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Nevertheless, the separation of powers, although rejected in its extreme form, remained in all three countries an essential element in constitutional thought, and a useful, if vague, guide for institutional development.That this once revolutionary idea could also become in the course of time a bulwark of conservatism, is understandable, for this is the fate of many political ideas.
Thus began the complex interaction between the separation of powers and other constitutional theories which dominated the eighteenth century.Although it can hardly claim to be comprehensive, this bibliography includes many works which were not referred to in the text but which will perhaps assist students who wish to pursue the subject further.I have the undeserved good fortune to have had the support of my sons, John and Richard, to whom this edition is dedicated, and of my wife, Nancy.For the values that characterize Western thought are not self-executing.They have never been universally accepted in the societies most closely identified with them, nor are their implications by any means so clear and unambiguous that the course to be followed in particular situations is self-evident.Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. This book is published by Liberty Fund, Inc., a foundation established to encourage study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals. Constitutionalism and the separation of powers / M. I have, however, taken the opportunity to add an Epilogue in which the major developments of the past thirty years in Britain and the United States are surveyed, and an attempt has been made to carry the essence of the theory of the separation of powers forward to meet the conditions of government at the end of the twentieth century.
The cuneiform inscription that serves as our logo and as the design motif for our endpapers is the earliest-known written appearance of the word “freedom” ( in the Sumerian city-state of Lagash. All rights reserved Printed in the United States of America Originally published in 1967 by Oxford University Press Frontispiece photograph by Alfie and Trish Jarvis LMPA, Canterbury, Kent Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Vile, M. I have also added a bibliography, a serious omission from the first edition.
Arguably no political principle has been more central than the separation of powers to the evolution of constitutional governance in Western democracies. The copyright to this edition, in both print and electronic forms, is held by Liberty Fund, Inc. Thus, any attempt to take all this into account would mean writing a completely new work.
The author concludes with an examination of criticisms of the doctrine by both behavioralists and centralizers - and with “A Model of a Theory of Constitutionalism.” The new Liberty Fund second edition includes the entirety of the original 1967 text published by Oxford, a major epilogue entitled “The Separation of Powers and the Administrative State,” and a bibliography. This is due in part to the fact that so much has been published in the interim and in part because I have since come across a great deal of which I was previously unaware.
It stands alongside that other great pillar of Western political thought—the concept of representative government—as the major support for systems of government which are labelled “constitutional.” For even at a time when the doctrine of the separation of powers as a guide to the proper organization of government is rejected by a great body of opinion, it remains, in some form or other, the most useful tool for the analysis of Western systems of government, and the most effective embodiment of the spirit which lies behind those systems.
Such a claim, of course, requires qualification as well as justification.
As the nineteenth century developed the social environment became less and less favourable for the ideas which had been embodied in the pure doctrine of the separation of powers. First, the group which in earlier years had most fervently supported the separation of powers, the middle class, now saw within its reach the control of political power through the extension of the franchise, and the need for a theory that was essentially a challenge to the power of an aristocracy diminished.