Mixed government

The term mixed constitution refers to a condition in which elements of two or more other classes of so-called "good" forms of government are mixed (eg, democracy (or polity ), aristocracy, monarchy ), creating a new composite, better type of state arises. This is superior to the pure, " unmixed " state forms due to their stability.


In particular, the classical antiquity brought forth pertinent theories, such as Herodotus, Aristotle ( as in his polity ), Plato and Polybius. Furthermore, modern theorists have charted at the ancient mixed constitution theory ajar state models, such as Montesquieu with the violent part mixed constitution. With the beginning of the Modern State ends the ethical distinction by "good" and "bad" constitutional forms part of political philosophy.

Especially in ancient times, the principle of the mixed constitution was hailed as the ideal form of constitution, since it provides bar great political stability, including because they were spared by the cycle of constitutions. The history of ideas, important political thinkers in this regard was Aristotle who drafted the idea of the mixed constitution. The Roman Republic was in this context of Polybius as a mixed constitution. The same applies to the similarly constructed constitution of Carthage.

Whether it has actually ever been a state of mixed constitution, is still highly controversial, however, although Rome and Sparta were often characterized as such and. With the delegitimization of all non-democratic forms of government or heads of state in the late modern age, the mixed constitution theory disappeared from the living political thought. In the still current theory of separation of powers and the basic theme lives (of the division of political power in the state ), however, continued.

The Roman mixed constitution by Polybius

The Greek politician and historian Polybius leads in his "History " (Book VI) back to the rise of Rome to the first world power of his time on the Constitution. This is particularly stable, and bring harmony and peace in the interior, which, inter alia, the powerful foreign policy of the Roman state conditional. The constitutional structure of the Roman Republic, the Consulate was a monarchical, aristocratic element of the Senate and in the rights of the people, exercised in various comitia, I'm a democratic element of the system of government to light. It is important to note that on the one hand central characteristics of Roman offices and social order over looks in this analysis, the principles of annuity and collegiality, the clientele being, or the role of the nobility.

Polybius ' characterization of the Roman state convinced therefore only partially as a mixed constitution. On the other hand, his argument is something in itself: So had the stands fights actually a participation of the people in the rule of consequence, as also in view of the position of the consuls an exclusive concentration of state power in the Senate will not necessarily conclusive.

The mixed constitution, according to Polybius, three key advantages over unmixed state system: First, that it may limit and control the power in the state by any political force is a counterweight. Secondly, that in such a state built all constitutional bodies are forced to cooperate. Thirdly, and this follows from the first two advantages, a mixed constitution is particularly stable. The example of Sparta have shown that, while Athens and Thebes constitute counter-examples whose flowering was based only on a temporary political happiness.