Liberty Under Law: Seperate Branches, Balanced Powers
edited: Monday, March 26, 2007
By Matthew C Herch
Rated "G" by the Author.
Posted: Monday, March 26, 2007
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My Award Winning Essay on the Balance of Power in the United States.
Separation of Powers, or Trias Politica, is a phrase first used by French political genius, Baron de Montesquieu. This phrased, used by our country since the writing of the constitution, is a model of Democracy in which political power is separated between three branches of the state. These branches are the Executive branch, the Legislative branch, and the Judiciary branch. In this democratic model, each branch is prohibited from exerting power on any other branch. However, each branch may check on the actions of the other branches.
When the framers of the constitution were drafting the famous document, they remembered the agony that they had felt under the broad British monarchy. Remembering this, they used a series of methods to limit the amount of power the federal government had, or could use. The method used primarily, was to separate the power of the government into three competing powers, or branches. Each branch checks the actions of another branch, and balances their power in one way or another.
The three branches each have a set of powers that can be executed by that particular branch. Some examples are: The Executive branch has the ability to appoint Judges, Cabinet members, diplomats, and department heads; the legislative branch has the power to declare war; and the Judicial branch has the power to interpret the law and apply it to particular disputes.
The main goal that our founding fathers were aiming for was to limit the power of the government, so that no one power rules over the land like a tyrant. If a president were ever tyrannical, there are other powers that can override him or her. Our founding fathers knew that having a sole power would be a bad idea, because anyone with power will eventually let it go to their head.
Because of its considerable influence over political situations, the press has been called the “fourth-power” or the “fourth-branch”. The press holds a huge part in the overall workings of our great nation. For instance, the press’ display of a particular presidential candidate may win him or her an election.
No matter how it is viewed, it was a good idea to limit the powers of government. If power was not limited, we may be living in a world where the first line of the “new” Declaration of Independence might read: “We the Politicians, of the United States of America…”