separation of powers

Definition
Term derived by Enlightenment philosopher Charles Montesquieu, a traditional concept of liberalism where, for the sake of limiting abuse of power, the three branches of government: the executive, the legislature and the judiciary remain independent. In modern times the best examples are some American states where all branches have tangible power and, because of separate elections, no branch is appointed by nor can be removed by, another branch. Less than perfect examples would be parliamentary systems: the executive directly appointed, and removed, by the legislature, and the judiciary directly appointed by the executive.