AS Politics Unit 2.1: The Constitution

This is a PowerPoint based on a revision PowerPoint my politics teacher made and also information from the AQA book. For most things there are around 6 points to make, and this can be turned into a '6-pack'; a simple way to remember 6 things in an exam. I hope this helps!

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Preview of AS Politics Unit 2.1: The Constitution

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Unit 2: Governing Modern
Britain
1. The Constitution

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Page 2

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Things to learn:
1. What is a Constitution?
2. Characteristics of the British Constitution
3. Sources of the British Constitution
4. Constitutional change in the UK
5.…read more

Page 3

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What is a Constitution?
A system of rules and principles that govern
an organisation (like a club, or Britain)
An example of an early form of the British
constitution is the Magna Carta in 1215.…read more

Page 4

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What format do constitutions have?
1. A preamble which states what the
constitution sets out to do and what it stands
for
2. An Organisational section contains the
main institutions of the government
3. A Bill or Rights which states individual
freedoms and rights
4. A principle of 'amendment' explaining the
procedure required to bring about
constitutional change
http://www.assemblee-nationale.…read more

Page 5

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What is the purpose of
constitutions?
1. To provide legitimacy for those in power
2. To limit state power and protect freedoms
3. To encourage stable government by laying
down rules that everyone knows
4. To show the values and ideals of a state
5. To set out the central and regional levels of
government (federal countries)
6. To create a fresh start i.…read more

Page 6

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Characteristics of the British
Constitution
The separation and fusion of powers
Baron de Montesquieu (1689-1755) identified
the three main areas of the government which
he insisted should be separate to avoid
dictatorship:
Legislature: The law-making body
Executive: Directs the nation's affairs
Judiciary: Judges on violation of the law…read more

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USA - Separation of Powers
Legislature - A bicameral congress made up of
the Senate and the House of Representatives
Executive - The President
Judiciary - The courts
Each power is separate and exercises checks
on each other…read more

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UK - Fusion of Powers
Legislature - A bicameral system made up of
the House of Commons and the House of
Lords
Executive - The PM and the senior MPs who
also sit in the legislature
Judiciary - Judges (until 2009 the 'law lords' sat
in the House of Lords)…read more

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Characteristics of the British
Constitution
1. It is uncodified - it is not written down on one single document
2. It is flexible - it can be changed with a simple majority, whereas an
entrenched constitution has to have a super majority (usually 2/3)
3. It is unitary - the power is concentrated in a central government; it
is not federal like the USA
4. The fusion of powers - as shown before, the executive, legislature
and judiciary are merged together.
5.…read more

Page 10

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The sources of the UK
Constitution
1. Statute law - Acts of Parliament that are
constitutional
2. Common law - Based on past customs and
precedence (when Judges interpret laws and
further legal cases use that interpretation) i.e the
law has evolved
3. Conventions - Unwritten rules that are followed
4. Works of constitutional authority - Books about
the government which help to interpret the law
5. EU laws and treaties - Laws made by the EU that
overrule UK law (e.…read more

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