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USA constitution and Germany constitution comparison

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Trevor Stern

on 18 November 2012

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Transcript of USA constitution and Germany constitution comparison

USA Constitution and German Constitution Comparison USA Constitution German Constitution Both Federalism
Both constitutions give certain powers to the federal government, and certain powers to the state governments. Separation of Power
The constitutions both separate the federal government into three branches. Individual Rights
Both constitutions give their citizens basic rights that cannot be taken away. Popular Sovereignty/Republicanism Print Money Declare War State Government Duties Marriage Laws Education State/Länder Government Duties regulation of radio and television Church Affairs foreign affairs immigration Federal Government Duties Transportation Federal Government Duties Concurrent Government Duties Civil Law Concurrent Government Duties State Government Duties Concurrent Government Duties Federal Government Duties punish piracies on the high seas Collect Taxes establish bankruptcy laws Legislative Branch The United States legislative branch is also referred to as Congress. Congress is made up of the House of Representatives and the Senate. The Senate has two representatives from each state, and House of Representatives has one representative from each congressional district. Congress can declare war, impeach the president, vote on the passing of bills, and override a president's veto. Executive Branch The United States executive branch is made up of the president (currently Barack Obama) and their cabinet. The executive branch can approve or veto bills, pardon criminals of federal charges, and appoint supreme court justices. Judicial Branch The United States Judicial Branch is led by the nine supreme court justices. These justices can declare laws unconstitutional, and judge court cases relating to the meaning of the constitution. The Legislative Branch The German Legislative Branch is made up of the Bundestag and the Bundesrat. The Bundestag representatives are elected by the people, while the Bundesrat representatives are appointed by the state governments. The Bundestag and Bundesrat decide on issues concerning the federal budget, and deployment of soldiers outside Germany. They also scrutinize the work of the Government. The Executive Branch Rights Stated in German Constitution The German Executive Branch is made up of the chancellor (currently Angela Merkel) and their appointed (by the president) advisors. The chancellor is elected by the Bundestag. The executive branch can issue formal policy guidelines, which are followed by the rest of the government. The Judicial Branch The Germany Judicial Branch is led by the German Federal Constitutional Court, which has 16 members. It is divided into two senates. The German Federal Constitutional Court has the duties of striking down laws that do not abide by the constitution, banning extreme and dangerous political parties, and supplying a judge if the president is impeached. Rights Stated in the American Constitution The United States Constitution has ten amendments (The Bill of Rights) which state the rights of every citizen. These are the amendments which do not relate to the German Constitution. First amendment: States the freedoms of speech, religion, press, assembly, and petition

Second Amendment: Allows states to have militias, and citizens to "bear arms", or protect themselves with weapons.

Third Amendment: Allows citizens to refuse housing soldiers.

Fourth Amendment: Protects citizens against search and seizure, meaning the police have to have a search warrant before they can investigate your house for criminal evidence.

Fifth Amendment: Gives citizens the right to remain silent at their trial, avoiding self incrimination.

Sixth Amendment: Gives citizens the right to a speedy trial.

Seventh Amendment: States the right to a trial by jury.

Eighth Amendment: Protects citizens from cruel and Unusual punishment while in prison.

Ninth Amendment: States that the human rights not mentioned in the constitution are valid.

Tenth Amendment: States that all powers not given to the government in the constitution either belong to the states or the people. There are 19 articles on individual rights in the German Constitution. I will compare these to the Bill of Rights The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. Fifth Amendment The home is inviolable. Searches may be authorised only by a judge or, when time is of the essence, by other authorities designated by the laws, and may be carried out only in the manner therein prescribed. Article 13 Bill of Rights German Constitution A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. Second Amendment The German Constitution does not mention this right Human dignity shall be inviolable. To respect and protect it shall be the duty of all state authority. The German people therefore acknowledge inviolable and inalienable human rights as the basis of every community, of peace and of justice in the world. Article 1 Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. First Amendment Both Constitutions outline the principles of a republic. United States Popular Sovereignty The leader of the United States government is the president (currently Barack Obama). They are chosen through a process called the electoral college, in which the citizens vote. To win, a candidate has to recieve 270 electoral votes. A presidential term is four years. However, a president can be in office two full terms, or 10 years (whichever comes first). Germany Popular Sovereignty The leader of the German government is the chancellor (currently Angela Merkel). They are chosen by a vote of the Bundestag (elected by the people). If the candidate has over half of the vote, they win. There are no limits to how many times they can run. History of the German Constitution In 1949, After world war II, West Germany wrote a constitution known as the Grundgesetz, or Basic Law. This constitution was extended when East Germany joined with West Germany in 1990. Today, this is still the constitution used. So far, Germany has acted according to their constitution, and there have been no times when they ignore it. Constitution Judgement Overall, I believe that the United States constitution is better than the German constitution. I believe this because it is much more specific in defending people's basic rights, and the election is done by the people, opposed to the Bundestag. >
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