Democratic Stability in Britain and Term Paper
- Length: 4 pages
- Sources: 3
- Subject: Government
- Type: Term Paper
- Paper: #70064927
Excerpt from Term Paper :
Therefore, unlike the British the French could rarely fully identify themselves with the idea of a monarch. These cases did occur however especially during Louis 14th in particular. The actions undergone by the "Roi Soleil" created for the French the identity of their cultural heritage and this is obvious in the current day society which still evokes the French culture as the cornerstone of major artistic revolutions. However, the kings at the time were the driving force for the creation of such an identity. Yet, there can be little talk about the French monarchy having created the democratic spirit of the French culture.
Thirdly, the historical background also influenced the way in which the monarchy gave the way to the installation of the French Republic. The French Revolution of 1789 was one of the most important elements that influenced the way in which the rule would be later on developed in France and in Europe. The idea of equality among all men, of the solidarity between them, and most importantly of the freedom which must be for everyone introduced in France the first elements of democracy. However, these notions of democracy were instilled in the French society through a revolution, not an evolution. By comparison, the British system of government introduced democracy and the issue of human rights, of civil liberties with Oliver Cromwell in particular, but also in the 13th century with the Habeas Corpus Act (Berstein and Milza, 1994). Although Cromwell created for a short period of time a British Republic, the modifications in terms of democracy and democratic notions were in fact the result of an evolutionary process, rather than an actual evolution. Therefore, the transition in Britain was smoother and left the impression of a slow yet constant political evolution. France in 1789 was experiencing some of the most important events of its history, events which led the European countries to fear the possibility of a French Revolution on their own territories (Kissinger, 1994).
Another important institution can be considered to be the parliament in both countries. The legislative body is one of the most important institutions of the state because it offers the legal framework in which the institutions can act. At the same time, it enables the citizens to fully and representatively express their opinion and political choices, depending on their ideological affiliations. From this point-of-view, the two countries differ.
On the one hand, the UK has a long history of parliamentary tradition, since the 12th century (British Parliament, 2007). Its aim was in the first case to discuss taxes and secondly to consider the distribution of power inside the state. Therefore, the existence of a parliament balanced the authority of the king and insured that the population is well represented. At the same time, it determined the exclusion of the possibility of the authoritarian rule of the kind. This perspective however offers a point of counter argumentation. History has proven that even during the monarchic rule and the parliamentary control, Henry 8th was able to subdue the parliament and reject its control power. Therefore it could be argued that the role of the parliament can easily be neutralized. However, history has shown as well that these cases have been rare and with little influence on the long run. Therefore, the parliament is a control force in Britain. By comparison, the French National Assembly has a much shorter tradition and was the result of a revolution. It was created in 1789 as the result of the French insurgency. However, throughout its history, it was ignored and dissolved by presidents and rulers of France, an inconsistent nature that cannot be seen as a proof of a consolidated democracy.
Overall, it can be concluded that the institutions are essential for the development of democracy. Britain and France are relevant in this sense; however, each of them points out two different ways of establishing and supporting democracy. However, each in its own way supports today's democratic principles in the West.
Berstein, Serge, and Milza. Pierre. Histoire de l'Europe. Paris: Hatier, 1994.
Braunstein, Florence, and Pepin, Jean Francois. Les Grandes Doctrines. Paris: Ellipses, 1998.
British Parlament. "Parliament: The political institution." Parliament.uk. 2007. 21 March 2008 http://www.parliament.uk/about/history/institution.cfm
Kissinger, Henry. Diplomacy. London: Simon & Schuster,…