Separation of powers

Topics: Separation of powers, Judiciary, Executive Pages: 48 (14596 words) Published: March 16, 2014

1) The separation of powers, often imprecisely used interchangeably with the trias politica principle,[1] is a model for the governance of a state (or who controls the state). The model was first developed in Ancient Greece and Rome. Under this model, the state is divided into branches, each with separate and independent powers and areas of responsibility so that the powers of one branch are not in conflict with the powers associated with the other branches. The normal division of branches is into a legislature, an executive, and a judiciary. History

Aristotle first mentioned the idea of a "mixed government" or hybrid government in his work Politics where he drew upon many of the constitutional forms in the city-states of Ancient Greece. In the Roman Republic, the Roman Senate, Consuls and the Assemblies showed an example of a Mixed government according to Polybius (Histories, Book 6, 11-13). Montesquieu's tripartite system

The term tripartite system is ascribed to French Enlightenment political philosopher Baron de Montesquieu.[2][3] Montesquieu described the separation of political power among a legislature, an executive, and a judiciary. Montesquieu's approach was to present and defend a form of government which was not excessively centralized in all its powers to a single monarch or similar ruler. He based this model on the Constitution of the Roman Republic and the British constitutional system. Montesquieu took the view that the Roman Republic had powers separated so that no one could usurp complete power.[4][5][6] In the British constitutional system, Montesquieu discerned a separation of powers among the monarch, Parliament, and the courts of law. Montesquieu did actually specify that "the independence of the judiciary has to be real, and not apparent merely". "The judiciary was generally seen as the most important of powers, independent and unchecked", and also was considered dangerous.[7] Bipartite systems

In the sixteenth century, John Calvin favoured a system of government that divided political power between democracy and aristocracy (mixed government). Calvin appreciated the advantages of democracy: "It is an invaluable gift if God allows a people to elect its own government and magistrates."[8] In order to further reduce the danger of misuse of political power, he suggested setting up several political institutions which should complement and control each other in a system of checks and balances. In this way, Calvin and his followers resisted political absolutism and furthered the growth of democracy. Calvin's aim was to protect the rights and the well-being of ordinary people.[9] In 1620, a group of English separatist Congregationalists and Anglicans, who later became known as Pilgrim Fathers, founded Plymouth Colony in North America. Enjoying self-rule, they established a bipartite democratic system of government. The "freemen" elected the General Court, which functioned as legislative and judiciary and which in turn elected a governor, who together with his seven "assistants" served in the functional role of providing executive power.[10] Massachusetts Bay Colony (founded 1628), Rhode Island (1636), Connecticut (1636), New Jersey, and Pennsylvania had similar constitutions. They all separated political powers. Except for Plymouth Colony and Massachusetts Bay Colony, these English outposts added religious freedom to their democratic systems, an important step towards the development of human rights.[11][12] Books like William Bradford's History of Plymoth Plantation were widely read in England. So the form of government in the colonies was well known in the mother country, also to philosopher John Locke. He deduced from a study of the English constitutional system that political power was to be divided into the legislative, which should be distributed among several bodies, for example, the House of Lords and the House of Commons, on the one hand, and the executive and...
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