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POL101Y1 Lecture Notes - Presidential System, Edmund Burke

Political Science
Course Code
Jeffrey Kopstein

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Political Science October 4th, 2010.
Democracy: Institutions
Reading: Andre Blais,Criteria for Assessing Electoral Systems
Juan LinzThe Perils of Presidentialism, pp.80-83
Horowitz, Comparing Democratic Systems, pp.73-79
Lipset, The Centrality of Political Culture, pp.80-83
Juan Linz, “The Virtues of Parlimentarism, pp.84-91
Marx: Reality you think you see is not real reality; real reality is exploitation
Democratic Institutions
Democracy is a method for choosing leaders. Universal franchise, secret ballot,
Emerges out of different pre-democratic contexts
But there are different kinds of democratic political institutions, different way of
organizing democratic government. These have profound implications for how
government is carried out, how social interests are channeled into politics, what
political competition looks like, what kind of parties you get, what the flow of
legislation is etc.
Parliamentary Vs. Presidential Systems
Constitutions: rules of the game, Britain vs. The US
Ancient (set of practices) vs. Modern (specific document written at a specific
time, RECORDING) constitutionalism
Great Britain
Unwritten constitution. History of continuity.
1. Significant acts of parliament and documents
2. Custom
3. Important interpretations of law
Importance of common law, judicial precedent and interpretation
Law evolves through system of interpretations
Institutions are the product of ‘evolution
United States
Written document
Enumerated rights
Rules of game clearly articulated
Institutions are product of intuitional design rather than (RECORDING)
Design of Government
Executive, US: president and cabinet; GB prime minister and cabinet, responsible
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