Why No Parliaments in the United States?
29 Pages Posted: 9 Sep 2011 Last revised: 10 Apr 2014
Date Written: February 23, 2014
Throughout American history, individual states have engaged in what scholars have aptly referred to as an “orgy of constitution-making.” States’ basic charters, however, have diverged profoundly from the federal Constitution in virtually every possible way but one: no state has ever created a parliamentary system. This Article asks why this is so, and finds that the answer reveals a basic American political pathology: a hatred of parties and legislative process, grounded in the electorate’s mythic belief that the only thing preventing political consensus are special interests or venal politicians. The current political paralysis in Washington, and in state capitals, also derives from this myth -- thus demonstrating that inquiring into the absence of American parliaments reveals basic flaws in our current political culture.
Keywords: U.S. Constitution, state constitutions, political parties
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