Democracy - Separation of powers

Throughout history, with hopes of preserving liberty, many governments have varied in their methods. Allegedly having the amelioration of the lives of their people being their primary goal, these forms of governments have mostly varied from being absolute and oppressive, to having an outright deficit of government. As the two most abundant forms of governing, history has shown that Tyrannical and Anarchic governments usually go two ways. One resulting in chaos and disarray in social order (Anarchic), and the other in the deprivation of that same liberty they allegedly aim to preserve (Tyrannical).

Since the two are so common, both historians and politicians have often asked a grand question; which is better in the sense of preserving liberty? Must a government be strong and risk resulting in a tyranny, or must it be weak and undergo the risk of anarchism? The conclusion that can be drawn from their results so far is that they are both disastrous for a people and the truly best form of governing is in between them. In other words, for preserving liberty, it is best a government aim for a balance between a strong and weak form. Many strong governments in the past and today avoid(ed) anarchy.

To do that, they often create(d) constitutions and/or laws that are enforced by the government while also giving up certain rights to allow more important ones be assured. But it is when these rights are “ensured” too tightly and strictly controlled that these governments no longer preserve liberty. Thus, by controlling too much, they still prevent anarchy, but at times lead to tyranny. In the modern world, this can be seen with a period that recently occurred in Venezuela known as “El Chavizmo”. For the first two years of El Chavizmo the president, Hugo Chavez, intended on first removing the past government’s corruption. Through a series of

maneuvers that improved the lower class’ life conditions, he gained the majority’s support (Gale Legacy of Chavez). While helping them, these maneuvers were also done according to his personal interests. These interests included molding laws and major organizations in order to achieve the most control possible while also eliminating opposition. These laws gave him control over, for example, the press and television, manipulating them so the people could not know about his activities. Along with that, he also restrained the liberty of those who were against him, often killing or “suppressing” (Gatestone Venezuela) them.

Overall, this “strong” government sprouted tyranny while devouring liberty. Weaker governments also do many things well. A grand part of that is not allowing for tyranny to sprout. They do not greatly empower themselves, which disallows tyranny. It does so because since much of the power belongs to the people, it prevents anyone to have control over all. Frequently seen, when the government cannot establish order due to lack of power and control, the liberty of the people is greatly diminished, leading to chaos and upheaval. A historic example includes the National Assembly during the French Revolution.

The National Assembly failed to stabilize both the national situation and, by consequence, the people’s revolts. For example, because of a recent announcement stating that the same government was to stay intact and due to the expensive price of bread, the people reacted through The Woman’s March on Versailles and the Fusillade du Champ-de-Mars. Needless to say this was all unstabilized due to its lack of power and order. Concluding, this weak government not only allowed for the cries and deaths of many, but also for the deprivation of liberty. With both forms resulting in failure, the key to success is the right balance between them.

Having a form of government that can protect the people’s rights while not abusing the power given to them prevents both tyranny and anarchy. It is the integral component in finding the balance. Through a democracy, a government is still able to be strong while not leaning towards tyranny or anarchy. A prime example of such is United States’ Government after the creation of the Constitution. The government, containing the Constitution, is a democracy involving a separation of powers within its branches of government (Constitutions Gale).

Being separated into three branches, the Legislative, Executive, and Judiciary branches each obtain separate and independent powers, along with separate responsibilities. Summarizing, since through “a system of checks and balances” (Gordon On The Issues) each branch is unable to overpower any of the rest this also eliminates the possibility of an absolute ruler. Also, since it can never concentrate all power into one branch, it will never be able to be too strong or too weak. Hence, through a democracy and a constitution protecting the people’s rights, the deprivation of liberty is almost nonexistent.

Bibliography: "Constitutions. " International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences. Ed. William A. Darity, Jr. 2nd ed. Vol. 2. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2008. 94-95. Global Issues in Context. 12 May 2014. Gordon, Jesse. "How Does Separation of Power Work? " On The Issues. 06 May 2000. 22 Apr. 2014. Mahjar-Barducci, Anna. "Venezuela: To Celebrate Free Expression, Chavez Shuts Down Media. " Gatestone Intstitute International Policy Council. Gatestone Institute. 26 Jan. 2011. 12 May 2014 Powers, Don M. "Separation of Powers a Principle of Liberty. " The Edmond Sun. 05 Nov. 2010. 22 Apr. 2014. World History In Context. "Legacy of Chavez. " Gale. 08 Mar. 2013. 12 May 2014.