Separation of Powers/Checks and Balances
Analyze how the U.S. Constitution implements separation of powers and checks and balances. Briefly explain why the constitutional framers based the new government on these ideas. Evaluate how separation of powers and checks and balances are working out in practice, today, justifying your assessments with persuasive reasoning and examples. “The ancient political philosophers, particularly Aristotle, believed that a successful republic could best be achieved through a mixed constitution (also called a mixed government), whereby power would be divided among a sovereign, a legislature, and the aristocracy. Politically, this entailed the separation of powers into distinct branches of government so that one branch could prevent another from tyrannizing the majority. The tendency toward despotism and corruption, in other words, would be limited because of the checks placed on power. But it was not enough to have checks and balances between different branches of government; there also had to be checks and balances within the legislative branch. Republicanism specifically called for a bicameral legislature, which was the division of the legislative body into two chambers.” (Levin-Waldman, O.M. (2012) I have found it very important to finish this discussion properly by adding these writings: “The Declaration of Independence puts forth many core American values. However, these values have to be institutionalized, or made concrete in an established system, which is where the U.S. Constitution comes into play. Even though it does not mention “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness,” the Constitution creates institutions that reflect those values. The principal institutions in the Constitution, which have also become values unto themselves, are the separate branches of government. The Constitution creates three of these: the legislative, (which, as we explained earlier, is further divided into two chambers, providing an...
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