British government is democratic government. So, too, is American government; it roots are buried deep in English political and social history. Yet there are important differences between the two systems of government. Most of those differences grow out of this important point: Unlike government in the United State, government in Great Britain is unitary and and parliamentary in form and rests upon an unwritten constitution. They rule what they call a monarchy.

The Monarchy In contrast to such republics as the United States and France, Britain has a hereditary ruler; so Great Britain is a monarchy. Its monarch bears the title of queen or king. While English monarchs once ruled with absolute power, their role has changed, and they are now little more than figureheads. Because her powers and duties are controlled by Britain's unwritten constitution, Elizabeth II, Britain's queen since 1952, is known as a constitutional monarch. In formal terms, all acts of the British government are performed in the name of the queen.

The queen does appoint the prime minister, but her choice is subject to the approval of the House of Commons. So, traditionally, she chooses the leader of the majority party in that house to be prime minister. She has no power to dismiss the pro me minister. The house of Lords The upper chamber, the House of lords, is a predominantly aristocratic body of more than 1, 100 members.

More than 750 of its members have inherited their positions. They hold noble titles-such as duke, marquess, earl, viscount, and baron-and are known as the hereditary peers. The other members are appointed for life by the queen. They include two archbishops and 24 bishops of the Church of England, law lords (eminent judges), and some 350 life peers. The life peers are persons who have been honored for their careers in science, literature, the arts, politics, or. The House of Lords holds no real power over legislation.

If it rejects a bill passed by the House of Commons.