History of Montesquieu

Baron de La Brede et de Montesquieu was born in 18 January 1689 generally referred to as simply Montesquieu, was a French social commentator and political thinker who lived during the Age of Enlightenment. He is famous for his articulation of the theory of separation of powers, which is implemented in many constitutions throughout the world. He did more than any other author to secure the place of the word despotism in the political lexicon, and may have been partly responsible for the popularization of the terms feudalism and Byzantine Empire. Montesquieu was one of the great political philosophers of the Enlightenment.

Insatiably curious and mordantly funny, he constructed a naturalistic account of the various forms of government, and of the causes that made them what they were and that advanced or constrained their development. He used this account to explain how governments might be preserved from corruption. He saw despotism, in particular, as a standing danger for any government not already despotic, and argued that it could best be prevented by a system in which different bodies exercised legislative, executive, and judicial power, and in which all those bodies were bound by the rule of law.

This theory of the separation of powers had an enormous impact on liberal political theory, and on the framers of the constitution of the United States of America. Introduction of Montesquie’s separation of Power The term “trias politica” or “separation of powers” was coined by Charles-Louis de Secondat, baron de La Brede et de Montesquieu, an 18th century French social and political philosopher. His publication, Spirit of the Laws, is considered one of the great works in the history of political theory and jurisprudence, and it inspired the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Constitution of the United States.

Under his model, the political authority of the state is divided into legislative, executive and judicial powers. He asserted that, to most effectively promote liberty, these three powers must be separate and acting independently. Separation of powers, therefore, refers to the division of government responsibilities into distinct branches to limit any one branch from exercising the core functions of another. The intent is to prevent the concentration of power and provide for checks and balances.

The traditional characterizations of the powers of the branches of American government are: * The legislative branch is responsible for enacting the laws of the state and appropriating the money necessary to operate the government. * The executive branch is responsible for implementing and administering the public policy enacted and funded by the legislative branch. * The judicial branch is responsible for interpreting the constitution and laws and applying their interpretations to controversies brought before it. Forty state constitutions specify that government be divided into three branches: legislative, executive and judicial.

California illustrates this approach; “The powers of state government are legislative, executive, and judicial. Persons charged with the exercise of one power may not exercise either of the others except as permitted by this Constitution. ” While separation of powers is key to the workings of American government, no democratic system exists with an absolute separation of powers or an absolute lack of separation of powers. Governmental powers and responsibilities intentionally overlap; they are too complex and interrelated to be neatly compartmentalized.

As a result, there is an inherent measure of competition and conflict among the branches of government. Throughout American history, there also has been an ebb and flow of preeminence among the governmental branches. Such experiences suggest that where power resides is part of an evolutionary process. This Web page provides resources for legislators and staff to use in addressing separation of powers issues. It organizes them into broad categories and links to a diverse set of resources to illustrate how the doctrine applies to specific issues under each category.

The resources include law review articles, court cases and legislative reports. Legislative Main article: Parliament of Malaysia The Parliament building in Kuala Lumpur Legislative power is divided between federal and state legislatures. The bicameral parliament consists of the lower house, the House of Representatives or Dewan Rakyat (literally the “Chamber of the People”); and the upper house, the Senate or Dewan Negara (literally the “Chamber of the Nation”). All seventy Senate members sit for three-year terms (to a maximum of two terms); twenty-six are elected by the thirteen state assemblies, and forty-four are appointed by the king based on the advice of the Prime Minister.

The 222 members of the Dewan Rakyat are elected from single-member districts by universal adult suffrage. Parliament has a maximum mandate of five years by law. The king may dissolve parliament at any time, and usually does so upon the advice of the Prime Minister. General elections must be held within sixty days of the dissolution of parliament. In practice, this has meant that elections have been held every three to five years at the discretion of the Prime Minister.

Legislative power is divided between federal and state legislatures. Malaysia has two sources of law. [citation needed] The national constitution, the nation’s supreme law, can be amended by a two-thirds majority in parliament. (Since its formation, the BN has never lacked the necessary two-thirds until 8 March 2008’s General Election) The second source of law is syariah (Islamic law), which applies only to Muslims. The federal government has little input into the administration of syariah; it falls to the states to implement Islamic law, and interpretations vary from state to state.

[citation needed] The parliament follows a multi-party system and the governing body is elected through a first-past-the-post system. Executive Executive power is vested in the cabinet led by the prime minister; the Malaysian constitution stipulates that the prime minister must be a member of the Lower House of parliament who, in the opinion of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (YDPA), commands a majority in parliament. [18] The cabinet is chosen from among members of both houses of Parliament and is responsible to that body.

The Executive branch of the government consists of the Prime Minister as the head of the government, followed by the various ministers of the Cabinet. Strictly speaking, the Executive branch does not have the right to intervene in the Legislative or Judicial branches of the state. This is to ensure that the principle of separation of power is adhered to, as guaranteed by Article 127 of the Federal Constitution (Jeong, 2007). The Executive branch of the government formulates various socio-economic policies and development plans, for the development of the country as a whole.

The Executive has the power and authority to generate revenues through the collection of various taxes, levies, fines, summons, custom duties, and fees, to name some, from the general public. Judicial Main article: Judiciary of Malaysia The Palace of Justice in Putrajaya, housing the Court of Appeal and the Federal Court The judiciary is theoretically independent of the executive and the legislature, although supporters of the government hold many judicial positions. The highest court in the judicial system is the Federal Court, followed by the Court of Appeal, and two High Courts, one for Peninsular Malaysia, and one for East Malaysia.

The subordinate courts in each of these jurisdictions include Sessions Courts, Magistrates’ Courts, and Courts for Children. Malaysia also has a Special Court to hear cases brought by or against all Royalty. There is also a Special Court, established in 1993 to hear cases brought by or against Ruler. Before its establishment, Rulers were immune from any proceedings brought against them in their personal capacity. Rulers include the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (the elected Monarch), and the heads of state of Malaysia’s component states. Separate from the civil courts are the Syariah Courts, which decide on cases which involve Malaysian Muslims.

These courts run parallel to the normal court system, and are undergoing reforms that include the first ever appointment of female judges. Debate exists in Malaysia over whether the country should be secular or Islamic. Some state governments controlled by the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party, including that of Terengganu, have passed Islamic laws, but these have not gone into effect due to opposition from the federal government. http://plato. stanford. edu/entries/montesquieu/ http://www. ncsl. org/research/about-state-legislatures/separation-of-powers-an-overview. aspx http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Politics_of_Malaysia.