A Comparative Analysis of the Constitution and Democracy of the United States and India

The United States (“U.S.”) and India have a healthy relationship ranging from trade to military security. Both countries share the aspect of breaking free from the rule of their British masters. The attainment of independence over their respective lands is another common factor. But both countries vary in many aspects. These range from governance to the features of the respective Constitutions of both countries. 

Constitutional Differences

The United States of America was formed following the American War for Independence. Here, the American colonists defeated the British and declared independence. The Constitution of the U.S. came into power in 1789. It is one of the most rigid and shortest constitutions of the world. It consists of seven articles and twenty-seven amendments. The Indian Constitution, on the other hand, came into power in 1950. It has 448 articles with 104 amendments, making it the lengthiest constitutions in the world. The difference in length between the U.S. and Indian Constitutions is due to the different time periods both documents came into being.

The U.S., at the time of the creation of its constitution, had thirteen colonies under it. The population of the country was homogenous at the time. It consisted mainly of European individuals which came to the country in search of better prospects. The circumstances around which the Indian Constitution came into being was different. The population of India were heterogeneous and the country was reeling in from a messy transfer of power from the British.

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The Constitution of India had a tremendous burden to unite a disunited country at that time. Summarily, democracy and a constitutional government were common practice among most countries. India was able to adopt many features from the Constitutions of other nations. This resulted in the amalgamation of various constitutional concepts into the Indian Constitution. Thus, the Indian Constitution became a flexible document. It had to change along with the times and was responsible for a huge population united under democracy for the first time. The U.S. Constitution at the time of its creation had an ample amount of time to adapt to changing circumstances. It was also responsible for a lesser population than India. 

Democratic Differences

The structure of the government of both countries varies. The U.S. has a federal system of government. Here each state has its own Constitution. The Indian government follows a system of cooperative federalism. Here, one Constitution governs the whole country. The system of governance present within India is unique as it is an amalgamation of a federal and unitary system. Furthermore, India follows a Parliamentary form of governance. A Presidential system is followed by the U.S. within the country. The electoral process differs between the countries too owing to its difference in governance. The Prime Minister is the head of the country while the President is a constitutional head with limited powers. The citizen of India elects members to represent their constituency within the Lok Sabha. The political party which possesses a majority are invited by the President to form the government of the country.

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The U.S. has a Presidential system wherein citizens of the country elect members of an electoral college which in turn elects the President. The Parliament is the supreme legislating body within India. It comprises a bicameral legislature consisting of a relationship between the President, Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. The Congress is the main legislative body within the U.S. consisting of two chambers: the Senate and the House of Representatives. The President has immense powers in the governance of the country. The presidential powers kept in check through a distinct separation of powers between the executive, judiciary and the legislature. The President has the power to legislate to an extent as the power to make executive orders rests with the President. Such orders have the power of a law. But these orders can be nullified through a 2/3rd majority within both houses. The difference in governance between the countries is immense and can be seen through the history of both countries.

The inception of democracy as a viable alternative to a monarchy was first attempted by the United States. Its success has resulted in most countries within the modern world taking up such a form of governance. The principles of equality and liberty were first laid down under the Articles of Confederation by the United States. It was later elaborated through the French revolution. These concepts were monumental in defining the true nature of a democratic government in the modern world. These concepts were at the heart of democracy. They were important in determining the future of a democratic government throughout the world. The Founding Fathers of America created the basis for the U.S. Constitution.

The Similarity between the Two Constitutions

The Drafting Committee within India was responsible for creating the Indian Constitution. Both are similar in the regards that they had the huge burden of experimenting with democracy. Both groups had to ensure freedom for all individuals residing within their country. They also had to ensure fair living conditions for all citizens within their country. As the definition of equality grew within the U.S., so did the concept grow within India, and the huge task of making a document and a system of governance fair and equal to all its citizens came into place within India. 

Conclusion

Multiple interpretations of the concept of democracy exist and the definition of democracy varies from place to place. Many differences exist between the Constitutions and governing system existing between both countries. But, the basic values and the true meaning at the heart of democracy is shared by both countries. Both have much to learn from each other and have the common goal of ensuring that the citizens of each country live happy and satisfied.


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