We’re going to have this week’s Power Line University online class on The Federalist tomorrow (Tuesday) instead of Wednesday for scheduling reasons. Lucretia and I will meet live at 4:30 pm Pacific time, and go through the major question of the separation of powers as explained in Federalist numbers 47 – 51. Use this Zoom link to join us.
Although Montesquieu had explained the theory of the separation of powers in The Spirit of the Laws, the American constitution was the first to embrace the principle wholesale. I think it was John Adams (Richard Samuelson will correct me) who said that the separation of powers was the greatest innovation of the American Founding.
We will thus use this occasion to explain why eroding the separation of powers became the chief object of the Progressives, and why it was essential to the modern administrative state. Many readers have been asking when we’d get to this issue, and the answer is: THIS WEEK!
We think we’ll have three more class sessions after this one, covering the Federalist’s treatment of Congress and the presidency, the judiciary, and then closing with Hamilton’s very curious discussion at the end of The Federalist about why a Bill of Rights would be dangerous to the republic. He lost that argument, as we know, but maybe his line of reasoning was sound? We’ll discuss it in depth.
In the meantime, I was delayed getting the YouTube video of last week’s class processed and posted, but it is up at last for anyone who wants to take in the slides and quotations we used: