Background to the Question
As I believe we have already noted
previously, that United States Constitution was adopted at a time when
government itself was seen as a problem – a threat to individual
liberty. Hence the United States Constitution was written as, and
largely remains, a marginal safeguard system against hasty majority
action. Under its separation of powers system, the President is elected
by a different system, for a different term, and by a different
electorate than either of the houses in the Legislature. The Congress
itself is divided into two houses, each of which is also elected by a
different electorate (state-wide versus Congressional district) and for a
different term. Originally the Senate (chosen by state legislatures,
not direct election) was also elected by a different system than the
House. And, of course, there are also the federal courts, each of which
can declare unconstitutional laws passed by the Congress or state
legislatures, and decisions of state courts. And judges hold their
position for life
Add to this the federal system which divides the
totality of government power between the states and the federal
government, the checks and balance system designed to preserve the
essence of the separation of powers system, and the Bill of Rights and
its application to the states via the 14th Amendment, and you have a system well designed to protect the people from the Government.
contrast, the British political system is unitary and parliamentary.
There is no federal division of power and the legislative and executive
branches are fused together in the Parliament to make policy making
easier. There is a Bill of Rights, but every part of it can be rescinded
by a simple parliamentary majority. In fact, before the United Kingdom
joined the European Community, and subjected itself to the supremacy of
the EC in a very narrow area of policy making, there was nothing that
Parliament could not legally do. More precisely, there was nothing that a
majority in the House of Commons could not do, because the House of
Lords for most of the 20th century could only delay the passage of legislation, not prevent it.
Should the British people be (more) worried about their rights being violated than Americans? If not, why not? If so, why?
You may refer to whatever sources your choose in answering.