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Separation of Powers in The United States

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Two hundred years ago, when the United States just got rid of the British king, it stumbled upon the first-ever constitution with goals in mind to unite this new-born country. The Articles of Confederation delegates each state tremendous power and independence. It also made Congress as the only branch with all central government’s power in hands. Deadly weaknesses in the old system had been revealed gradually and to prevent a potential collapse of the entire country, framers wrote the Second Constitution of the United States to provide a fundamentally different political system from the first one. Under this new system, the power of government is distributed to three separate branches. Each has its responsibilities and limited to it rules. They cooperate with one another to make the country developed and to protect civil rights and civil liberties to be jeopardized. The Legislative Branch is Congress, which is made up of two houses, the Senate and the House of Representatives. The two added branches are The Executive Branch enforcing the laws and the Judicial Branch interpreting the laws. The Constitution outlines the powers, limits of and basic function of each branch and also provides methods for implements of laws.

With voices coming from all directions, many people believe Congress is supposed to be the most powerful branch constitutionally. And indeed, it is designed to be more powerful than the other two. Only Congress does need the president’s approval to enact laws. And it can remove a president or a Supreme Court judge, impeach Supreme Court judges, and also make exceptions to the jurisdiction of the court. And that is also part of the reasons Madison, among others, supported the creation of a bicameral legislature to maintain the balance and prevent power abuse.

However, changes have been made to this layout across time. The Executive Branch has extended exponentially in many areas and has exceeded Congress being the most powerful branch at present. As Marshall shed light on this problem in his work, “In 2006, the President was able to use his authority to continually maneuver the newly-elected Congress and pursue a war that even many of those in his own party opposed.” The fact that there is a dangerous gap between the President’s paper powers and his real powers is very noticeable when one carefully considers this issue.

So, what is responsivities and rules presidents in the United States have to follow according to U.S Constitution? The list of power authorized to presidents included the right to sign or veto legislation, command the armed forces, ask for the written opinion of his cabinet, convene or adjourn Congress, grant reprieves and pardons, receive ambassadors, propose treaties and nominate judges. With those in mind, the expansion of executive power is now very obvious to tell.

Looking back from now, the expansion has been ongoing for a quite long time. Back in the Civil War, on much of authority claimed by himself, Abraham Lincoln expanded the armed forces used financial resource from the Treasury without congressional permits. After that in the1930s, Franklin Delano Roosevelt executes his presidential powers by sending troops to South Korea without congressional approval. In Kennedy’s time, he expanded the power in foreign affairs. While presidents in the 19th had to compete with Congressional to make impacts in foreign affairs, and particularly with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, by the early 1960s, the president had become the main pillar of U.S. foreign policy.

Many factors are accountable for those changes, such as the constitutional indeterminacy of presidential power, the expansion of the federal executive branch, and the inter-relationship between the media and the Presidency. The result of all this is that the system of checks and balances that the Framers crafted is no longer in balance. The implications of this are serious. The Framers designed a system of separation of powers to prevent government abuse and incompetence. They also claimed that, in the absence of an effective separation of powers, consequences would be unavoidable and how do we make adjustments to the current system to further negative impact remains challenging.

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Separation Of Powers In The United States. (2021, March 18). GradesFixer. Retrieved October 21, 2021, from
“Separation Of Powers In The United States.” GradesFixer, 18 Mar. 2021,
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