Separation of Powers

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  • A democratic principle that limits the powers of any one branch of government. In the United States, it is also known as a system of “checks and balances” and was deliberately written into the U.S. Constitution. The framers developed the U.S. system in an effort to avoid the tyrannical leadership emblematic of Great Britain at that time. Powers are separated among the three branches of the federal government (executive, legislature, and judiciary), and between the federal and state governments. There is a list of enumerated concurrent powers, those shared with the states, and exclusive powers, those exercised only by the federal government or the states, in the Constitution. Concurrent powers are held in common between the federal and state governments but otherwise operate in ...

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