POLS219 Политически системи на Великобритания и САЩ



The course introduces the students to the historical development, the present state and the problems of the political systems of Great Britain and the United States. These systems emerged and evolved under specific historical conditions and were unique in many respects. They have become, however, models of representative government and mass democracy, and have exerted forming influences on subsequent modern democracies. It is true especially of the first mass democracy, that of the United States, which at the same time stood on the basis of British model, and was consciously repulsed from it, but also of the other constitutional democracies. Knowing the characteristics and functioning of the British and American political systems will enable the students to understand adequately the mechanisms of modern democracy.

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Политиката и обществото (на английски език)


проф. Румен Генов  д-р

Описание на курса:



After completing successfully this course the students will:

1) know: the modern political systems and their functioning.

2) be capable of: comparative analysis of the political structures and processes.

Предварителни изисквания:

Students should have the following knowledge and/or skills:

Certain familiarity with principal terms and political theories is desirable but not obligatory; motivation, intellectual curiosity and willingness to understand and analyze the basic models of representative government and modern democracy are of primary importance.

Форми на провеждане:

Учебни форми:

Език, на който се води курса:

Теми, които се разглеждат в курса:


POLS 219 The Political Systems of the United States and Great Britain

1. Historical overview of the evolution of the political systems of the United States and Great Britain. The stages of their development and their principal characteristics. The British model of representative government, its impact and significance. The United States as the first mass democracy. The process of extension of democracy. The body politic and the images of power.

2. The British constitution. The uncodified constitution, its history, reforms and present state.

3. The Mоnarchy. The course of historical development, functions, and prerogatives of the monarch. The changing nature of modern monarchy.

4. The Pаrliament: the House of Commons and the House of Lords. Their evolution, structure, powers, procedures. The role of the House of Commons. Parliamentary reforms. Restriction of the powers of the House of Lords.

5. The electoral system. Its evolution, characteristics and reforms. Political culture and electoral behavior of British voters.

6. The Cabinet system and the role of the prime-minister. Evolution of the cabinet system through the last three centuries. The prime-ministerial system of government. Leadership style of prime-ministers during the 19th and 20th century and its significance. Coalition governments in the history of Great Britain.

7. The system of local government. Historical traditions, institutions, and present state.

8. The political parties. The emergence and development of the two-party model. Organization of the parties. Party ideologies. Historical changes and the present state of the British parties. The role of the third parties.

9. Pressure groups and groups of influence. Emergence, development and political influence of the trade unions. The employers’ organizations. Ecological and other movements.

10. The media and public opinion. Historical development of the press and the electronic media. The public opinion and its influence on the political process..

11. Аmerican federalism. The revolutionary origins of the American republic and the formation of the union of states.

12. The United States Cоnstitution of 1787. The strict definition of the powers of the federal and the state governments. The principle of separation of powers and its implementation.

13. The Presidency. The powers of the president and head of state, of the executive branch, commander-in-chief and in the conduct of foreign relations of the US. The functions of the president as head of federal government. The relations between the president and the Congress. The tendency of relative increase of authority of the presidential institution.

14. The Cоngress as supreme legislative body. Structure, composition, and sphere of competence of the House of Representatives and the Senate. Historic conflicts regarding the supremacy of federal and state legislatures. The House of Representatives as the principal forum of political debate. Activities of the congressional committees. The Senate as a factor in the legislative process, and in the relations with the presidential administration. Lobbyism and its regulation.

15. The judicial system of the United States: the Supreme Court and other federal courts of law. Position and functions of the Supreme Court in the political system as supreme court of appellation and constitutional court. Appellate and district


16. Stаte cоnstitutions, state legislatures, and governors. Powers and functions according the federal and state constitutions. Politics at state level – the powers of the governors.

17. The pоlitical parties. Historical evolution of the US party systems. Development and functions of the party machines. Attempts of forming of third parties and their role in the US party system.

18. The US electoral system. Its evolution and characteristics. Presidential elections. Elections for the two chambers of the Congress. The primaries. The process of nomination at the national conventions.

19. The civic society. Civic associations and movements at national, state and local level. Pressure groups, groups of influence, groups of concerned citizens. The media, the forming of public opinion and politics.

20. Сomparative analysis of the political systems of the United States and Great Britain. The historical process of democratization. The relations between the legislative and executive branch of government. The executive power and the significance of the respective leadership styles of the presidents and the prime-ministers. The role of money in the electoral process. Democracy in the technotronic society, information technologies and the global networks.

Литература по темите:


Barker, B. Politics, Peoples and Government: Themes in British Political Thought since the Nineteenth Century (1994)

Beech, Matt, and Simon Lee. The Conservatives under David Cameron: Built to Last?, (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009)

Beech, M., and S. Lee. Ten Years of New Labour, (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008)

Blake, Jeremy. A History of the British Isles (Palgrave Macmillan, 1996, 1997, 2003).

Bogdanor, Vernon (Ed.) The British Constitution in the 20th Century (Oxford University Press, 2003).

Bogdanor, V. The Governance of Britain (Allen Lane/Penguin Books, 2005)

Brinkley, Alan. The Unfinished Nation: A Concise History of the American People (1992)

Churchill, Winston S. History of the English Speaking Peoples (Vol. 1-4, 1956–58)

Cohen-Almagor, R. The Scope of Tolerance: Studies on the Costs of Free Expression and Freedom of the Press (London and New York: Routledge, 2006).

Dahl, Robert. Democracy and Its Critics (Yale University Press, 1989)

Dahl, Robert. Democracy in the United States: Promise and Performance. 2nd ed. (Chicago: Rand McNally, 1973)

Devline, T. M. The Scottish Nation (1999)

Dorey, Peter. British Politics since 1945. Making Contemporary Britain. (Oxford: Blackwell, 1995).

Ferguson, Niall. Empire: The Rise and Demise of the British World Order and the Lessons for Global Power (New York: Basic Books, 2004).

Garard, J. Democratization in Britain: Elites, Civil Society, and Reform since 1800 (2002)

Gilbert, Martin. The Routledge Atlas of American History (2010)

Harrigan, John. Politics and American Future (New York: Random House, 1987)

Janda, Kenneth, Jeffrey M. Berry, Jerry Goldman. The Challenge of Democracy: Government in America. 2nd ed. (Boston, etc.: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1989)

Johnson, Paul Bede. A History of the American People (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1997)

Johnson, Paul Bede. Modern Times: A History of the World from the 1920s to the Year 2000 (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2005)

Kearney, H. The British Isles: A History of Four Nations (1989)

Kennedy, David M.; Cohen, Lizabeth; Bailey, Thomas A. The American Pageant: A History of the Republic. 13th ed. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2006).

Kennedy, Paul M. The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers: Economic Change and Military Conflict from 1500 to 2000 (1987)

King, Anthony. Britain at the Polls. (2005)

Morgan, Kenneth Owen, Baron Morgan. (ed.) The Oxford History of Britain (1987, rev ed 2010)

Moodie, Graeme C. The Government of Great Britain (London: Methuen, 1968).

Norton, Philip. Parliament in British Politics (Palgrave Macmillan, 2005)

Norton, Philip, and X. Dai. (Eds.) The Internet and Parliamentray Democracy in Europe (London: Routledge, 2008).

Norton, Philip. British Polity. 4th ed. (New York and London: Longman, 2000; 5th ed., Prentice Hall; 2010)

Pugh, M. The Making British Politics, 1867-1939 (1982).

Pugh, M. State and Society: British Political and Social History, 1870-1992 (1994).

Roberts, Andrew. A History of the English-Speaking Peoples Since 1900 (2006).

Tindall, George Brown, and David E. Shi. America: A Narrative History (8th ed. 2009).

Young, J. Britain and European Unity, 1945-1999 (2000).

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