Separation Of Powers Essay

844 words - 3 pages


     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.
     At the convention, the Framers embraced the concept of separation of powers as one of their guides to the...

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