Separation of Powers

Successful governments in history gained their acclaim by trial and error. The government in the United States is no different. In fact, the structure of the government in the United States has been through many changes: the American government was once feeble and operated with weak alliances between states; however, the present government functions in perfect equilibrium with the separation of powers, the federal system, and regards to democratic ideals.

After gaining independence from the British government, the United States wanted to refrain from the all-powerful central government and establish a weak central government where the powers to govern were given to the thirteen states. This form of government was formed with the Articles of Confederation. In this system, each state retained its sovereignty, freedom, and independence. The Articles of Confederation did, however, create a national government. It provided a national legislation, Congress. Congress consisted of delegates from the states, and each state had one vote in the legislation, with no regards to population. The central government had some powers to govern: it can conduct foreign relations, declare war or peace, maintain an army and navy, settle disputes among states, establish and maintain a postal service, and et cetera. These powers, however, were not given to Congress alone; Congress shared these powers with the states. So in many ways, Congress depended on the cooperation from the states. The problems arose when the weaknesses in the Articles of Confederations were becoming more evident. The first weakness was that Congress did not have the power to govern the individuals; it only had powers over the states. Because of that, it could not enforce its legislations. The second problem dealt with taxation. Congress did not have the power to tax the states; it must request money from the states. The states rarely complied. The third problem involved the regulation of commerce. Congress did not have the power to regulate trade, and therefore, it did not have power over foreign affairs since much of the affairs dealt with trades. The last problem, perhaps the most important, concerned the amendment process. These weaknesses all can be fixed through the amendment process; however, in order for an amendment to become effective, it ratified by all thirteen states. None of the amendments passed the ratification process. This eventually resulted in the Philadelphia Convention in 1787 where the new Constitution was drafted to ensure the adoption of the new form of government.

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At the convention, the Framers embraced the concept of separation of powers as one of their guides to the construction of practical government. The practical government in this case is a democratic government where the people elect the leaders and have the ultimate authority over the government. The doctrine that provided such democratic ideals for the government is credited to the French philosopher Baron de Montesquieu. His philosophy regarded the separation of powers. The basic idea behind this doctrine is that the people in power have the tendency to abuse their powers; therefore, the government should be divided where each branch of government checks on the others. The Framers took this doctrine and formed the three branches of federal government: legislative, executive, and judicial. The legislative branch would make the laws, and the executive branch would put the laws into effect. When disputes occur, the judicial branch would resolve them in accordance of law. This system offers further protection by the election process. The members of each branch of government are to be selected by different constituencies and have different terms of office. All these factors are aligned to the democratic foundation of practical government desired by the Framers because the people exert control over the government by selecting the ruling leaders. The rulers of the democratic governments retain their offices by the approval of voters and must comply with their ideas. Therefore, the system maintains a strict system of democracy.

The doctrine of separation of powers is actually one of the fundamental principles of the federal system that exist in the United States. Federalism is a form of government where the power is divided between the central government and state governments. The central government handles matters such as foreign affairs, defense, and currency while the state governments take control of areas such as education. In the United States, the states surrender some of their sovereignty but retain rights that are not given to the central government by the Constitution. In most cases, the specific rights given to each government are listed in the Constitution. If disagreements occur, the judicial body decides on a solution. The federation that exists today differs significantly from the confederation that once ruled the country because the central authority maintains supreme power in the land.
After the failure of the Articles of Confederation, the Framers created a powerful but just government. The intricacies in the American government protect the rights of the people and maintain democracy because it is very difficult for a single part of government to initiate abuse. Because of the successful government, the United States is one the strongest countries in our world.

Separation of powers

In the United States government there are 3 branches of government, the power given to the central government is divided among these 3 branches. Each of these branches are given powers so that they can check the powers of the other 2 branches ensuring that one branch doesn’t become to powerful One of these branches is the legislative branch this is the branch that includes congress, they are responsible for making laws. The second branch of government is the executive branch this is the branch that includes the president, they are responsible for carrying out laws. The last branch of government is the judicial branch, this branch includes the Supreme Court they are responsible for making sure laws are constitutional. There many different ways at which each of these branches check the powers of the next branch, they include appointing new members to each branch, vetoing laws proposed by a branch, declaring a law unconstitutional and many other different powers.

The legislative branch just like every other branch in the government has the power to check other ones and is checked by the opposing branches. This legislative branch checks the powers of the executive branch in many different ways ensuring that they do not become overpowering. One way in which the legislative branch checks the power of the executive branch is if congress “the legislative branch” decides that the president is not doing his job to the full extent that he should, they have the power to impeach him from office so that his job will be done right by the person next in line for the job. One other power that the legislative branch has is the power to override a veto with a 2/3 vote. This means that if the president decides to veto a law proposed by congress they have the power to override that veto w/ a 2/3 vote. One way in which the legislative branch checks the powers of the judicial branch is if congress decides that a certain judge isn’t doing his job properly they have the power to remove them from their job. One other power that the legislative branch has over the judicial branch is they have the power to approve or reject the appointments of new judges, this means that if they do not want a certain judge to be appointed to the supreme court they have the power to deny him of his job.

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The executive branch also has many powers over the other 2 branches. One power that the executive branch has over the legislative branch is, if congress decides to create a new law the president has the power to approve or veto this law if he doesn’t like it. The executive branch also has many powers over the judicial branch. One of these powers is the President has the power to appoint new judges if he feels that there is the need for a new member to the Supreme Court. One other power that the president’s branch has over the Supreme Court is the power to pardon someone. This means that the president has the power to excuse someone from their crime that they committed if the Supreme Court decided that that individual was guilty.

The Supreme Court as well as the other 2 branches has many powers over their opposing branches. One power that the Supreme Court has over the executive branch is the power to declare any actions done by the executive branch unconstitutional. The Supreme Court also has many powers over the legislative branch. They have the power to declare any laws introduced by congress as unconstitutional.

In all the system of separating the powers of government is good idea not one branch is able to become to powerful but each branch still has many powers


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