CONSTITUTIONAL DEMOCRACY & OTHER POLITICAL REGIMES
REVIEW OF PART TWO: QUESTIONS & EXERCISES
What is meant by the term "political regime"?
Briefly define "constitutional democracy."
Identify and explain the two essential ingredients of constitutional democracy.
What is a constitution? In a society with a genuinely constitutional political regime, what is the relationship between the Constitution and the other laws and public policies of that society?
In a society with a truly constitutional political regime, what functions are performed by its Constitution?
What is a written constitution? What is meant by the statement that a written constitution is "codified"? Cite examples of contemporary written constitutions. The Constitution of the U.S.A. is a written constitution. Explain.
In what sense is the British Constitution an "unwritten" constitution? What is meant by the statement that the British Constitution is "uncodified"? Identify written elements of the British Constitution. What is the Common Law? What aspects of the Common Law are elements of the British Constitution? Identify unwritten elements of the Constitution. What are the "conventions of the Constitution"? Cite examples. Briefly stated, what are the five sources of the basic law of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland?
What is a constitutional system? How does it come into being? Use the United States Constitution and the American constitutional system to illustrate and explain.
What is constitutionalism? Explain what is meant by "limited government." With what two fundamental legal requirements must a government comply in order to be genuinely constitutional in character? What is the central purpose of constitutionalism?
What are the different ways in which a constitution may limit the power of government? Explain. What is meant by "procedural limitations" on governmental authority? Cite examples of procedural limitations specified in the U.S. Constitution. What is meant by "substantive limitations" on governmental authority? Cite examples of substantive limitations specified in the U.S. Constitution. What is meant by "balanced government"? How and why does a constitution provide for a system of divided and balanced political authority? Does the U.S. Constitution provide for such a system?
What is meant by the "rule of law"? What is the relevance of this concept to constitutionalism? What is meant by the "supremacy of law"? What does the rule of law strongly imply? On what does it place particular emphasis? Under the rule of law, legal means are available for holding government officers responsible if they violate the Constitution or other laws of the political community. Explain, using the U.S.A. as an example.
How can a government be constitutional without being democratic? What is a constitutional oligarchy? Describe the British governmental system that operated from 1689 to 1832 and explain what made it a constitutional oligarchy. How did the British government, during the period from 1832 to 1928, evolve into a modern constitutional democracy?
Describe and explain dictatorship as the opposite of constitutionalism. Identify terms that are synonymous or roughly synonymous with "dictatorship." Define "dictatorship," identifying and explaining the basic characteristics of this type of political regime.
Identify, describe, and cite examples of three different types of dictatorship. Define: autocracy; absolute monarchy; authoritarian oligarchy; one-party state; absolute democracy.
How can a government be democratic without being constitutional? Identify labels that have been used to refer to non-constitutional democratic political regimes. Describe absolute democracy, as it operated in ancient Athens.
What key characteristics do all types of dictatorship have in common?
What is the essential difference between dictatorship and constitutionalism?
Identify and describe the two basic elements of representative democracy. Is a constitu- tional, representative government necessarily a democratic government? Explain. What makes a representative government democratic? Define "representative democracy." Cite examples.
What is a direct democracy? Identify, describe, cite examples of two major types of direct democracy. Describe government by common mass assembly, as the system operated in ancient Athens. Describe the system, as it has operated in the New England towns. Identify and describe other examples of the practice of direct democracy in the U.S.A. Define: referendum (plebiscite); statutory initiative; constitutional initiative. Compare and contrast direct democracy with representative democracy.
Describe the body of political theory underlying and supporting representative democracy. Identify and describe four key arguments against direct democracy and in favor of representative democracy. How and why is representative democracy, according to its supporting political theory, far superior to direct democracy? According to this body of theory, what is the proper role of the people as a whole in politics and government? Why? What famous American statesman and political theorist developed and presented arguments critical of direct democracy and strongly supportive of representative government? Explain.
What is the relevance of political culture to constitutional democracy? Define and explain: political culture; political socialization. Describe the content of a society's political culture. What is meant by "basic political values and norms"? With what important questions are a society's basic political values and norms concerned? Explain these basic values and norms as society's criteria of measurement, or standards of judgement. Explain the basic values and norms as guides to political behavior. What is meant by referring to the basic values and norms as "political morals"? What is meant by "basic political beliefs"? With what important matters are a society's basic political beliefs concerned? Cite examples of questions that are answered by basic beliefs relating to (a) the general nature and operation of the society's system of government, (b) the average citizen's political effectiveness and the government's responsiveness to citizens' needs and demands, and (c) the overall nature of the society, its internal components, and their relationships.
What is the relationship between a society's political culture and its political regime? Explain political culture as a set of limitations on political behavior. Cite examples of established and persisting patterns of political behavior in a stable society with a stable constitutional democratic political regime. What is meant by "fundamental political consensus"? What is the relevance of such a consensus to a political culture compatible with and supportive of constitutional democratic political institutions? With what matters is a society's fundamental political consensus typically concerned? What is the importance of a consensus regarding the society's basic goals and purposes? Explain common nationhood or the will to accomodate as a precondition for a viable and enduring constitutional democratic political regime. Cite examples of basic political values and norms which support constitutional democracy. Cite examples of basic political beliefs that are supportive of constitutional democracy.
What is individualism? What is the core idea of individualism? Describe and explain fully. What is the relevance of this idea to a constitutional democractic political culture? According to individualist political theory, what is the primary task of a society and its government? Explain fully. What is the central emphasis of individualism?
Describe and explain "individual liberty," or "individual freedom," as a key concept of individualism.
Who was John Locke? What contribution did he make to individualist political theory? Describe and explain fully.
According to John Locke and other political individualists, a stable society is, in essence, a free society. Explain. According to Locke and other individualists, what is the only solid foundation on which a stable society and governmental system can be built? Explain fully. According to the political individualists, how much freedom should the individual member of society be allowed?
When Benito Mussolini ruled Italy, he insisted that the individual existed to serve the state, that the individual Italian was of worth and importance only insofar as he contrbuted to the greater glory and strength of the Italian state. How does this tenet of Italian Fascism differ from the core idea of individualism?
Compare and contrast Adolf Hitler's notion of "national freedom" with individualism's concept of "individual freedom."
What is collectivism? Describe and explain fully. Cite examples of different bodies of collectivist political and social theory. Compare and contrast collectivism with individualism.
What is the relationship between individualist political theory and the political cultures of English-speaking societies?
What is the relevance of social, political, and cultural evolution to viable and enduring systems of constitutional democratic government? Cite important examples.
Briefly stated, what are the fundamental characteristics of modern constitutional democracy?