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The Institutions of Liberal Democratic States

The Institutions of Liberal Democratic States

Munroe Eagles
Christopher Holoman
Larry Johnston
Copyright Date: 2004
Pages: 143
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  • Book Info
    The Institutions of Liberal Democratic States
    Book Description:

    This book provides a concise overview of the institutions of government in modern democracies.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-0206-9
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-4)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 5-6)
  3. ONE The State: Constitutions, Institutions, and Systems
    (pp. 7-36)

    This chapter briefly introduces the main functions all states are presumed to perform, and identifies the key institutional arrangements that liberal democracies have adopted to perform these functions. Subsequent chapters will elaborate on the basic patterns identified here.

    As societies attain a sufficient size and complexity, they develop the permanent bureaucratic structure we associate with the state. The liberal democratic version of the state is in part a byproduct of the depersonalization of power and authority that reflects dissatisfaction with late feudal forms of government, such as absolute monarchy. Depersonalizing government means relying on institutions and processes (i.e., rule-governed procedures)...

  4. TWO Presidential versus Parliamentary Systems: Executives and Legislatures in Liberal Democracies
    (pp. 37-72)

    The preceding chapter has established in broad outline the basic distinction between constitutional democracies that have separated (presidential) or fused (parliamentary) executives and legislatures. As the “third wave” of democratization has swept over the world, creating new democracies where once authoritarian systems existed, a lively debate has emerged over the suitability for export from the advanced industrial world of these different governmental types. Fred Riggs’ comment opening this chapter will doubtless surprise many Americans who have been schooled to regard American–style democracy as the “best” system in the world. However, it is the case that the overwhelming majority of...

  5. THREE Governing Territory: Unitary and Federal Systems
    (pp. 73-96)

    Thus far we have tended to speak aboutthestate, orthegovernment. However, in many countries people elect representatives to at least three and often more “nested” levels of government (local and/or county, state or province, and national or federal governments). Clearly governments are numerous. A recent census of U.S. governments shows that in addition to the federal government and those of the 50 states, there are 87,849 governments in the United States (U.S. Census Bureau, July 2002). The division of responsibilities and jurisdictions across these various levels of government constitutes an important feature of our political life that...

  6. FOUR Cleavage Structures and Electoral Systems
    (pp. 97-130)

    In this chapter we will look at the divisions that give rise to the conflict and competition so necessary to the vitality of liberal democracy. With an understanding of the ways in which social divisions can be seen to structure political competition, we then turn to the rules governing the conduct of elections.

    One of the recurring themes in definitions of politics is the resolution of conflict, and we might well ask, conflict between whom, and over what? Part of the answer is contained in our observation about the character of most modern societies: they are pluralistic aggregations of several...

  7. INDEX
    (pp. 131-144)