13. What is the purpose of separation of powers?

The U.S. Constitution in Five Minutes - Joseph L. Smith

Joseph L. Smith [+-]
University of Alabama
Joseph L. Smith is Professor and Department Chair in the Department of Political Science at the University of Alabama. His research focuses on decision-making in the United States federal courts.


The U.S. Constitution in 5 Minutes presents 59 essays on subjects central to the meaning and application of the U.S. Constitution. The U.S. Constitution was written more than 230 years ago, for a new country on the periphery of the world. Two centuries later, it governs the most powerful nation on earth and its meaning is constantly debated. Written by scholars, these essays cover origins; institutions, processes, and structural features; civil rights and liberties; and modes of interpretation and address common questions and misunderstandings about the Constitution, such as: Can the President start a war? Does the Constitution protect hate speech? Does the Second Amendment give everyone the right to have a gun? Does the Constitution protect non-citizens? How can we tell what the Constitution means? Pitched at readers who follow the news and have basic knowledge about the U.S. government, this book is valuable as a supplement to political science courses and for anyone who wants a deeper understanding of the underlying principles of the U.S. political system. As with all the “in 5 Minutes” books, the essays are written in lively and accessible prose and are brief enough to be read in 5 minutes.

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Smith, Joseph. 13. What is the purpose of separation of powers?. The U.S. Constitution in Five Minutes. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. Apr 2023. ISBN 9781800502857. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=43573. Date accessed: 28 Nov 2022 doi: 10.1558/equinox.43573. Apr 2023

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