User talk:ShakespeareFan00/Legislative buildings

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Government, politics and opposition...[edit]

Swept in from the pub

I've started a basic article stub here User:ShakespeareFan00/Government,_politics_and_opposition, but will need a lot of help to get it to a stub level that can be moved into article space. Anyone got ideas on what to put in it originally?

The topic name was carefully selected, based on a comment in the History of justice topic.

Once some basic content is added, I might get some ideas on where to expand. ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 13:08, 14 April 2018 (UTC)

An inital thought is that it needs a concise 'history' - Politics is probably as old as civilisation, but I was unsure what the earliest 'government' was, given that there were if I recall governments in Asia and elsewhere before Egypt, Athens and Rome...

ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 13:08, 14 April 2018 (UTC)

I think that we might be better with a more catchy title, but I don't know what. I think that there are possibly two different things to cover:
  • Visiting parliaments, government buildings, related historic sites and museums.
  • Attending party conferences or conventions. Whilst this is not something that a traveller is likely to do on a whim, it is a major reason for travelling.
Should we have a separate Conferences and Conventions article, which could also cover going to a conference for work or hobby reasons (including Wikimania) - we are generally lacking travel topics on group and business travel. AlasdairW (talk) 21:46, 14 April 2018 (UTC)
Not all Conferences are political in nature, and yes they should be a travel topic. (Also Trade Shows, spending 3 days in a Warehouse outside Brimingham isn't exactly a pleasure trip for some people, but is a business one.) ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 22:20, 14 April 2018 (UTC)
Well it seems once more our editor base skews away from the type of people where most of the stuff is taken care of, like (most) business travel and all-inclusive stuff. For perhaps, understandable reasons... Hobbitschuster (talk) 22:28, 14 April 2018 (UTC)
Obviously, ShakespeareFan00 is going to the wrong kind of trade show. There are quite a few trade shows for chocolate manufacturers. :-) WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:06, 15 April 2018 (UTC)
I've been to quite a few National Flute Association conventions and one Fancy Food Show so far, and I assure you, no-one took care of anything for me except that I could check my coat and bag. Ikan Kekek (talk) 00:20, 15 April 2018 (UTC)
For a trade show or convention, the advice that I first think of is not necessarily about the traveling aspects. It's more about meeting people, pacing yourself, and keeping track of commitments (so that "Sure, let's talk when we're home" doesn't turn into "Why didn't she call me, like she promised?"). There are also group travel issues (e.g., traveling sports teams). What else could we include? WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:00, 15 April 2018 (UTC)
I think that group travel issues should go in Organizing a group trip which was created a few months ago. Should trade shows and exhibitions be in the Conferences and Conventions article - Conferences and Exhibitions? AlasdairW (talk) 20:44, 15 April 2018 (UTC)
Thanks for the development so far, but I've reached the limit of what I know. ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 18:15, 1 May 2018 (UTC)

List all capitals?[edit]

I don't we think we should just add all capitals to the list. But if we list some, what should that listing be based on? Hobbitschuster (talk) 21:33, 14 April 2018 (UTC)

No objections to the list being trimmed, My view was the Permanent 'Five', and then some representative capitals from the G20. I agree it shouldn't be a 'long list'. ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 21:45, 14 April 2018 (UTC)
I don't think the UN are a particularly good basis for what to include. Maybe we should include those were particularly buildings and/or developments in politics are found? Hobbitschuster (talk) 21:52, 14 April 2018 (UTC)
I think that we should focus on Seats of Government that can readily be visited by foreigners, and only list those that we have something to say about visiting the building. I don't think it matters whether the country is in the G20, or is a small island with a population of a few thousand - it is much more likely that a visitor will get to watch an interesting debate in the later. AlasdairW (talk) 21:56, 14 April 2018 (UTC)
I think Bonn is particularly interesting as it is one of the few places where 20th century world history was made which can be visited (for the most part) by normal people. It is of course not officially anything anymore even though there are still countless ministry officials who fly from one to the other on the daily and it still puts "Bundesstadt" on the town signs as if that meant anything. If you read German check out de:w:Weg der Demokratie Hobbitschuster (talk) 22:08, 14 April 2018 (UTC)

So is this ready for Mainspace yet?[edit]

What does this need to be an outline in mainspace? ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 13:27, 18 April 2018 (UTC)

I think it is pretty close. Two things that could be changed:
  1. Understand has "Basic government", which sounds like a note waiting to be expanded. This section needs to be 5-10 paragraphs before this could become a guide, and I think that
  2. Would "Visit" be better arranged by Country, as there is starting to be duplication between the sections, and it would be good to be able to put any country specific understand here.
There is of course loads more that could be added, including a map and some pictures. AlasdairW (talk) 20:46, 18 April 2018 (UTC)
I also would prefer a more "exciting" title. If this will be a "Cultural attractions" topic then maybe the existing articles give some ideas. "Political Tourism" is the best I can think of at the moment. AlasdairW (talk) 21:23, 18 April 2018 (UTC)
It still contains a lot of "note to self" style entries or redlinks etc. Hobbitschuster (talk) 21:29, 18 April 2018 (UTC)
Is this in a mainspaceable form yet? Checking in.ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 15:33, 30 April 2018 (UTC)
I think there is still work to do before it could be usable. "Visit" should be arranged by country, with each country having a 1-3 line explanation of its political system, and 2-4 lines about what you can actually see when you visit, possibly longer listing state / local government as well. At the moment the article is no use in choosing which country to visit to see politics in action - most of it is simply a list of capitals, which is unlikely to be news to anybody sufficiently interested in politics to be thinking of travelling to investigate the subject. Which do you think are the best US state capitals to visit? AlasdairW (talk) 22:35, 30 April 2018 (UTC)
I have a basic question: Is this article meant for countries with multi-party systems with legal, formal opposition parties only? Because the Great Hall of the People in China would fit into an article about government buildings. I think some further clarification is needed. Ikan Kekek (talk) 00:53, 1 May 2018 (UTC)
That was what I was going to ask, next. ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 13:57, 1 May 2018 (UTC)
I think that this would be in scope if he title was Political Tourism - Government Buildings would work too, but would include "interesting" administrative buildings - tax office tours? AlasdairW (talk) 20:53, 1 May 2018 (UTC)
@AlasdairW: , Not sure how to progress this further.. I only know the UK and US :( ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 18:13, 1 May 2018 (UTC)
I have expanded a couple of countries. I think it is OK to move it to the mainspace as an outline, but I would prefer that it was arranged by country first, expanding the content can happen later. Can you briefly explain the systems in either the UK or the US - how many houses, how is power split between national and state level etc? AlasdairW (talk) 20:53, 1 May 2018 (UTC)
I tend to disagree that it should be moved to mainspace before we decide what this article is about and state that clearly. Ikan Kekek (talk) 00:14, 2 May 2018 (UTC)
Do we need an 'Executive' vs 'politics' split? ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 08:06, 2 May 2018 (UTC)
Added an initial summary of the UK structure, could possibly be trimmed a bit.. It's possibly better if someone from the US,Australia etc were to do an equivalent for their systems (noting that quite a few 'legislatures' follow either the Congressional or Westminster models). ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 08:09, 2 May 2018 (UTC)

[unindent] Why was this article moved to mainspace? There still is no clear evidence of what this article is about, and clearly, no decision has been made about whether to include government buildings in dictatorships like China in this article. I think it was a mistake to move this article to mainspace, and I feel a bit annoyed that my repeated cautions and objections were ignored. Ikan Kekek (talk) 06:24, 2 June 2018 (UTC)

I must say there really wasn't a consensus either way. And the editing mostly dying down is an indication for it not belonging into mainspace, not the contrary. Hobbitschuster (talk) 19:48, 2 June 2018 (UTC)
ShakespeareFan00, how about moving this article back to your userspace until the basic questions I brought up are resolved? This is a half-baked article with no clear scope. Ikan Kekek (talk) 05:26, 4 June 2018 (UTC)
Okay I attempted to do this, but botched the moves, can someone with appropriate admin rights put it and the relevant talk page back in my userspace, or given the concerns delete it entirely? ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 08:31, 4 June 2018 (UTC)
All that was wrong was a stray comma at the end of the talk page's name. No big deal. Ikan Kekek (talk) 15:46, 4 June 2018 (UTC)

Scoping this more tightly[edit]

And now comes the difficult question... What's the focus of this article?

Is this article about "Government" i.e Executive /Legislative or about politics? - I think it's the former, in which case we may need a seperate article to cover "politics"... And your query about whether to include China is valid... ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 16:37, 4 June 2018 (UTC)

I have added a paragraph giving what I think is the scope - please adjust as you wish.
  • "Countries are generally proud of their political systems and bodies of government. This is often reflected in the grand buildings used to house the focus of the governing body. This pride is also reflected in the opening of the legislature, parliament or congress buildings to the public. Whilst buildings are often opened to encourage the electorate to participate in politics, usually foreign visitors are also welcome. This topic introduces some of the significant seats of government and sites of political history which you can explore on your travels. This article does not cover participation in politics, of which travelling to conferences and conventions is part."
Apart from conferences, I doubt that there is much to put in a travel topic about politics, and it would be difficult to write whilst avoiding bias. AlasdairW (talk) 20:47, 4 June 2018 (UTC)
So with that scope, we could cover the Kremlin and the Great Hall of the People. Ikan Kekek (talk) 07:33, 5 June 2018 (UTC)

Certainly :) Not that I know much about that, Can someone write a summary of how the US or Canada ( both federal) systems work?ShakespeareFan00 (talk)

We're going to summarize how every system works? How about just listing the points of interest and describing in each listing what its function is? Ikan Kekek (talk) 10:09, 5 June 2018 (UTC)
Good point, we can't cover ever system, I reworded the Understand section , but would like a second view. In terms of listings, not many of them go in to detail. Hmmm.. ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 16:42, 5 June 2018 (UTC)
I also some other concerns:
What about "International Organisations" The UN and EU have seperate topics, but you have other equivalent entities in other parts of the world, that whilst not direct Government, form supra-national regional blocs and so on. There's also the w:Commonwealth_of_Nations Should these count as Govt if the have sites of traveller interest? (As an aside) Commonwealth_of_Nations on Wikivoyage is currently a redirect the British Emipre which concerns me greatly.
This article currently focuses largely on Legislature and "political" Executive sites... It doesn't yet have much on sites related to sites associated with the heritage of "government service provision" (although some of these maybe covered in other articles.) ... Another Hmmm....

ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 16:42, 5 June 2018 (UTC)

I think the buildings of supranational organizations are interesting to the same people who are interested in national Executive, Judicial, Legislative buildings, etc. We probably don't want to cover city halls, provincial Executive, Legislative or Judicial (etc.) buildings because then the topic would become unmanageable, but I think we should cover the kinds of organizations you're talking about. Some others include EU, African Union, Organization of American States. Ikan Kekek (talk) 17:26, 5 June 2018 (UTC)
Thanks..ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 18:13, 5 June 2018 (UTC)
As a reader, if I saw an article called "Government, politics and opposition" I'm not sure exactly what I would expect to find there. Is the idea that this article will mostly be a list of important/interesting government buildings that travelers can visit? If so, I think a better title would be "Government and politics". —Granger (talk · contribs) 14:26, 20 September 2018 (UTC)
I agree with Mx Granger. Trying to imagine what this article is supposed to be about is difficult. The scope just seems way too broad. Everything related to government, politics and/or "opposition" is unwieldy and incoherent. Is the focus really just government buildings that you can visit and architectural styles that have developed around government buildings? The title doesn't reflect that at all. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 14:52, 20 September 2018 (UTC)

User:ShakespeareFan00/Government,_politics_and_opposition[edit]

Swept in from the pub

User draft, that I sort of stopped working on.. Is it yet at the outline stage?

If not, feel free to improve it. ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 10:07, 20 September 2018 (UTC)

Definitely at least outline, if not usable (haven't read it). When are you going to move it to mainspace? --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 10:40, 20 September 2018 (UTC)
I beg your pardon, but hopefully not until it's clear what the scope of the article is. Please refer to my remarks on the article's talk page. We were making progress in User talk:ShakespeareFan00/Government, politics and opposition#Scoping this more tightly, but unless I missed something, I don't see that reflected in the article yet. Ikan Kekek (talk) 11:00, 20 September 2018 (UTC)
I think it needs a more radical rethink/redraft. Most of what it has right now is "Legislature" related. In taking another look, it was perhaps a mistake to group the politics and opppostion part into it. Political History is perhaps best dealt with in a different way.ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 11:11, 20 September 2018 (UTC)
Re-title the current draft as Parliaments and Legislatures and have a separate outline on Visiting Government Buildings ?

ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 11:17, 20 September 2018 (UTC)

Parliaments and legislatures is fine as a topic and should include the Great Hall of the People and other legislative buildings in one-party states. I'm not sure I really understand the division you want to make, as I don't believe every country has distinct legislative and executive branches, and of course parliaments are government buildings. Ikan Kekek (talk) 13:51, 20 September 2018 (UTC)
Well the split that perhaps should be made is between where Government happens ( i.e Congress, White house etc.) and where govt service provision happens ( Like the FBI HQ, Commerce Department, Census Bureau, IRS etc...). Perhaps we need some better titles? ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 17:50, 20 September 2018 (UTC)
And yes, someone should add various asssemblies from outside the Western World :) ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 17:52, 20 September 2018 (UTC)
I'm not sure a distinction between the Legislative building(s), the residence of the Chief of State (if not royal)/Chief of Government and Executive agencies is meaningful for the purposes of a travel guide. They're all government buildings. Ikan Kekek (talk) 19:18, 20 September 2018 (UTC)
I see the article being mainly about parliaments and other places where laws are created. Other opportunities to look at politics can also be included - relevant museums and any political parties that have exhibitions; but not participating in politics - canvassing or conferences etc. Executive agencies belong in other travel topics depending on the agency - tours of the Ministry of Agiculture belong in Agritourism. I don't think that we can usefully say much about visiting executive agencies in general, and in most cases any exhibitions etc should simply be listed in the relevant city. AlasdairW (talk) 21:54, 20 September 2018 (UTC)


I asked about this article's status as I'd got to the limits of of my knowledge. ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 09:03, 21 September 2018 (UTC)

Parliaments and Assemblies (Round 3)[edit]

Swept in from the pub

I redrafted this a bit, to re focus it..

User:ShakespeareFan00/Government,_politics_and_opposition#Understand

As the focus seems to be on various assemblies, I've changed the lede a bit.. If someone wants to add China I think this is almost ready to be given another look. ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 21:43, 26 November 2018 (UTC)

User:ShakespeareFan00/Parliaments,_Congress_and_other_assemblies[edit]

Swept in from the pub

A re-title to meet a well defined scope, If someone wants to add some additional info about Russia, China and so on, this is almost at a 'usable' status . I didn't feel confident in moving it to main-space, without a second opinion though. ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 10:05, 26 September 2019 (UTC)

How would you feel about first getting it up to usable status, and then adding it? Otherwise, we are simply expanding the number of outlines we have. Thank you, however, for doing this work! I'm sure, with a little more time, it will be good! --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 20:35, 26 September 2019 (UTC)
I'd reached the limit of my working knowledge. :( ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 21:41, 26 September 2019 (UTC)
At the English Wikipedia, they started a Draft: namespace a few years ago. The WMF staff who were behind the proposal originally now regret it. One of them described the draftspace as "the place where articles go to die", because nobody except the original author contributes to pages in the Draft: namespace. As a space for collaboration outside the normal range of readers' view, it's a failure. I suspect that userspace drafts work the same way. Once you reach the limit of your working knowledge, you should move it into the mainspace, which will encourage others to join in. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:07, 27 September 2019 (UTC)

Focus[edit]

As before, I think this is a potentially interesting travel topic, but on a quick look, my reaction is that it's going way too far into non-travel-related facts about the organization of different governments that people will not be looking for in a travel guide. Ikan Kekek (talk) 21:16, 27 September 2019 (UTC)

I tend to agree. The understand section is starting to get too heavy. I don't think that parliamentary privilege needs to be covered - it doesn't impact somebody going on a quick tour of a Parliament building; a traveller going deeper (watching a debate etc) would read WP articles etc about the particular system in use. A few words about the parliament buildings in each country would be good - the article should help somebody touring Europe to decide whether to visit the Assemblée nationale in Paris or the Bundestag in Berlin, perhaps linking to relevant city district for details. AlasdairW (talk) 21:56, 27 September 2019 (UTC)
Yes, there is a risk of being too encyclopaedic, but on the other hand, some fundamental differences should be noted, and I am not sure the parliamentary privilege is unimportant (we have it here in Finland too, with some restrictions; interesting as at least two of the True Finn parliamentarians have been convicted for hate speech). --LPfi (talk) 08:35, 28 September 2019 (UTC)
I do think that most people visiting legislative buildings will want to at least have an overview of how that legislature is structured, so there should be some background information about each of the listed legislatures in our article. As for parliamentary privilege, it is an important concept that allows the legislature to serve its purpose, and is directly related to the focus that paragraph, but I understand that it is tangential to travel, so if other people want it removed, I'm not going to get too hung up about it.
Speaking of the title, how about we rename it to just "Legislative buildings"? The dog2 (talk) 19:25, 28 September 2019 (UTC)
I would support that. It's a clear, focused title. But as for the encyclopedic-style background, legislatures range in power from non-presidential parliamentary systems like that of the U.K. to rubberstamp bodies like the National People's Congress of China, and we should cover all the interesting buildings without making untrue global remarks about separation of powers, parliamentary immunity, free elections and so forth. In each listing, a minimum of relevant history could be included. Ikan Kekek (talk) 19:46, 28 September 2019 (UTC)
I guess we could use the words "in theory" and leave it at that. That would then account for countries like China where the legislature is largely just a rubberstamp body without going into the weeds. China's government is in fact in theory designed around the principle of separation of powers. Whether it actually separates powers or not is a different story, and is probably something we don't want to get into here.
And to the point on parliamentary immunity, I will say this. Even in Singapore, for all the authoritarian tendencies the government has, parliamentary immunity is something they have never attempted to undermine. I think that this highlights just how important it is for a Westminster-style legislature to serve its function. The dog2 (talk) 20:55, 28 September 2019 (UTC)


I tend to disagree. I think the main point is that legislatures are normally the law-making bodies in countries that have them, and then I suppose a brief potted history of interesting and influential legislatures, plus special mentions of especially beautiful parliament buildings such as those in London and Budapest. No need to get into concepts like parliamentary immunity or even separation of powers, unless there's an entertaining story we're connecting with them. Ikan Kekek (talk) 21:59, 28 September 2019 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Recently, the UK Supreme Court overturned Boris Johnson's decision to suspend Parliament. This incident probably does not belong in the article, but that is separation of powers at work. The dog2 (talk) 22:24, 28 September 2019 (UTC)

Speaking of which, how much history should we go into? If you want to talk about interesting history, there was the plot by Guy Fawkes to blow up Parliament during the State opening of Parliament in 1605, which is why the cellars of the Palace of Westminster are searched by the queen's guards for explosives (of course mostly for ceremonial purposes these days) during every State Opening of Parliament. There was also the incident when King Charles I entered the Commons chamber to arrest five MPs, and the Speaker refused to disclose their location. This would eventually lead to the English Civil War, and the beheading of Charles I, which has influenced some of the parliamentary traditions that are followed even today. Every time the Queen goes to address Parliament, she will take an MP hostage to ensure her safe return. The Queen is also still forbidden from entering the Commons chamber, and during the State Opening of Parliament, the Black Rod will have the door slammed in his face and must ask for permission to enter when he heads over to summon the MPs for the Queen's Speech to symbolise their independence from the crown. In fact, this rule is still followed in Canada, Australia and New Zealand and not just the UK; the Queen and the Governor-General are forbidden from entering the lower house chamber. That's why even though New Zealand has abolished its upper house, the upper house chamber is still used by the Governor-General to deliver his speech for the State Opening of Parliament due to this prohibition.
And if people want to know where the term "Speaker" of the House came from, it's because the historical role of this person was to speak to the king on behalf of the House of Commons. While things are of course different today, in more turbulent times, the speaker risked getting beheaded if the king did not like what the House got him to say. That's why when a new speaker is elected, there is a tradition in the British Parliament that he will be unwillingly dragged to the Speaker's chair by other MPs. The dog2 (talk) 22:46, 28 September 2019 (UTC)
I don't know how much of that we should include. I think that currently, way too much that's trivia for a travel guide is included, but fun anecdotes can be good if we keep the writing as brief as we can make it, while still being elegant. Ikan Kekek (talk) 13:19, 29 September 2019 (UTC)
I think that we should focus on things that would help a reader understand a 1-2 hour tour of the Seat of Government. So "Debates are usually managed by a Speaker or Presiding Officer (are there other terms we should mention?) who sits on a raised platform at the front of the house. The Speaker is an elected member of the house who doesn't argue the case of a debate but selects which members may speak." Although parliamentary immunity is an important concept, I don't think that it is a visible aspect of a parliament, and many parliaments function without its full protection (e.g. in the UK compare Westminster and Holyrood). AlasdairW (talk) 16:28, 29 September 2019 (UTC)
In the case of the Australian and U.S. Senates, that person is called the "President". But some of those things you mentioned aren't universally true. Unlike the lower house speakers in the UK and other Commonwealth countries, the U.S. Speaker of the House is a partisan position, so he/she often blocks legislation the party leadership opposes from even getting to the floor. And for the U.S. Senate, the President of the Senate is the Vice President of the United States. So the presiding officer is never an elected member of the Senate, since the law doesn't allow you to be a senator and vice president at the same time. The dog2 (talk) 17:09, 29 September 2019 (UTC)
The Vice President rarely presides over the Senate, generally only when it's considered likely that his tie-breaking vote may be needed or during ceremonial occasions like the State of the Union address. At other times, it is presided over by a President Pro Tem, who is an elected senator and votes on legislation and amendments. Someone observing the Senate is much more likely to witness that than see the Vice President. Ikan Kekek (talk) 17:21, 29 September 2019 (UTC)
So anyway, what else would you propose cutting then? The dog2 (talk) 23:02, 29 September 2019 (UTC)
Basically, the great bulk of "Understand". I can demonstrate when I'm back on my computer soon, but entire paragraphs can be reduced to a sentence or two, eliminating things the viewer can't see, and then there will be more room for interesting and amusing anecdotes. Specifics about differences between the British, American, and for that matter, French systems should be much briefer, if covered at all outside their own listings. Ikan Kekek (talk) 03:22, 30 September 2019 (UTC)

[unindent] OK, I will try my hand at an edit of "Understand".

First, here's the current text:

Government is perhaps as old as complex human society and there is archaeological evidence for this in the earliest permanent settlements. Groups of wise-elders or respected community members deciding on rules for their society also date from antiquity. Tynwald, the parliament of the Isle of Man claims to be the longest continuously operating parliament, with a claimed start in 979, although there is little evidence of an exact first sitting date.

Although a full explanation and discussion of the precise organization of government (and of political representation) in specific countries is better suited to a civics textbook and beyond the scope of a travel guide, most modern governments are organised around the principle of separation of powers, and hence divided into three branches, with each branch having unique powers that allow it to perform checks and balances on the other branches. The executive is typically responsible for governance, and executes and enforces the laws, while the legislature typically has the sole authority to make and repeal laws. The third branch is the judiciary, whose role is to interpret the laws. History of justice covers some of the sites associated with it.

In most countries the distinction between the executive and legislature is not clear cut. For instance, in the United Kingdom, the prime minister and all other cabinet ministers are by convention required to be Members of Parliament. The United States maintains a clear separation between the two branches in that members of Congress are explicitly forbidden from serving in the cabinet and vice-versa, but the vice president is also president of the Senate, and the president, leader of the cabinet, has his own role in legislation.

Bicameral legislatures often go back to the English model where the lower house represents "the people", and the upper house represents the church and nobility. The United States copied the model, but in the absence of a domestic aristocracy decided to have state legislatures appoint delegates to the upper house, which was only changed to direct elections in the 20th century. It is this modified version of an upper house representing sub-national units that has subsequently been copied in many countries.

The French Revolution meanwhile produced a rather powerful unicameral legislature which was at times seen as a reason for some of the more radical phases and elements of the revolution.

The concept of a "loyal opposition", the possibility to publicly and openly be against government policy without being seen as opposing the state and public order as such, is relatively recent and not respected everywhere. The essence of modern democratic government is a "marketplace of ideas" where everybody can express their views without fear of reprisal, and the people as the ultimate sovereign decide through elections and referendums which idea or set of ideas is put into practice. In the United Kingdom and countries that follow the British Westminster system, members of the legislature are protected by parliamentary privilege, which prevents them from being sued or prosecuted for anything said in Parliament, thus allowing them to debate freely without fear of reprisals. Members of the United States Congress are also protected by a similar clause known as the Speech or Debate Clause. By comparison, in governments perceived as undemocratic (by various standards), an "executive" branch makes many decisions by itself, treating an "opposition" or even a nominal "legislatures" as merely an advisory body of wider opinions.

Political systems can be divided into monarchy or republic, with the former being headed by a king or queen, and the latter being headed by a president. While absolute monarchies still exist, most modern monarchies take the form of a parliamentary monarchy, in which the king or queen is just a figurehead, and executive power is vested in the prime minister, who must command the support of a majority in the legislature.

Republics can be divided into presidential and parliamentary republics. In a presidential republic, executive power is vested in the president, who may exercise that power indepdently of the legislature. There may or may not be a means for the legislature to remove the president, or to overrule their actions and decisions. In a parliamentary republic, the head of government (may be known as the prime minster, chancellor, or other titles) requires the support of a majority in the legislature, while the president is just a figurehead with little or no actual power. Switzerland has a unique system in which no single person serves as the head of government or head of state; the entire Federal Council fulfills both roles collectively.

"Semi-presidential" systems try to combine the above mentioned, but can usually be said to be either more presidential or more parliamentary by the time the first serious clash between president and prime minister occurs.

My draft version:

Legislatures are at least in theory and usually in practice the law-making bodies of nations. While the origins of law-making assemblies are lost to the mists of time and may well have included councils of wise elders from pre-literate times who left no records for posterity, we do know a good deal about some such bodies from antiquity, such as the Roman Senate. Tynwald, the parliament of the Isle of Man claims to be the longest continuously operating parliament, with a claimed start in 979, although there is little evidence of an exact first sitting date. Another claimant to the title of the world's oldest currently-operating legislature is the Alþingi of Iceland, which was first convened in 930 as both a legislative and judicial assembly, though it had its legislative role stripped for several centuries in the late 14th century, and was not convened for 45 years from 1800 to 1845.

Most current-day legislatures are at least in theory given separate powers and responsibilities from other branches of government, according to a principle called separation of powers, under which legislatures make laws, the executive branch executes them, and the courts (judiciary) rule on competing claims of guilt and innocence and disputes about what the laws do and do not allow. However, the degree of power a legislature has varies over time and place, and also due to different systems of government that may enlarge or constrict these powers.

The United Kingdom's Parliamentary system has had great influence around the world, due in part to the reach of its empire in bygone days. It has a bicameral legislature, meaning that there are two different lawmaking bodies. The House of Commons over time became one that represents all British citizens, whereas the House of Lords represents the nobility and clergy but no longer has much power today. Many other countries have bicameral legislatures, including republics such as the United States, where the upper house is not a house of lords but a Senate, in which each U.S. state has equal representation, regardless of population, whereas the lower house, the House of Representatives, in theory more closely represents the people.

The French Revolution meanwhile produced a rather powerful unicameral legislature which was at times seen as a reason for some of the more radical actions during the revolution.

The concept of a "loyal opposition", the possibility to publicly and openly oppose government policy without being seen as an enemy of the state, is not respected everywhere, but where it does exist, you can hear sometimes vociferous legislative debates, depending on the political culture of the nation in question. For example, in the United States, legislators are forbidden from attacking colleagues by name on the floor of the House or Senate, and therefore make statements like "the gentleman/gentlewoman from Virginia is wrong". The U.K. often has very entertaining Question Time, during which the Prime Minister or other members of the Cabinet who run ministries in the Executive branch but are also themselves MPs (Members of Parliament) must take quite a few pointed questions from opposition MPs, though they are always addressed to the "right honourable gentleman/lady". In the Israeli Knesset, it is quite common for MKs to impugn one another's personal character and loyalty to the country and use personal insults. In Taiwan, fistfights have broken out several times between legislators on the floor of the Legislative Yuan. Legislative debates are often facilitated by respect for the concept of parliamentary privilege, which prevents legislators from being sued or prosecuted for anything said on the floor of the legislature, but in undemocratic governments, the executive branch makes many decisions by itself, treating an "opposition", if any, or even a nominal "legislature" as merely an advisory body at best.

That's it. I don't think the other stuff belongs here, as I think this provides enough information to help people get a sense of what a legislature is, what it may do and what legislative debate that they may witness can be like. And now there's room to add some entertaining anecdotes and maybe a thing or two about the clash between Parliament and the king that produced the republican period under Cromwell in the U.K. Ikan Kekek (talk) 23:08, 30 September 2019 (UTC)

I would perhaps also add a note about the Alþingi in Iceland, since it is the other claimant to the title of world's oldest legislature. It was first convened in A.D. 930, though there would be a break of 45 years from 1800-1845 where it was not convened, and even before that, from the time Iceland came under Danish rule until 1800, it was stripped of its legislative function and served a purely judicial role. Of course, now, there is the Supreme Court of Iceland that handles the judicial role.
As for Cromwell, I don't think the republican period in English history is relevant since this is an article about legislatures, but what can be said is that because of the English Civil War, the Queen (and Governor-General, if applicable) is forbidden from entering the lower house chamber in the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. In fact, what is perhaps interesting is that New Zealand still follows this tradition even though it has abolished its upper house, so the now-disused upper house chamber is used for the Governor-General's speech whenever there is a State Opening of Parliament. And in all four countries, you will see that the Black Rod has to go over to the lower house chamber to summon the MPs over for the Queen's (or Governor-General's) speech, and when he gets to the chamber, he must knock on the door to request permission to enter to deliver the summons. The dog2 (talk) 01:14, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
Yes, I support you on both. Ikan Kekek (talk) 03:03, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
I've edited your version. Please let me know what you think. I also made minor changes to the part about the House of Lords, since the Church of England also appoints bishops to sit in it. See w: Lords Spiritual. I'll think of how to add the tidbit about the English Civil War, but do you think it belongs in the Understand section or the listing for the British Parliament? The dog2 (talk) 06:34, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
I approve of your changes; the only one I'm not sure about is whether "the Legislature" is a proper noun, but I suppose it probably wouldn't be, according to our capitalization guide. Yeah, maybe the tidbit about the English Civil War belongs in the listing for the British Parliament, but we can always change our minds about that. I'm not sure how much history should go in the descriptions in listings. Ikan Kekek (talk) 07:29, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
I added "currently-operating" to the description of the Alþingi, because without that qualifier, it cannot remotely claim to be the oldest legislature. Ikan Kekek (talk) 07:33, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
I think it looks good now. I would't mind replacing the current section with the new one. The dog2 (talk) 16:22, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
Yes, let's do it. If anyone objects, they can always make further edits. I think this article is now ready to go to articlespace, but we should shorten the name and figure out what kind of coherent order listings should be in. It doesn't seem particularly controversial to change the article's name to "Legislative buildings", so unless there's an objection, let's do that, too. Ikan Kekek (talk) 16:39, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
I think Ikan's version is better. However there is room for a paragraph or two about legislature building design - a debating chamber with two confrontational rows like Westminster or the hemispherical style used in many more recent buildings, voting by walking through lobbies or pressing a button from your seat... "Legislative buildings" is OK as a title. AlasdairW (talk) 22:33, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
Sure. I think that it's also common for legislative buildings to be neo-Gothic and/or to have a dome. Is that true or based on my limited experience? Ikan Kekek (talk) 23:10, 1 October 2019 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I think that's overgeneralising. That's only true in the U.S. Most Commonwealth parliaments don't. In fact, none of Australia's state parliament buildings have a done, and neither does Australia's federal parliament. The dog2 (talk) 01:14, 2 October 2019 (UTC)

The Parliament in Budapest also has a dome, but I'll take your point, because I've seen legislative buildings in only a few countries and some of those didn't have domes. But what could we usefully say in general about legislative building design, then? Ikan Kekek (talk) 09:34, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
There seemed to be a consensus to add the draft text above in place of the preexisting "Understand" text, so I have done so, with one addition - the fact that France now has a bicameral legislature. So let's get back to discussing what to add to "Understand". And to be clear, when we put the listings in a clear order, we should go live with this article, as it will already be close to a Guide, and polish it for a FTT nomination. Ikan Kekek (talk) 09:48, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
I think we could probably say that they're usually imposing, since they're supposed to represent the authority of the body to pass laws. And many of them have a lot of symbolism in their architecture that references the country's ideals and history. The dog2 (talk) 15:22, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
That seems very general to me, but it's brief and might be helpful to someone, so I'm OK with it. Ikan Kekek (talk) 17:33, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
I've sorted the listings, so I think it's time to move the article of mainspace. I think in it's current incarnation, it is at the very least usable. The dog2 (talk) 19:14, 3 October 2019 (UTC)
It looks like they still need alphabetization, but that can be done in mainspace, too. Ikan Kekek (talk) 03:55, 4 October 2019 (UTC)
I alphabetised them by country. If you want to do it by city, that's fine with me too. The dog2 (talk) 04:56, 4 October 2019 (UTC)
Yeah, but you didn't give each country name a subheading, so it's unclear at a glance what the order is. Ikan Kekek (talk) 05:01, 4 October 2019 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I didn't see the need since we have only one listing per country. But anyway, I've written a comment so editors will know when they see it. The dog2 (talk) 14:48, 4 October 2019 (UTC)

The order has to be clear to readers. Putting information in a hidden comment doesn't accomplish that. Ikan Kekek (talk) 22:03, 4 October 2019 (UTC)

Name[edit]

I find this article's name too cumbersome. How about simply "Legislatures" or "Legislative buildings"? Ikan Kekek (talk) 14:53, 30 September 2019 (UTC)

I agree that it's too cumbersome. I lean slightly towards "Legislative buildings", since most tourists would probably be more interested in seeing architectural features of legislative buildings than actually watched a legislative session, but I'm fine with either title. The dog2 (talk) 16:39, 30 September 2019 (UTC)
I don't object to a name change, provided it's quirky enough to be noticed :) ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 21:55, 30 September 2019 (UTC)
Name changed. Ikan Kekek (talk) 09:49, 2 October 2019 (UTC)

Order of listings[edit]

I don't see a clear order. Shall we list alphabetically by continent or just plain alphabetically by country, or what? Ikan Kekek (talk) 07:46, 1 October 2019 (UTC)

I wouldn't mind listing by continent, followed by alphabetical order by country. But I think a more important question for now is how will we decide what qualifies for listing? Many European countries have very beautiful parliament buildings; Spain, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Austria, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and San Marino are some that come to mind. The same goes for the Americas; Uruguay, Argentina, Colombia and Peru are some I can think of. And of course, in Asia, Japan has quite a nice parliament building. For more modern structures, South Korea has a rather nice one. And even for my home country of Singapore, it's quite a unique building that was built in the 1990s, but also resembles a colonial building in its design in order to blend in with the surrounding colonial buildings. Of course, I may be biased given that it is my country, so I won't list it unless there is someone to second me for a listing. The dog2 (talk) 17:02, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
I think what we do is limit this list to national and super-national (European Union, etc.) buildings. If we start listing subnational legislative buildings, there are loads of worthy candidates among statehouses, provincial legislatures, city council buildings, etc., etc. But I think any worthy national or super-national building is fine to list, and if the list becomes too long, we can always subdivide this into several geographically-limited articles. Ikan Kekek (talk) 17:07, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
I'm referring specifically to the national legislatures only. I agree that sub-national legislatures should not be listed; I covered them for the U.S., Canada and Australia with one sentence that mentions their existence, and I think that's all we should do. But how should we determine which national legislature merits a listing? We can't possibly list every single country. That list will be way too long. The dog2 (talk) 17:23, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
I suppose not all of them have interesting buildings. Ikan Kekek (talk) 19:32, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
Most of the European and Latin American legislatures are pretty impressive historical buildings at least from photos. As for modern legislative buildings, I'd say Australia and South Korea stand out, and maybe Singapore if I'm not being biased. The dog2 (talk) 20:32, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
I think we should also consider how easy it is for a foreigner to go inside. If tours of the building can only be booked through an elected representative, then we can leave that one out. For modern European buildings the EU buildings in Brussels and Strasbourg are less than 30 years old. The devolved legislatures in Edinburgh and Cardiff were built around 2000, and are more interesting buildings than the EU ones. AlasdairW (talk) 22:25, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
In the case of Singapore, tours can only be organised for large groups from schools and other organisations, so you probably won't be able to tour it as a foreigner. However, as a foreigner, you can be admitted to the gallery to watch a session if you turn up on a sitting day. Does that count as one you can visit? The dog2 (talk) 01:18, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
Yes. But I don't know if foreigners can visit the U.S. Capitol, yet it's iconic and worth seeing from outside,anyway, so it should be listed. Ikan Kekek (talk) 02:18, 2 October 2019 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────The U.S. capitol has tours anyone can book online regardless of citizenship. The only catch is that they sell out fast, and the tour does not include the House and Senate chambers. For those, you probably need to get an American friend to get gallery passes from their congressmen for you. The dog2 (talk) 03:01, 2 October 2019 (UTC)

International visitors can get passes for the House and Senate chambers at the Capitol visitor center. The visitor center itself with exhibits/gift shops/cafeteria, dosen't require a reservation/pass. JakeOregon (talk) 03:31, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
I'm glad to know this. I believe at least access to the White House was cut off to most foreigners for a time after 2001. But that said, let's get back to the crux of this discussion: If most European and Latin American legislative buildings are worth looking at, they should be listed. Let's not worry about the list getting too long. If it does, I repeat that it would then be logical to divide this topic into more than one article. Also, I will go ahead and change the name of the article. Ikan Kekek (talk) 09:37, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
For the White House, it's still largely cut off from foreigners. The only way to arrange a tour of the White House is through the office of your Congressman, so there is virtually no way a foreigner could arrange for one. That said, if you have an American friend who is willing to go with you, he can arrange it through his Congressman and include you in his party, so it's not strictly banned for foreigners either. The dog2 (talk) 15:19, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
Additionally, foreigners can contact their embassy in Washington, per the National Park Service, to submit their request for tickets (I have no idea how well this works in practice). I'm not sure the White House really fits in this article on legislative buildings, though - it is already listed at Presidents of the United States. JakeOregon (talk) 04:06, 3 October 2019 (UTC)
It does not. It was just a side topic in this thread. Ikan Kekek (talk) 04:19, 3 October 2019 (UTC)
No it, should not be listed here. But with regard to tours of the White House through your embassy, that's virtually impossible because the White House requires embassy-organised tour groups to be accompanied by a senior diplomat. For obvious reasons, senior diplomats are not going to want to do that unless you're an important government official or some celebrity. The dog2 (talk) 20:35, 3 October 2019 (UTC)
Ok, I didn't know that was the process- in that case, we should probably change the listing for the White House in the Presidents of the United States page, since it's not really an option for the average foreign traveller. JakeOregon (talk) 20:57, 3 October 2019 (UTC)
Done. The dog2 (talk) 21:58, 3 October 2019 (UTC)