The Federalist Papers

"Separation of Powers"

Overview

In constituting a new government, the Framers knew that written rules—what Publius calls “parchment barriers”—would not be enough by themselves to protect liberty and prevent tyranny. Instead, Publius looks to the “interior structure” as the best means for keeping the branches properly and effectively separated. Separation of powers, the most important of the Constitution’s “auxiliary precautions,” works to prevent governmental tyranny, and by keeping each branch within its proper sphere of authority allows each branch to do its job well.

Lecture

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Q & A Session

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Matthew Spalding is Associate Vice President and Dean of Educational Programs for Hillsdale College in Washington, D.C., and oversees the operations of the Kirby Center. He received his B.A. from Claremont McKenna College, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in government from the Claremont Graduate School. He is the best-selling author of We Still Hold These Truths: Rediscovering Our Principles, Reclaiming Our Future, as well as other books including A Sacred Union of Citizens: Washington’s Farewell Address and the American Character and The Founders’ Almanac: A Practical Guide to the Notable Events, Greatest Leaders & Most Eloquent Words of the American Founding. Prior to joining Hillsdale, Dr. Spalding was Vice President of American Studies at The Heritage Foundation and founding director of its B. Kenneth Simon Center for Principles and Politics. He continues at Heritage as the Henry Salvatori Visiting Fellow, and is also a Senior Fellow at the Claremont Institute for the Study of Statesmanship and Political Philosophy. In addition to teaching at Hillsdale, he has taught at George Mason University, the Catholic University of America and Claremont McKenna College.