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Comparison of Constitutions Essay

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Updated: Apr 24th, 2019

Introduction

The idea of comparing the constitutions of different countries has become infectious in the present world. Scholars are asked to compare constitutions derived from a socialist country with constitution of capitalistic countries. With the advances in knowledge base, scholars have come up with ways that they can use to compare different constitutions.

This article compares the constitution of the United States, the constitution of Russia and that of the state of Missouri. The American constitution, the Russian constitution and the constitution of the state of Missouri may appear to be remarkably similar in some aspects.

However, the similarities in these constitutions mask the differences that exist underneath. Most of the similarities in the constitution are detected when the users look at the general constitutional provisions. However, when looking at the specific provisions in the constitutions, the differences start to emerge.

Therefore, to clearly avoid misrepresentation of information some of the similarities should be taken at face value rather than their specificity.

In the general sense, most of the constitutions address some basic issues. These basic issues can be used to determine the similarities among the aforementioned state and countries. Taking this into account, the United States constitution, the Russian constitutions, and the state of Missouri constitution, address matters to do with distribution of power in the government.

These constitutions try to determine how the authority /power will be distributed among the different bodies of the government (Mannheimer 8). The constitutions try to provide for the element of power in order to ensure that power is not concentrated within one body.

Therefore, these constitutions have separated powers among the various bodies (Mannheimer 8). Both the United States’ constitutions and the Russian constitution establish a federal government with three branches: the executive the judiciary and the legislature (Mannheimer 9).

Moreover, in the question of power, all these constitutions advocate for election of a leader. This leader must be elected by a popular ballot. Therefore, they reject the English monarch system where power is inherited.

Both the Russian and the US constitutions are similar in that they are made up of a bicameral legislature (Mannheimer 11). This means that there is smaller house with two representatives from different regions.

Another area of similarity in the three constitutions is the question on relationship between government and its citizens. All the three constitutions try to address the question on how the citizens will relate to the state. In particular, the section on relationship in the constitutions discuss issues on rights of residents and citizens, how to obtain citizenship of a given state, and duties and obligation of the citizen to the state.

In addition to these, the constitutions try to answer the question on duties and obligation of the state to the citizen.

Another similarity seen between 3 constitutions is in the case of relations between the different levels of governments. All the three constitutions try to establish a relationship between the central governments and the different sub-levels in the government.

The constitutions of Russia, United States and constitution of the state of Missouri advocate for relationship with various cultures, ethnic groups and religious group.

The difference in the constitution lies in the fact that the finer details that complement the constitution are usually variable. As it has been said before, the similarities mask the differences that occur among various constitutions (Mannheimer 9).

Unlike the Russian constitution, the American constitution was drafted after the new thirteen states agreed to form a single government. This constitution was drafted when the country was under a lot of political stress. The newly independent thirteen states distrusted the objectives of the government.

In reality, the constitution of America was ratified under a vote probably less one sixth of the males in America. The concept of democracy was not initially embedded in the American constitution despite the fact that it is a widely used term in America. Russia on the other hand was faced by different political conditions.

For instance, Russia already existed as a nation by the time they formulated their constitution. Russia drafted their constitution in 1993 because they were threatened by the fact that the federation was going to fall. Therefore, when creating the constitution they created a few differences from that of the United States.

In the United States the constitutions prohibits the congress from coming up with a religious group that may be favored by the federal government (Mannheimer 12). This is because the federal government depended on taxation that does not exclude any group or religion from tax. However, this provision is only valid for the case of the federal government.

Individual states were allowed to choose their preferred religion. In fact, the American civil rights are protected as per the bill of rights. In contrast to this fact, the Russian constitution explicitly empowers the federal government to protect the civic rights. Moreover, the federation protects the religious and political rights.

The powers of the president in the American constitution are provided in article II, section 2-3. The president of the American government is the commander in chief of the armed forces. Moreover, the president has the power to appoint officers of the federal government according to the United States constitution (Carnahan 17).

This means that the president can only appoint the officers once the congress has approved him to appoint. In contrast to this, the Russian constitution article 80 provides that the president shall be the head of the state. Moreover, the Russian president is the guarantor of the civil and human rights.

The Russian constitution provides the president with more power. He can appoint all federal officers except for the prime minister. The Russian president can only appoint the prime minister if the Duma consents to his choice.

Difference between the Missouri constitution and national constitution

The federal constitution is granted supremacy over the state’s constitution. However, some differences occur between the federal constitution and the Missouri state constitution. Some of the differences detected include difference in function.

The functions of the local government in Missouri are set to conform to the state’s requirements. Therefore, when creating their own constitution the state of Missouri incorporates other functions in their constitution that are not there in the general constitution (Blanda 4).

In addition to this, the state constitution is equipped with more policy-oriented provisions than the national constitution. This is because it carters for the need of the different people within the state unlike with the national constitution which carters for the needs of Americans as a whole. Missouri State’s constitution may easily be amended than the federal constitution.

Conclusion

Various similarities occur in constitutions of different countries. However, these similarities mask the underlying difference that occurs among various constitutions.

Therefore, to study the differences and similarities that may occur in the constitutions of different countries some aspects are taken at face value. This is because digging deeper into such aspects may yield more differences than similarities.

Works Cited

Blanda, Sean. “State Constitution: State Rights.” Constitution Daily 3.1 (2012): 4. Print

Carnahan, Robin. Constitution of the United States: Constitution of the State of Missouri. PDF file. Web.

Mannheimer, David. “Comparing the American and Russian Constitution.” Alaska Justice Forum 24.4 (2008): 8-12. Print.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "Comparison of Constitutions." April 24, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/comparison-of-constitutions/.

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