The birthing of America brought with it one of the greatest challenges ever to be faced by its founders. Having come out from an environment of totalitarianism, authors of the Constitution and Bill of Rights had firsthand experience of the abuse of power. It was critical they ensure the new nation had provisions in place, which prevented a recurrence of totalitarian rule.
In order to avoid a potential repeat of history, authors of the Constitution established three separate branches of government. By structuring the government in this fashion, the power to rule and govern would be distributed equally through a “separation of powers” arrangement. This structure prevents any single entity from ruling on its own without any checks or balances in place to protect the citizens.
In creating a government with separated powers, three branches were established: the Executive Branch, which includes the office of the President; the Legislative Branch (Congress), consisting of the Senate and House of Representatives; and the Judicial Branch, consisting of the Supreme Court as well as other lower level judicials. Establishing these various branches not only separated powers, but also gave opportunity for differing ideologies to participate in the overall governing of the nation.
Although the original intent of James Madison, a primary author of the Constitution, was specifically directed at separating the powers of the three branches of government through an amendment to the Bill of Rights, his proposal was rejected. It was felt by other members of Congress that the separation question was already implied within the wording of the Constitution. As a result, there are no specific provisions within it to dictate a clearly defined separation of powers between the branches. (law2.umkc.edu)
In order to ensure sufficient separation of powers were included, a solution was modeled after what was already being utilized within individual colonies. For example the Constitution of Virginia of 1776 stipulated; “The legislative, executive, and judiciary department shall be separate and distinct, so that neither exercise the powers properly belonging to the other; nor shall any person exercise the powers of more than one of them, at the same time.” (law.cornell.edu) This...