A.P. Civics Notes: Chapter 11
that the U.S. and most Latin American countries has is different from the
that most European nations have because in Europe, a person who wants to run for
office must persuade his party to nominate him, while in America, politicians can run for
In Europe, people vote for parties; in America, they vote for individuals.
In primaries, people vote especially for a “person” (and his qualities, traits, etc…), and
in general elections, this is sometimes true also.
In parliament, legislators can support their leaders or not, and if they don’t then new
leaders (prime minister and various cabinet members) must be elected.
This ensures that more action can occur, since the parties of the executive and
legislative branches are practically always the same.
Congress is free from the turmoil of possible collapsing executive branches and is more
powerful to make decisions; Congressmen don’t have to worry about easily losing their
positions come another election.
In Congress, there is less cohesion in bill passing, and less stuff can get done.
Parliaments members usually engage in
, are poorly paid, have little
independent power, and receive little power as well.
Meanwhile, Congressmen are much better paid, have more power, do many things in
committees, and have staff members of their own, thus “proving how important they
The Evolution of Congress
The framers of the Constitution chose a congress over other forms of representative gov’t
because they didn’t want all power concentrated together, even if it was in a group of people,
but they also knew that the states would want to be heavily represented and have power.
Thus, they created a
, which consisted of two houses—a House
of Representatives and a Senate—where one was based on population representation
and the other was more evenly balanced.
checks and balances
created, the framers still expected Congress to be the
dominant branch in politics, and for a while, it was, except with strong presidents like
were in power.