chapter  XI
26 Pages

Executive and Legislature

WithM. Seliger

John Locke’s theory of revolutionary action reveals that he was concerned no less to restrict popular interference than to create safeguards against monarchical absolutism. Both considerations determine his constitutional theory, which, while not democratic, is also not unfavourable to effective executive leadership. The fact that interpreters have not appreciated the nature of Locke’s concern with balancing governmental power may be the reason why they have accused him of failing to grapple with the idea of sovereignty, if not of rejecting it altogether, or of being guilty of this as well as of the flagrant theoretical and practical misuse of the principle of sovereignty. Locke untiringly proclaimed the supremacy of the legislature over the executive as the principle which ought to determine the relationship between the two branches of government. When Locke agreed to the chief executive’s share in legislation, he introduced the balance of powers into the legislative process.