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Separation of Powers

Page history last edited by Mr. Hengsterman 9 years, 3 months ago



Important Thinkers  Influencing American Political Theory


John Locke: Second Treatise on Civil Government (1690) (late 17th  century during England's "Glorious Revolution") 

Men set up governments in order to protect their property  Natural Rights: Life, liberty, and property 

Natural right to rebellion: A government that oversteps its proper function  becomes a  tyranny. Rebellion can be avoided if government  respects the  right of its citizens and if the people defend their liberties. 


Baron de Montesquieu: The Spirit of Laws(1748)

Checks and balances; separation of powers among 3 branches of gov’t  Despotism could be avoided if political power were divided    and shared by  a diversity of classes and orders holding unequal rights  and privileges.


Adam Smith: Wealth of Nations (1776)

Most significant work on capitalism ever written; founded  modern economics; Formulated the idea of a free economy; contrasted sharply with mercantilism

Free competition, via private enterprise, would result in greater income for everyone, not just the rich.  














Remember my story from class. My power to pour the last and final Coke was
checked by my younger sisters power to choose which glass she wanted.

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