SECTION 2. THE LIGISLATURE

CHAPTER XI
THE STRUCTURE OF PARLIAMENT

The many years that have elapsed since the English Parliament in the fourteenth century assumed definitely its bicameral form have witnessed numerous strains in the relationship between the House of Lords and the House of Commons. In more recent years, the position of the House of Lords has become in a definite sense inferior to that of the House of Commons.1 Indeed, in some ways, Parliament may, for practical purposes, be considered a unicameral assembly. Nevertheless, the Mother of Parliaments continues to consist of two Houses, one of which has existed almost since time out of mind and both of which have had an autonomous existence since the fourteenth century. The fact that the independent existence of the two Houses was originally unplanned has not prevented, in the years that have intervened, the formulation of numerous, reasons justifying and supporting the principle of a bicameral legislature. Partly as a result of this reasoning and partly through the force of imitation, employment of two-chamber assemblies has made its way round the world. The practice has found its way into most civilized countries and sometimes into the most remote and unimposing communities of a particular country. Always, the influence has been directly or indirectly that of the English Parliament.

Outside England, in many of the bicameral assemblies that have been erected, both of the houses involved are based on the representative principle, often with only minor differences existing between what are called the "upper" and "lowe" houses.

____________________
1
Cf. Ch. XIII, p. 212, infra.

-150-

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