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Study Notes

Separation of Powers

AQA, Edexcel, OCR, IB

Last updated 22 Mar 2021

The idea of the separation of powers is that political power is distributed among the three branches of government, all acting independently and interdependently. This is in contrast the UK which has a fusion of powers.

Under the Separation of Powers, political power is divided into three branches which are

  • Executive Branch (President)
  • Legislative Branch (Congress)
  • Judicial Branch (Supreme Court)

No member of one branch may sit or operate in another branch. For example the President as a member of the executive branch many not sit in the legislature and introduce legislation.

The separation of powers is backed up by the series of checks and balances that exist with in US Politics.

Schoolhouse Rock produced a video on the Separation of Powers, titled the Three Ring Circus

Three Ring Circus

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