Montesquieu – the Separation of powers

Charles Louis Joseph Montesquieu (1689-1755) was a French political thinker who lived during the Enlightenment. Montesquieu was the inventor of the model of the tripartite system. The model shows a separating of power among a legislative branch, an executive branch and a court. The model was based on the British constitutional system. He considered that a monarch should rule no country alone. As the monarch could be too fast when making decisions and therefore he can misuse his power. Also the monarch, according to Montesquieu, should not be able to make laws since he can make them just so that he benefits. Instead there should be laws deciding over the monarch. The most important aim with separating powers is to prevent dictatorship and an autocracy.


  • The legislative branch is the once who make laws. The legislative branch is supposed to be the voice of the people. As the people itself cannot participate during all discusses they vote for the persons included in the branch.


  • The Executive branch was the monarch and could not be chosen through elections. The monarch were not allowed to participate in the STIFFTANDE of the laws but were the once who could decide whether accept them or not.


  • The court are the once who use the laws during judging. Montesquieu thought the judge was supposed to be at the same social status as the on doomed. To make the judging more faire.


To make the model work, the different branches must limit the power of the others.  So that no one of the three branches becomes too powerful.


Today the Separation of Powers is still used in the US. Their political system proceeds from the model of Montesquieu. There are a separating of powers between the president, the congress and the Supreme Court.


I believe Montesquieu’s model is, to the most countries, a very good way of ruling. Dividing powers makes the people more involved and makes us a larger impact on politics etc. Although in crisis etc. there could actually be better with only one with the power, when we want action fast.


Do you think it is positive or negative to have divided powers?


For more reading about Montesquieu and his thoughts:



By: Nora JvS

Postat av: cbzjtz

2011-08-15 @ 04:37:18

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