There are similarities between the US government and the Republic of Ireland. One major similarity relates to Parliament. Parliament refers to the legislative arm of a government. It is important to note that parliament in the Republic of Ireland is bicameral in nature. That is, it is composed of two houses. These are the Upper House, also known as the House of Lords and the Lower House, also referred to as the House of Commons. The two Houses are charged with the duty of making laws. On the other hand, Congress is the term used to refer to the legislative branch of the American national government (parliament).
The powers assigned to Congress are clearly spelled out in Article 1 of the United States Constitution. Just like the Irish parliament, US Congress is also made up of two houses/chambers. These are the Senate and the House of Representatives (“Congress”). Concomitantly, the two Houses are charged with the responsibility of making laws for the country. Another similarity exists in the fact that just like in Ireland, the President in the US is allowed by the constitution of the country to run for only two terms.
The only difference is that while a US President may run for two terms of four years each, a President stays in office longer as each term is seven years long. There is a major reason why the two countries, despites being miles apart seem to be similar in some aspects. This is because there is one common factor in both of them. They both have some influence from Britain. Britain is by far the oldest monarchy in the world. The structure and organization of the British Parliament is by all means a tried and tested phenomenon.
Accordingly, countries in different parts of the world, some of which were at one time or another British colonies, have adopted the British Parliament model and used it as their own. Others yet have gone a step further and modified it to fit their needs. A good example of these that have adopted and modified the British model are the Americans. Remember the Declaration of Independence? It was the document drafted by Thomas Jefferson in 1776 with the aim of delivering Thirteen American colonies from the yoke of British colonialism.
While the American colonies were able to end the colonialism, the British still succeeded in profoundly influencing the American society and politics. For instance, the United States Congress can easily trace its origins to the British parliament (Petersen). On the other hand, it is important to note that the Republic of Ireland was once part of the British commonwealth. However, it only left the commonwealth after it established itself as a republic in 1949. Nonetheless, it could be correct to conclude that being part of the commonwealth, Britain had considerable influence on the country especially politically (Coakley and Gallagher, 350).
Little wonder therefore that the two countries, US and Ireland, are similar to a certain extent. After. all, they did have similar influences. Another similarity is the fact that despite the US and the Republic of Ireland having different forms of government in place they are both democracies. The mention of the word democracy elicits varied responses. Nevertheless, the common is a government for the people, by the people and for the people. A democracy is defined as a form of government in whereby state power is held by the people.
Democracy as a concept can be traced to the ancient Greek. It means rule by the people. According to Klinker, democracy is an ideal that people are not only willing to fight for but also to die for (1). According to Dahl, Shapiro and Cheibub (3), though there is no consensus of what democracy is, the definitions of democracy are said to include two principles. In the first principle, it is expected that in a democracy, all citizens have equal access to power. In the second principle, the citizens are able to enjoy collectively accepted freedoms and rights.
Both the US and the Republic of Ireland are democracies as the two principles are evident in the way politics is practices. As long as one has met all the necessary qualifications, they are free to run for high offices. Also, there is respect for the rule of law. According to Dahl, Shapiro and Cheibub, after the declaration of independence was signed, the Americans settled for the representative form of democracy. The motive behind this was the fact that they wanted something different from the autocratic rule exercised by their former colonialists, the British.
Since the Americans had suffered under the British, it then seemed right to elect representatives to government. In view of that, representatives are elected in the hope that they are to effectively the common people (457). To this day one of the pillars of the American democracy is representation. On the other hand, the Irish may be said to have adopted republican democracy (Coakley and Gallagher, 353). It is apparent that the American Congress and the Irish Parliament are very keen on representation even when it comes to the top office.
This is the reason why the Presidents, in the US and in the Republic of Ireland, are directly elected by the people. CONCLUSION It is openly evident that the US government and the Republic of Ireland are similar in certain aspects. This is probably because of the duties they are assigned. Nevertheless, they are two very distinct identities in terms of their origin and mode by which their principles (Prime Minister and President) are appointed. What is especially interesting is the fact that the US government and the Republic of Ireland seems to draw their influences from the British system of government.
However, this is understandable considering America was once a British colony and the Republic of Ireland was once part of the British Commonwealth.
“Government. ” Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. 2009. 4 May 2009 <http://www. merriam-webster. com/dictionary/government> Coakley, John and Gallagher, Michael. Politics in the Republic of Ireland, New York: Routledge, 1999. Congress. N. d. 4 May 2009. <http://faculty. ucc. edu/egh-damerow/congress. htm> Dahl, Robert Alan, Shapiro, Ian and Cheibub, Jose Antonio. The Democracy Source Book.
Cambridge, MA: The MIT press, 2003. Dubroff, Dee, ‘What is the difference between a parliamentary and presidential system of government’. Wisegeek. com. 2009. 5 May 2009. <http://www. wisegeek. com/what-is-the-difference-between-a-parliamentary-and-presidential-system-of-government. htm> Klinker, Joann. ‘Qualities of Democracies: Links to democratic leadership. Journal of Thought, 41. 2, 2006. Lijphart, Arend. Parliamentary versus presidential government. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 1992. Marriott, Alexander. ‘Republic? Democracy? What’s the difference? ’. Capitalism