Nowadays it is Parliament's business to take decisions but in Tudor times decision lay with the Sovereign to whom Parliament could at best make humble representations. Secondly, the House of Commons, which was steadily gaining in strength throughout the Tudor period, has always felt that its main business was the redress of grievances,

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The Two Constitutions: A Comparative Study of British and American Constitutional Systems
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents vii
  • Biographical Note viii
  • Introduction ix
  • I- Crown and Constitution 1
  • II- King, President, Prime Minister 55
  • III- Parliament and Congress 73
  • VI- Parties 89
  • V- Senate and House of Lords 112
  • VI- Commons and Representatives 133
  • VII- The Law of the Land 152
  • VIII- The Two Examples 167
  • Selected Bibliography 203
  • Index 205
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