Ch 21: The Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland

About This Chapter

Watch video lessons on the United Kingdom's government structure, leaders and public policies. Each lesson has a short multiple-choice quiz to help check your understanding of the material in this chapter.

The Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland - Chapter Summary and Learning Objectives

Although there are some similarities between the government structure of the United States and the United Kingdom, there are several important differences. Perhaps the most well-known of these is that the UK has a monarch as its head. In this chapter, you'll learn about all of the governmental figures and components that serve the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. You will also explore some of the key events that have shaped politics and society throughout the UK. The chapter's lessons cover topics such as:

  • How Northern Ireland became part of the UK
  • What the structure of the British electoral system is
  • How the British Parliament is structured
  • What function the monarch serves
  • How religion, social class and race impact UK politics
  • What the U.K.'s key public policies are

VideoObjective
The Troubles in Ireland and Bloody SundayExplore the causes of conflict between Ireland's Catholics and Protestants.
The Creation of the United Kingdom and the Incorporation of IrelandTrace the history of how England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland came to form the UK.
Overview of the UK GovernmentGet details on the branches of government in the UK.
The British Parliament: House of Lords & House of CommonsFind out the differences in duties between Parliament's House of Lords and House of Commons.
The Monarch's Role in the Government of the UKExamine the responsibilities and limited power reserved for UK's king or queen.
The British Electoral System: Description & StructureLearn about the UK's major political parties and how elections are carried out.
The British Parliament: House of Lords & House of CommonsDiscover the roles and powers allocated to the two branches of the British Parliament.
The United Kingdom's Democratization ProcessExplore the events that paved the way for the UK to become a democracy.
How the British Government Promotes Economic GrowthSee how Parliament works to support the British economy.
UK's Public Policy: Social Security, Education & Health DefenseFind out how much government funds go to the UK's defense, education and social security programs.
Impact of UK's Class & Racial Makeup on PolicyExplore how the racial and social class makeup of the UK affects public policy.
How Religion in the UK Influences Public LifeLearn what religions are predominant in the UK and how they affect public life.
How Women's Rights Have Shaped UK PolicyTake a look at the state of women's rights in the UK and its effect on public policy.
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher: Influence and Impact on Great BritainStudy the life and policies of Margaret Thatcher.
Prime Minister Tony Blair: Election & PoliciesExamine the policies and impact of Tony Blair's time as the UK's prime minister.

14 Lessons in Chapter 21: The Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
The Troubles in Ireland and Bloody Sunday

1. The Troubles in Ireland and Bloody Sunday

In this lesson, we explore the centuries-old rivalry between Catholics and Protestants in Ireland, and the political and military struggle for the six northernmost counties in Ireland during the thirty-year period known as 'The Troubles.'

The Creation of the United Kingdom and the Incorporation of Ireland

2. The Creation of the United Kingdom and the Incorporation of Ireland

In this lesson, we examine the piecemeal creation of the United Kingdom throughout the late Medieval and Early Modern periods as well as the tumultuous history of English control and partitioning of Ireland.

Overview of the UK Government

3. Overview of the UK Government

This lesson will provide a brief overview of the government of the United Kingdom. We will focus especially on the monarch, Parliament, the Prime Minister, and the judicial system.

The Monarch's Role in the Government of the UK

4. The Monarch's Role in the Government of the UK

In this lesson, we will explore the role of the British monarch in the daily business of the government of the United Kingdom. We will also look closely at the monarch's overall position in the country.

The British Electoral System: Description & Structure

5. The British Electoral System: Description & Structure

In this lesson, we will examine the British electoral system. We will pay close attention to constituencies, political parties, and the First-Past-the-Post system.

The British Parliament: House of Lords & House of Commons

6. The British Parliament: House of Lords & House of Commons

In this lesson, we will take a close look at the British Parliament, paying special attention to the membership and roles of the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

The United Kingdom's Democratization Process

7. The United Kingdom's Democratization Process

Famously, the UK has moved from being an absolute monarchy to being a democracy without any sort of long-lasting popular revolution or civil war. How was that possible? This lesson explains.

How the British Government Promotes Economic Growth

8. How the British Government Promotes Economic Growth

The British have a full system of healthcare, cheap university tuition, and public pensions, yet they still manage to drive economic growth. This lesson looks at how such growth is possible and how the government encourages it.

UK's Public Policy: Social Security, Education & Health Defense

9. UK's Public Policy: Social Security, Education & Health Defense

Like any country, the UK spends a lot of money on government. In this lesson, we look at the four components that make up the majority of that spending: social security, education, health, and defense.

Impact of UK's Class & Racial Makeup on Policy

10. Impact of UK's Class & Racial Makeup on Policy

The U.K. traditionally has a considerable amount of class friction, and has recently started to experience some elements of racial unrest. This lesson explains how those tensions translate into politics.

How Religion in the UK Influences Public Life

11. How Religion in the UK Influences Public Life

Despite the fact that only 20% of the population follows it, the Anglican Church is still the official faith of England and Wales. While important, its role has changed through history, and other traditions have gained significant influence as well.

How Women's Rights Have Shaped UK Policy

12. How Women's Rights Have Shaped UK Policy

Women's rights were a major priority of the 20th century for the UK, and this dramatically impacted their political policies. Explore the history of women's rights and test your understanding with a brief quiz.

Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher: Influence and Impact on Great Britain

13. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher: Influence and Impact on Great Britain

In this lesson, we explore the life and political career of Great Britain's first female prime minister, Margaret Thatcher. A staunch conservative, her controversial policies guided Britain through one of its toughest economic times.

Prime Minister Tony Blair: Election & Policies

14. Prime Minister Tony Blair: Election & Policies

The first Labour leader in more than a decade, Tony Blair was a transformative figure in British politics. This lesson explains his life and electoral success, from rock star dreams to his legacy.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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