Critical Thinking

Question

You are tasked with reviewing the characteristics of parliamentary and presidential governments and offering an opinion as to which is superior. When you write the essay, you must use the introductory paragraph provided below. Do copy and paste it into your essay (it counts as part of your two, double-spaced pages). You will then add two body paragraphs and a conclusion, as indicated in the provided introduction. Please do not write a separate or alternate introduction. This one is provided as a model to help you with writing essays.

To prepare, begin with the material in the textbook. However, even for a short essay, this is not enough. You may google and search for relevant information (stylized facts). These two, the textbook and Google, are not, however, sources in themselves but resources which point you to the authoritative sources. For this assignment, you have been provided with five sources which you should draw upon. You need to incorporate and cite only one of them.

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The selection below will be your introductory paragraph:

Parliamentary and presidential systems are the two dominant forms of democratic government. There has been a raging debate as to which form of government is superior to the other since a seminal article published by Juan J. Linz titled “The Perils of Presidentialism.” In this short essay, I will argue that a ____________ system of democratic government is superior to a______________ system. In the first paragraph, I will briefly outline the main characteristics of both the parliamentary and presidential systems. Then in the next paragraph, I will highlight with supporting institutional facts as to why a _________ system is better than a _______ system. In the conclusion, I will restate the main points of my argument. 

Grading Rubric

 I. Essay is well organized, followed specified rules and clearly written
   
 Poor = 1.2 Points; Average = 1.5 Points; Strong = 1.8 Points; Excellent = 2 Points
 
 II. Clearly defines and explains topic
   
 Poor = 1.2 Points; Average = 1.5 Points; Strong = 1.8 Points; Excellent = 2 Points
 
 III. Uses the conclusion to reinforce the main essay themes
   
 Poor = 0.6 Points; Average = 0.75 Points; Strong = 0.9 Points; Excellent = 1 Points

(The name of the Textbook is: Governments of the World (Paulette Kurzer)

Answer

Parliamentary and Presidential Governments

Parliamentary and presidential systems are the two dominant forms of democratic government. There has been a raging debate as to which form of government is superior to the other since a seminal article published by Juan J. Linz titled “The Perils of Presidentialism.” In this short essay, I will argue that a presidential system of democratic government is superior to a parliamentary system. In the first paragraph, I will briefly outline the main characteristics of both the parliamentary and presidential systems. Then in the next paragraph, I will highlight with supporting institutional facts as to why a presidential system is better than a parliamentary system. In the conclusion, I will restate the main points of my argument. 

            The presidential system is characterized by undivided executive power. The president is given authority over all functions of government. This authority is not shared with Congress, meaning that he can appoint members of the executive and remove them from office whenever they fail to perform as per his expectations. On the other hand, the parliamentary system involves the sharing of power between Congress and the president. Therefore, the president does not have absolute power in performing certain tasks; his power is more clearly outlined in a presidential democracy than in a parliamentary system. Moreover, in the presidential system of government, the president is elected by the people through a popular vote. Therefore, he is mandated by a country’s citizens to lead them; this grants him supreme authority over government and all its sectors. On the other hand, a parliamentary system has two leaders: the head of state who represents the country and the head of government who is in charge of administration. unfortunately, under this system, serious regime instabilities can occur particularly during bitter ethnic conflict and civil strife.

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The presidential system is superior to the parliamentary system because it grants leaders supreme authority over a country’s leadership. Furthermore, it gives Congress the power to censure the president. Since his activities are closely monitored by Congress which has the power to impeach him, the president is compelled to execute his mandate in accordance with citizens’ expectations. At the same time, the president cannot dissolve Congress. Thus, his ability to circumvent Congress’ supervisory role is thoroughly constrained (Kurzer 10). In contrast, the president and the secretaries are members of Congress in the parliamentary system. Therefore, they are more involved in day-to-day government operations. In this case, the superiority of the presidential system arises from the fact that it grants Congress a more definitive supervisory role while at the same time giving the executive the express authority it needs to carry out its day-to-day administrative duties (Kurzer 26).

            Based on the above analysis, it is evident that the presidential system of government is superior to the parliamentary system of government. It gives administrative authority to the president while giving Congress the duty of checking those presidential powers. The president deserves to have this authority because without it he cannot execute the mandate given to him by citizens effectively. At the same time, the supervisory role of Congress is vital since it checks against possible abuse of power by the executive. Finally, the superiority of the presidential system is also demonstrated by the president’s inability to circumvent Congress. For this reason, the executive’s activities are always being monitored by Congress to ensure compliance with citizens’ expectations.

Works Cited

Kurzer, Paulette. Governments of the World. London: Routledge, 2013. Print.

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