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This essay provides an analysis of the constitutional differences between US and Poland. In the analysis, several factors are brought into consideration, including the government and economic structure of both countries. In addition, the essay compares the US and Polish constitutions, using the facets of human rights, separation of power and foreign policy to determine the strengths and weaknesses of either constitution. Through this comparison, this essay distinguishes the American Constitutional development against the Polish constitutional history.
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Government and Economy of Poland and US
The United States is a democratic republic, just like Poland. However, the forms of government of these countries are different, as the US is a federal republic while Poland is a unitary republic. The US is made up of 50 states and 1 district, with each state led by a governor who controls the state resources. On the other hand, Poland is made up of 16 provinces. In the Polish government, the presidential term lasts five years, and is renewable once. Therefore, one can only be president for at most 10 years in the Polish system. While the US allows for two terms just like in Poland, the term is shorter by one year, hence allowing one to be president no longer than 8 years.
In both US and Poland, power is divided into three distinct branches: Executive, Judiciary and Legislature. In both countries, these government branches are tasked with playing an oversight role of each other to ensure that the cases of abuse of power are eliminated (Ludwikowski, 2011). However, in the US, the President is the most powerful figure of government, having being elected from a democratic process. On the other hand, the president of Poland does not have such powers as those of the US President. Instead, he plays a ceremonial role of political representation. The Polish government system designates the Prime Minister as the most powerful government figure (Kurczewski, 2013).
The US is the largest economy in the world, coming second to China. Over the last few decades, the US government has minimized the volume of public ownership and expanded the social welfare programs to carter for the increasing concerns on social inequality. The US economy is driven mainly by the manufacturing and service industries, which employs nearly 25% of the employed people in the country (Shearmur, 2014). The economy enjoyed a period of growth after the World War 2, which put the US at the center of global political and economic power.
The Polish economy is largely bound by the country’s membership to the European Union. As such, Poland enjoys limited economic liberalization, since it is adheres to rules and regulations stipulated by the EU economic policies. Despite the limited economic liberalization, Poland has one of the best structural funds for economic development, which have significantly enabled the country to fill the gaps of low industrialization and strategic geographical disadvantages compared to other member countries of the EU. Currently, the Polish economy is overcoming its economic challenges through fiscal consolidation and monetary easing.
Comparison of US and Poland Constitutions
The Polish constitution was inaugurated in 1791, being a product of a four-century long struggle to restrain the powers of the king through creating institutions to perform the governance function. On the other hand, the US constitution was created in 1781 to grant the American people power from the British colonialists.
The US constitution is better than the Polish constitution as it is difficult to amend. The process of amending the constitution is subject to several processes, most of which have limited the abuse of power by tyrannical leaders. On the other hand, the Polish Constitution has undergone several facelifts and amendments, which proves the ability of political leaders to manipulate the constitution to protect their interests (Kurczewski, 2013). However, the US Constitution is not responsive to the changing trends that define the dynamic nature of the modern day society. Many things are not expressed in the US Constitution, such as slavery, which ended with the civil war. In as much the US guarantees equality for all its citizens, it does not specify the extent to which the rights of the minorities should be protected against the possibility of manipulation by the supremacists. On the other hand, the Polish Constitution guarantees a legal protection to life and the principles of equality that define the diversity of people.
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Looking at the above comparison, it is evident that the rights of citizens are protected differently by the US and Polish constitutions. In both Poland and US, the 1st Amendment guarantees the freedom of speech, press, assembly and religion. Besides, both countries deem it unconstitutional for the police to hold a person for more than 48 hours before presenting them before a court. The 4th Amendment in both Poland and US constitutions require search warrants for conducting searches into someone’s property. However, Poland does not allow the citizens to bear firearms, unlike in the US. Polish Constitution does not have a provision for penal punishments, as the right to life is paramount. This is unlike in the US, where the Constitution provides guidelines under which the state can take away the life of a person (Shearmur, 2014).
Comparison of Polish and US Judiciary and Legislature
The Polish judicial system is headed by the Supreme Court, whose judges are appointed by the President on recommendation of the National Council of the Judiciary. Similarly, the US Judiciary is led by the Supreme Court, though the President is tasked with nominating the judges, while approval and consent of the nominees is conducted by the Senate. The US judiciary uses the common law system, while the Polish judiciary uses the civil law system. As such, the states in US have different laws applicable within the state courts, as opposed to Poland where the country follows a stipulated set of laws.
The legislature in both Poland and US are divided into two, the Congress and Senate for the US, and the Senate and lower house for Poland. In Poland, the senate has 100 seats, while the lower house has 460 sets, both eligible for service in the four-year long terms (Ludwikowski, 2011). In both countries, the collaboration of the two houses is constitutionally obligated.
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Foreign policies of Poland and US
In both Poland and the US, foreign policies are determinants of how either country conducts relations with other countries. For the US, foreign policies are mainly designed with the goal to assure the defense and security of the country. On the other hand, the foreign policy of Poland is anchored on the spirit of association with the European Union. As such, Poland has a more economic outlook to liberalized foreign policies due to the EU membership (Kurczewski, 2013). On the other hand, the US uses foreign policy to protect and protect the national interest of the country around the world. These foreign policies support similar governments and economies around the world.
The bicentennial framings of several constitutions relive reflections on the factors that prompted the inclusion of different elements into these constitutions. Characteristically, this study has proven that the constitutional tradition of many countries is shaped by the political experiences of these countries. For instance, the US Constitution is largely shaped by the colonial experiences while the Polish constitution is shaped by the need to exercise restraint in arbitrary use of political power. Consequently, the periods surrounding the creation of most constitutions have profoundly been studied and thoroughly analyzed to provide the origin and historical development of the country governed by the constitution.
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- Kurczewski, J. (2013). Parliament and the Political Class in the Constitutional Reconstruction of Poland. International Sociology, 32(1), 662-680.
- Ludwikowski, R. (2011). Two Firsts: A Comparative Study of the American and the Polish Constitutions. International Legal Studies, 117(1987), 117-158.
- Shearmur, J. (2014). The Constitution of Liberty: The Definitive Edition. History of Political Economy, 46(2), 348-352.