The Separation of Powers in the United States Political System

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The Separation of Powers in the United States Political System In the 18th Century, the French philosopher Montesquieu, who had been one of the inspirations behind the French Revolution, argued that limitation would be necessary within government within government in order to avoid tyranny. He identified the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary as the four braches of government which needed to be separated. To do this, he suggested the 'Separation of Powers', a mechanism built internally into government where each branch would have powers enabling it to limit those of another so no one branch becomes too powerful. The Founding Fathers of the American Constitution agreed with Montesquieu's ideas and introduced a system of checks and balances into the Constitution to support the Separation of Powers. There are several ways in which Separation of Powers is achieved by the Constitution. If we take the Executive and Legislature first, the Executive in the US government is the Presidential Office and the Legislature is the two Houses of Congress - the House of Representatives being the Lower House and the Senate being the Upper House. The Senate has the power to confirm all major presidential appointments. The combined Houses of Congress controls the Executive budget and appropriation (expenditure), passes/rejects all legislation requested by the President and can impeach and remove the President for 'high crimes and misdemeanours'. In addition, the Senate ratifies foreign treaties signed by the President with a two-thirds majority. On the other side, the Executive also has powers to limit the Legislature and so complete the... ... middle of paper ... ...heat for not providing satisfactory Separation of Powers because some have observed how since the 19th Century right up to the modern day, the presidential authority seems to dominate in government. They observe how President Thomas Jefferson in 1803 authorised the 'Louisiana Purchase' without the consult of Congress. This more than doubled the size of the US and used up funds in the US budget therefore Congress is shown as weak for not forcing itself to take part in this crucial decision. Another example can be seen where President Abraham Lincoln ordered the blockade of southern ports and increased the number enlisted in the army again without Congressional authorisation during the Civil War. By the 1960's too, during the Vietnam War, the Presidents had undoubted primacy/hegemony in the handling of defense policy

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