Thursday, June 17, 2010
The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday is that the powers of government should be divided into three branches: Legislative, Executive, and Judicial. Throughout the history of mankind, there have been many types of governments. Some nations have been ruled by a single powerful ruler in a monarchy. Other nations were ruled by an aristocracy or the wealthy. Still other nations operated under a pure democracy where all the people joined together to make decisions. The Roman Empire operated as a republic and ruled over millions of people. All of these types of governments have some merit that was taken into our government. In a monarchy, the government is administered by an executive head. An aristocracy represents the wealth and resources of the nation. A democracy represents the people. The Founders of our nation created a three-headed eagle with all three types of government to control our republic. They created three branch of government - executive, legislative and judicial - and divided the powers of government among the three branches. The doctrine of "separation of powers" was not readily accepted by Americans. John Adams was apparently the first of the Founders to recognize the need to separate the powers of government. He was advocating for separation of powers even before the Declaration of Independence was written. Somehow, Adams was able to convince his state to adopt a constitution based on separation of power. Consequently, the constitution of his state was the first in history to read: "In the government of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts the legislative, executive and judicial powers shall be placed in separate departments, to the end that it might be a government of laws and not of men…." Benjamin Franklin was one of the last to be won over to the idea, but he "finally acknowledged that the Constitution of the United States with its separation of powers was as perfect as man could be expected to produce" (W. Cleon Skousen). John Adams said it was his goal "… to see rising in America an empire of liberty, and the prospect of two or three hundred millions of freemen, without one noble or one king among them." The three-headed eagle has served the United States well for over two hundred years. If the executive, legislative and judicial continue to operate separately, they will be able to protect the liberty of Americans. If they join their powers into one head, it will be as though we live under a tyrant. For the good of our Republic, we must seek out and elect good and honest men and women to be our leaders. Ideas and quotes for this post came from The Five Thousand Year Leap by W. Cleon Skousen.