Monday, April 2, 2012

Term Paper on Politics

Term Paper on Politics

US Politics vs. Brazilian Politics
The US political system is traditionally viewed as one of the most effective and democratic systems in the world. Historically, the US politics was highly democratic and oriented on the protection of human rights of American citizens. In fact, it was one of the first political systems in the world which was based on democratic principles and its supreme law, the US Constitution, was defined by specialists (Spielvogel, 2005) as a kind of social contract. At the same time, it should be said that the US produced a profound impact on the development of many countries of the world, especially Latin America. For instance, it is possible to name Brazil as one of the countries, which consistently influenced by the US. This impact could be traced practically in all sphere of life of Brazilian society, including politics. As a result, the American political system became a model for Brazilian political system. However, it is necessary to underline that, in spite of the existing similarities between both political systems, either political system has preserved its uniqueness and originality, which reflects the national specificity of political and socioeconomic life of each country.


The US political system
The US political system is based on the principle of the division of powers, which targets at the maintenance of the democratic principles in American political system. It should be said that the division of power implies the creation of the balance of powers in order to avoid possibilities for strengthening one of the branches of power, which may lead to the development of an authoritarian regime in the country. In such a way, the US political system is comprised of three branches of power: legislative, executive, and judicial. Basically, each branch of power is independent and has its own authority to control all the other powers in the country.

At the same time, it is important to underline that the US is a federal republic. This is why the American federalist system has three levels of government: federal, state and local. The government on each level has its own authority, which cannot exceed the jurisdiction of the particular level, i.e. the local government can operate only within a given area, a county, for instance, the state government operates on the state level, while federal government has a national authority and heads the pyramid of executive branch of power. In this respect, it should be said that the head of the executive branch of power in the US is the President, who appoints the Cabinet and other officers, who administer and enforce federal laws and policies (Spielvogel, 2005). Basically, the President of the US is the commander-in-chief of the US military and he/she has a right to veto legislative bills before they become laws. The President is elected for four years and can be re-elected for another four years term.

The legislative power in the US is exercised by the bicameral Congress, which consists of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The major function of the Congress is to make federal laws, though it can approve treaties, it has the power of purse and can even use the power of impeachment to remove sitting members of the government, including the President (Martinez-Lara, 1995). In such a way, the legislative power, i.e. the Congress can make federal laws, but, at the same time, it can control the government to the extent that it can use the power of impeachment. In response, the US President, as the head of the executive power can control legislative power by means of vetoing legislative acts, for instance. The House of Representatives consists of 435 members who are elected for two-years term, while two senators are elected from each state to the Senate for a six-year term, while a third of the Senate is up for election every second year.

The executive power in the US is represented by the Supreme Court and lower federal courts. The judges are appointed by the President with Senate approval. In terms of the division of power principle, the major function of the courts is to interpret laws and they can overturn laws if they deem unconstitutional.

Furthermore, the political system of the US is formally comprised of multiple parties, but, in actuality, there are two major parties, the Democratic Party and the Republican Party, which compete for the power with each other, while the number of minor parties and organizations rather perform the function of the public control over different branches of power than actually compete for the power in the country.

Brazilian political system
Brazilian political system is, to a significant extent, similar to that of the US. In this respect, it should be said that the political system of Brazil is also based on the principle of the division of power between three branches: executive, legislative and judicial, which are also supposed to control each other. Moreover, Brazil is also a federal republic, which consists of three autonomous political entities: the States, the Municipalities, and the Federal District, which may be compared to the US three levels, namely federal, state, and local. However, it is important to underline that there is no hierarchy among political entities in Brazil and they function on the basis of six principles: sovereignty, citizenship, dignity of people, social value of labor, freedom of enterprise, and political pluralism (Martinez-Lara, 1995).

The head of the executive power in Brazil is the President, who, similarly to his/her American colleague, appoints his own Cabinet and is elected for four-year term and has a right to be re-elected for another four-year term. The President has the right to veto legislative acts of the legislative branch of power. The latter is represented on the federal level by the bicameral National Congress, which issues the legislative acts on the national level, though it is worth mentioning that each state has its own Constitution, which though should meet the norms of the Federal Constitution, the supreme law of Brazil. Basically, three senators are elected for the Federal Senate from each state for eight-year term and one-third is elected a four-year term, while two-thirds are elected after the next four-year period. The Chamber of deputies is elected for four-year term.

As for the judicial power of Brazil, it also performs the function of the control over the execution of laws and controls both executive and legislative branches of Brazilian power, while the judicial power, i.e. judges are appointed by the President with the Federal Senate approval.

In such a way, it is possible to estimate that Brazil used the US political system for the formation of its own political system. Nevertheless, Brazilian political system has its own unique characteristics. For instance, the Senators’ term is longer in Brazil that targets at the maintenance of the higher stability in the legislative branch of power on the federal level, since shorter terms could lead to the destabilization of the political situation in the country. The latter highly probable, because, unlike the US, there are four major political parties in Brazil: Workers’ Party, Brazilian Social Democracy Party, Brazilian Democratic Movement Party, and Democrats.

Thus, it is possible to conclude that the US political system may be viewed as a model for Brazilian political system that may be traced on all levels of the organization of political system of the country. At the same time, it is necessary to underline that the current political system is more diverse in Brazil because there is a larger number of parties that struggle for power that makes the national politics more diverse compared to the US.

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