Arnon Gutfeld

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Polybius's description of the Roman Republic's mixed constitution is often compared to the "checks and balances" maxim in American politics. The thrust of this study is to follow the idea of establishment of a balanced political system and to ascertain whether the ideas that originated in the ancient Mediterranean world had a direct impact on the writing of the United States Constitution. It is clear that mixed constitutions, diffusion of powers, checks and balances and separation of powers are all ideas and instruments intended to establish a form of government in which interests groups and factions were prevented from amassing excessive powers and establishing an anti-democratic, despotic tyrannical reality. The link between the idea of the mixed constitution of Polybius and the checks and balances theory associated with the American political system becomes apparent: an idea and a system developed in a certain set of circumstances and described and defined in a certain manner according to the social, political and economic realities of antiquity transforms according to prevailing needs and conditions until variations find their way into modern American political culture.

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