Comparative Politics The United States Vs France

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Comparative Politics The United States Vs. France Essay, Research Paper

Comparative Politicss:

The United States vs. France

There are few states in the universe who have really similar electoral systems but continue to hold differing sums of political parties. These similarities and differences are best described in the relationship between France and the United States. Despite similar electoral systems, France has multiple political parties while the United States has merely two major parties. I will reason that the United States needs this two party system in order to accomplish a smooth flow and continuity of governmental operations, while the people of France do non. France requires a more expansive voice for their widespread concerns and ideals, which accounts for their more pluralist society..

First, the similarities of the two electoral systems in the Unites States and France should be examined briefly. Basically both states use a first past the station, victor takes all manner of electing their Presidents. The United States uses an electoral college to choose a President from available campaigners. Each province has a certain sum of voters in the electoral college, this figure is equal to the figure of Senators and Representatives it is entitled to in Congress. When election clip is nigh, each provinces political party names voters who are committed to the party & # 8217 ; s campaigner. American electors really place ballots for party voters, who in bend ballot for the President and Vice-President. In any event, the individual with the most ballots wins. Similarly, France has a primary system where Presidential campaigners are selected. Anyone can run on the first ballot but if a bulk has non been decided in the first ballot merely those with greater than 12 % of the ballot go to the 2nd ballot. The individual with the most ballots on the 2nd ballot wins. With these similarities, why does the sum of parties vary so greatly within these two states? To make this, I will analyze each states party system discoursing their similarities and differences between them. In comparative political analysis, grounds back uping difference is about ever another difference between two comparings.

The United States has a bipartisan system where the Democrats and Republicans dominate political civilization with small intervention from independent parties. This duopoly, as it is referred, has been the kernel of American electoral history. There are conditions which have been developed to place the bipartisan system:

1. Two parties are in a place to vie for an absolute bulk of seats in Congress.

2. One of the parties wins a sufficient bulk.

3. One of the two parties controls the presidential term.

4. Change and rotary motion in power between the two parties remains a believable outlook. 1

The United States party system follows the above conditions about cleanly. The Democrats and the Republicans compete for the bulk of seats in Congress. At times the province of the governmental procedure in the United States can hold the two houses controlled by the same party, while holding the Presidency controlled by a different 1. This can take to gridlock, because the passing of legislative assembly is near impossible in this state of affairs. The two party system can be understood by three general political orientations: institutional, cultural and consensual. These three political orientations can explicate how and why the American & # 8217 ; s use such a system taken that most first past the station & # 8217 ; systems are bipartisan systems. With this in head, relative representation would ensue in a multi-party system. This does non follow through in the instance of France, as it is a multi-party system which besides uses a plurality, victor takes all electoral system. This could non be used as a ground for why the two systems differ. & # 8220 ; The American election system offers no wages of office to any but the plurality victor and, so the theory goes, therefore discourages the chronic minority parties. & # 8221 ; 2 Contrasting this with a relative representation system, the chronic minority party would be facilitated and proliferation would be come-at-able. On the other manus, France will fall in alliance parties in order for a larger voice to be heard, in France little parties do flourish and go larger more influential parties. Another institutional ground for two-partyism in the United States are the Torahs which have been passed by the lone two parties in power. These Torahs attempt to protect the duopoly. The Torahs themselves outline how a party qualifies to hold their name on a province ballot and what sum of federal support they would measure up for. & # 8220 ; To measure up to look on the ballot many provinces requires either a specified per centum of the ballot to hold been obtained in a old election or the entry of a request signed by a stipulated figure of electors & # 8230 ; .This can imply obtaining huge Numberss of signatures. & # 8221 ; 3 Obtaining such huge sums could and would be 1000000s of dollars, money that most independent parties do non hold. Financing parties during elections is a really dearly-won project, limitations have been put in topographic point that see independent parties limited to a 1000 or so dollars per campaigner, per contribution. With the limited following an independent party would hold, this limitation limits the independent party drastically. The single campaigner would basically be responsible for his ain funding. This is really different in France where any group can run on the first ballot without a major invasion of Torahs and judicial admissions regulating party engagement. The shear population size of the United States, over two hundred and seventy million, lends itself more straight toward a bipartisan system because of the trouble and disbursal required to make and inform its population. In contrast, France with a population merely over 50 seven million, informing and educating the population is less expensive and more capable of being handled. The 2nd cause of bipartisan success in the United States can be associated with cultural theories. & # 8220 ; It attributes the bipartisan systems development of a political civilization that accepts the necessity of via media, the wisdom of short-run pragmatism, and the turning away of unyielding bigotry & # 8230 ; in other words, they are willing to do the sorts of via medias necessary to convey heterogeneous groups of electors into two political parties. & # 8221 ; 4 These groups so develop and maturate into what is considered the norm and continue to cultivate new thoughts within the bipartisan system. When we consider that states which are really diverse frequently have multi-party systems, we can contradict this theory from the United States probe because they are a really diverse population, particularly in countries of faith, race and geographic location. This is something that France and the United States have in common, they are both really diverse, yet one has a multi-party system and the other a bipartisan system. And in conclusion there are the consensus theories which help implement the bipartisan system. & # 8220 ; Since the affairs that divide Americans are secondary, so the statement goes, the via medias necessary to convey them into one of two major parties are easier to make. & # 8221 ; 5 Consensus and understanding with traditionally accepted establishments of old make the American people more susceptible to easier and less complicated signifiers of authorities. The bipartisan systems is decidedly one of those systems. A system that is necessary for the smooth operation of governmental operation, and an easier cheque on the power of the executive. One less convincing statement is the & # 8220 ; inclination of bipartisan systems to increase representation over clip besides is a really different procedure from the inclination of multi-party systems to increase the information as a effect of increased representation, chiefly in little parties, at any one point in time. & # 8221 ; 6

Following is the party system of France, which despite its similarities in electoral system with the United States, its party system is really different from the American theoretical account. In fact, the multipar
ty system of France is what can merely be described as the norm for electoral systems such as theirs. France is a civilization which is really pluralist in nature. The undermentioned defines what a pluralist or multiparty system is with the undermentioned three characteristics:
– a little ideological spread between the chief parties ;

– a leaning to organize alliances between different parties, even when they

favour different programmes ;

– basically centripetal competition.7

The above is merely an lineation of characteristics most multiparty systems experience, & # 8220 ; centripetal pluralism can be said to be embodied in States where, by ground of the contradictions and heterogeneousness of both the Right and the Left, competition is played out at the Centre. The function of the Centre is important, non because of its ain intrinsic strength, but on history of the failing of both the Right and Left. & # 8221 ; 8 There is, as a consequence, a greater inclination for parties to meet in the Centre to make an confederation because the benefits are much greater when alliance authoritiess are created. This is apparent when the option would be a state of affairs of lasting resistance. It is evident through history, that France has seen much to split the state. Conflicts over Church and province dealingss, democracy versus some other autocratic option have created the demand for a multiparty system. & # 8220 ; Gallic society since the 1950 & # 8217 ; s has quickly undergone a transmutation under the impact of the injury of military licking and business, of a rapid population addition, of monolithic industrialisation and urbanisation with their effects for population mobility and the businesss construction of the country. & # 8221 ; 9 These issues do non needfully explicate the differences between France and the United States because the U.S. saw some of these events occur in their ain state during these periods. Alternatively these are mentioned to as to extinguish them as grounds for the differences. The parties in France need to retain their effectivity, they do this by going more distinguishable. Some parties need nevertheless to fall in in alliance authoritiess in order to keep their places in Gallic political relations. France was pictured & # 8220 ; as a state divided into warring and unreconcilable cantonments, each cantonment organizing its ain party. Hence, large, lasting and stable alliances were possible. & # 8221 ; 10 With this inclination to make alliances we have another difference between the American system and the Gallic. The American system does necessitate to fall in in alliance authoritiess because the issue covered by each party are so wide that most involvements of the people are covered with the two parties. The demand for 3rd parties in America still exist as a method of go toing and turn toing the concerns of the electorate. In France, & # 8220 ; a tradition of fiddling with the electoral system as a agency of marginalising oppositions in a civil order traditionally missing in consensus has ensured that no electoral system has enjoyed complete legitimacy, but has been seen instead as an instrument for procuring partizan advantage. & # 8221 ; 11 This advantage is a difference between that and the American system whereby the Majoritarian electoral systems discourage parties who fail to be represented on the footing of their acquisition of seats in authorities and hence lend legitimacy to those parties ( Democrats and Republicans ) who systematically have the attending of the populace and seats in authorities. There are many grounds why France remains a multiparty system but none so clear as the European integrating. & # 8220 ; The rapid soaking up of France into Europe, raising frights among patriots and threatened groups, the societal democratisation of the Socialist Party & # 8221 ; 12 make the Multiparty system flourish in a state where many parties are needed to widen a voice to the pluralist positions of its citizens. France is like no other state in the universe but it has had its jobs which may let for some farther account into its multiparty system. & # 8220 ; Like all West European states, France had high rates of rising prices ( until 1985 ) , of unemployment ( lifting to over two million by 1984 ) , of disenchantment with a province which could non command the economic system or even its ain outgo, of offense rates and of demands for better protection of the environment. & # 8221 ; 13 The province of political engagement was at an all clip low. Peopless satisfaction with the parties they supported was in demand of aid. The solution was the creative activity of new parties and the shift from one party to another of party components. Many new parties and bing 1s, made new additions and were shuffled to the head of Gallic political relations because of the unsettling effects of inflationary times.

This essay has attempted to demo why such a difference exists between the United States bipartisan system and the Multiparty system of France. Within the predating seven pages, similarities have been discussed which govern them out as possible replies to the difference between the two states. The United States use its two party system to its advantage by keeping a cheque on the executive. As the Framer of the fundamental law had intended, they did non desire the state to be ran by the few. This is why the executive has been limited in its power and why the two-party system is an acceptable party system for the clip being in the United States. France on the other manus has a semi-Presidential system whereby a President and a Prime Minister exist. The Multi-party system in France attends to the demands of the electorate much more expeditiously because of the plurality of concerns and political orientations that surround its political relations. Many inquiries still exist and more clip is needed for farther treatment, but the direct premiss has been answered.

2189 words.


1. McSweeney, Dean. , American Political Parties: the formation, diminution and reform of the American party system. , Dean McSweeney and John Zvesper, 1991. Pg. 79

2. Sorauf, Frank J. , Party Politics in America, Little, Brown and Company, 1984. Pg. 40.

3. McSweeney, Dean. , American Political Parties: the formation, diminution and reform of the American party system. , Dean McSweeney and John Zvesper, 1991. Pg. 83

4. Sorauf, Frank J. , Party Politics in America, Little, Brown and Company, 1984. Pg. 41.

5. Ibid. Pg. 42

6. Midlarsky, Manus I. , & # 8220 ; The American Political Science Review & # 8221 ; , Political Stability of Two- Party and Multiparty Systems: Probabilistic Bases for the Comparison of the Party Systems, The American Political Science Association, 1984. Pg. 947.

7. Meny Yves and Knapp Andrew, Government and Politics in Western Europe, Oxford University Press, 1998. Pg. 106.

8. Ibid. , Pg. 107.

9. Wright, Vincent. , The authorities and Politicss of France. , Holmes and Meiers Publishers Inc. , 1989. Pg. 172.

10. Ibid. , Pg. 172

11. Criddle, Byron. , & # 8220 ; Parliamentary Affairs & # 8221 ; , Electoral Systems in France. , Oxford University Press, 1992 p.108.

12. Wright, Vincent. , The authorities and Politicss of France. , Holmes and Meiers Publishers Inc. , 1989. Pg. 179.

13. Hall, Peter A, Hayward, Jack and Machin, Howard, Developments in French Politics. , St. Martin & # 8217 ; s Press,1990. Pg 45.


Criddle, Byron. , & # 8220 ; Parliamentary Affairs & # 8221 ; , Electoral Systems in France. , Oxford University

Imperativeness, 1992 p.108-116.

Hall, Peter A, Hayward, Jack and Machin, Howard, Developments in French Politics. , St. Martin & # 8217 ; s Press,1990.

McSweeney, Dean. , American Political Parties: the formation, diminution and reform of the

American party system. , Dean McSweeney and John Zvesper, 1991.

Meny Yves and Knapp Andrew, Government and Politics in Western Europe, Oxford

University Press, 1998.

Sorauf, Frank J. , Party Politics in America, Little, Brown and Company, 1984

Wright, Vincent. , The authorities and Politicss of France. , Holmes and Meiers Publishers,

Inc. , 1989.

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