Comparative Presidential Systems in America: A Research Proposal

Comparative Presidential Systems in America: A Research Proposal


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            The issue of governance is connected to the structure and the politics at work in any country - Comparative Presidential Systems in America: A Research Proposal introduction. While there are countries which adapted the parliamentary system, there are also those who opted to implement the presidential system. One of the most famous countries with the Presidential system is the United States. In the South American continent, a number of governments are also presidential.

While the United States system is stable and withstood more than 300 years, other presidential systems of government are not so sturdy. The political system and the overall state of the countries under presidential system vary. What accounts for these variations? What factors and elements contributed to the stability or weakness of a presidential system of governance? The experiences of developing countries in South America have a number of similarities and divergences. It is worth studying how similar and different these governments with presidential systems are.

A Comparative Study of Presidential Systems in America

            This study will be conducted to compare and contrast the presidential systems in America. This study will identify common issues, trends and problems that these presidential systems are facing. Furthermore, it seeks to make recommendations on how to make the system more stable and work towards democratization and empowerment of citizens in these countries.

            Because the Americas cover a large area, this study will focus on five countries in South America, Guatemala, Paraguay, Venezuela, Bolivia and Brazil. These countries have been chosen due to their proximity and their prima facie historical similarity. Several factors in the history, politics, economy and culture of these countries will be identified so as to effectively look at how the presidential system fared under these countries.

Areas of Comparison

            The history of the presidential system will be analyzed in these five countries, detailing the different accomplishments of these presidential systems, their strengths and weaknesses as well as the difficulties that the presidential systems have dealt with in the past.

            Presidential system of government tends to display several positive attributes. The president has direct mandate from the people so he is also directly responsible for the performance of his government. Moreover, the powers of the branches of government, particularly the legislative, the executive and the judiciary are all separate, making corruption and collusion more difficult. In addition to this, the government can also work faster because the President has considerable power in deciding and acting quickly if the situation warrants it. It is also perceived to be more stable than the parliamentary system where the Prime Minister can be removed by a vote of no confidence at any time.

            On the other hand, the presidential system of governance has been criticized because of the tendency of the democracies with this form of government towards authoritarianism. The separation of powers of the three branches of government is also seen as an impediment for quick action and cohesive governance. The leaders of presidential systems, too, tend to remain in power for long periods of time and become resistant to change.

            All of these negative aspects of the presidential system will be investigated in the study. These factors will be considered together with the culture of the populace and the way that they participate in the affairs of their government.

Significance of the Study

            Since the study will be focused in the Americas, certain trends and emerging issues in the region and how they can be best integrated in the increasing globalization at work in the world. An important area of concern is the empowerment of the citizens as integral part of the democracy.

With a good understanding of the presidential system at work in South America, citizens can work on the way that they participate in their government and they can help bring about meaningful political change in their own countries. Countries in the America will need a greater level of democracy in order for regional integration to work. The presidential system of government of most of the countries there is therefore one of the keys to bringing that about.


Linz, Juan J. (Juan José), 1926-
The Perils of Presidentialism
Journal of Democracy – Volume 1, Number 1, Winter 1990, pp. 51-69

Linz, J. J. (1990). The Perils of Presidentialism. Journal of Democracy, 1 (1), 51-69.

Mainwaring, S. & Shugart, M. S. (1997). Presidentialism and Democracy in Latin America. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


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