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Encyclopedia > Checks and balances

The doctrine and practice of dispersing political power and creating mutual accountability between political entities such as the courts, the president or prime minister, the legislature, and the citizens.

  1. REDIRECTSeparation of powers
Separation of powers is the idea that the powers of a sovereign government should be split between two or more strongly independent entities, preventing any one person or group from gaining too much power. ...

  Results from FactBites:
 
Checks and Balances — FactMonster.com (396 words)
The system of checks and balances is an important part of the Constitution.
With checks and balances, each of the three branches of government can limit the powers of the others.
Each branch “checks” the power of the other branches to make sure that the power is balanced between them.
Checks and Balances: Liberty, Metaphor and Mechanism (15001 words)
It is these theorists of politics as the balancing of unequal forces who pioneered what is, I think, the most important and least recognized aspect of the theory of checks and balances, and we will return to them shortly, adducing further evidence that there is a close parallel between their arguments.
By the word "balance" it may be that Nedham meant to invoke the powers of the monarch and Lords within the mixed constitution (which included the monarch's power to dissolve Parliament); by the word "check" he may have meant to invoke the power of the Protector under the Instrument of Government to veto unconstitutional legislation.
On the one hand, as Noah Webster's "checks and balance," it is a complex amalgam of two theories which, until the middle years of the eighteenth century, were assumed to be incompatible, the theory of mixed government and the theory of the separation of powers.
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