Constitution of the Year XII (First French Republic)
Palace of Westminster in February 2007
Constitution of the Kingdom of Naples in 1848.
Map showing the terminology for each country's national legislature
Detail from Hammurabi's stele shows him receiving the laws of Babylon from the seated sun deity.
The Congress of the Republic of Peru, the country's national legislature, meets in the Legislative Palace in 2010
Diagram illustrating the classification of constitutions by Aristotle.
The British House of Commons, its lower house
Third volume of the compilation of Catalan Constitutions of 1585
The German Bundestag, its theoretical lower house
The Cossack Constitution of Pylyp Orlyk, 1710.
The Australian Senate, its upper house
A painting depicting George Washington at the Constitutional Convention of 1787 signing of the U.S. Constitution
Constitution of May 3, 1791 (painting by Jan Matejko, 1891). Polish King Stanisław August (left, in regal ermine-trimmed cloak), enters St. John's Cathedral, where Sejm deputies will swear to uphold the new Constitution; in background, Warsaw's Royal Castle, where the Constitution has just been adopted.
Presidential copy of the Russian Constitution.
Magna Carta
United States Constitution

It holds that the legislative body has absolute sovereignty and is supreme over all other government institutions, including executive or judicial bodies.

- Parliamentary sovereignty

It also holds that the legislative body may change or repeal any previous legislation and so it is not bound by written law (in some cases, not even a constitution) or by precedent.

- Parliamentary sovereignty

Some political systems follow the principle of legislative supremacy, which holds that the legislature is the supreme branch of government and cannot be bound by other institutions, such as the judicial branch or a written constitution.

- Legislature

The standard model, described by the Baron de Montesquieu, involves three branches of government: executive, legislative and judicial.

- Constitution

In the UK, the constitutional doctrine of Parliamentary sovereignty dictates that sovereignty is ultimately contained at the centre.

- Constitution
Constitution of the Year XII (First French Republic)

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John Locke

Separation of powers

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Separation of powers refers to the division of a state's government into branches, each with separate, independent powers and responsibilities, so that the powers of one branch are not in conflict with those of the other branches.

Separation of powers refers to the division of a state's government into branches, each with separate, independent powers and responsibilities, so that the powers of one branch are not in conflict with those of the other branches.

John Locke
Montesquieu
George Washington at Constitutional Convention of 1787, signing of U.S. Constitution

The typical division is into three branches: a legislature, an executive, and a judiciary, which is sometimes called the trias politica model.

Constitutions with a high degree of separation of powers are found worldwide.

While the full process took decades, it has led to a system of parliamentary sovereignty, where the Montesquieu idea of separation of powers is technically dead even though the three branches remain important institutions.