Exerceatur constitutio, ruat cœlum. Let the constitution be enforced, [though] the heavens fall. — Jon Roland
Constitutionalism is the idea, often associated with the political theories of John Locke and the "founders" of the American republic, and equated with the concept of regula iuris, the "Rule of Law", that government can and should be legally limited in its powers, and that its authority depends on enforcing these limitations. The following links and documents explore this
concept in more detail.
Click on the button to get the indicated file
Constitutionalism: Ancient and
Modern, Charles Howard McIlwain (1947) — Discourse on the origins
and development of constitution theory.
The Origins of Modern
Constitutionalism, Francis D. Wormuth (1949) — Historical analysis
of the key constitutional concepts.
A living constitution or fundamental
law?, Herman Belz (1998) — American constitutionalism in
Francis Bacon's Case of the Post-Nati:
(1608), by Harvey Wheeler, 1998 — Foundations of Anglo-American
Constitutionalism; An Application of Critical Constitutional Theory.
Constitutionalism — Entry in the
online Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
What is Constitutionalism?, by Bo LI
— Article in Perspectives, Vol. 1, No. 6.
Constitutional States — Sourcebook
links at Fordham University.
Teaching about Democratic
Constitutionalism — Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC).
Constitutionalism and Responsible
Citizenship, by Wayne LaPierre, Sep. 17, 1999 — Speech before the
The Center for Constitutional Studies —
Promotes research, teaching, and publication on the history and theory of
constitutionalism, with special emphasis on the Constitution of the United
States of America.
Center for Comparative Constitutionalism —
Studies the definition and implementation of constitutional rights, focusing
both on legal and judicial interpretation and on the wide range of ways in
which societies attempt to secure constitutional rights to their citizens.
Federalism and Constitutionalism: Europe's
Sonderweg, by J.H.H. Weiler — Working Paper to be published as Kalypso
Nicolaidis and Robert Howse (eds.), The Federal Vision: Legitimacy and
Levels of Governance in the US and the EU, Oxford: Oxford University Press,
Constitutionalism in the "Integrated"
States of Europe, by Francisco Rubio Llorente — Critical view of
Centre for the Study of Modern
Constitutionalism — UK research forum, in a country that lacks a
Deconstructing Constitutionalism: The Case
of Central Asia and Uzbekistan, by Rebecca M. Bichel — Critical
analysis of the attempt to apply the model of the U.S. Constitution to a
country lacking a constitutionalist tradition.
School Choice and American
Constitutionalism, by Joseph P. Viteritti — Examines constitutional
issues involved in school choice.
"Constitutionalism": The White Man's Ghost
Dance, by Robert C. Black — View that constitutionalism promises what
it can't deliver, but offers no alternative. Published in Liberty
Constitutionalism: America &
Beyond, by Greg Russell — View from the U.S. State Department, U.S.
Anti-Government vs. Constitutionalism —
Comment by Claremont Institute on article by Paul Weyrich.
Democracy and Constitutionalism in the
European Union — Three leading EU scholars debate whether, and if so,
by what standards, the European Union has democratic legitimacy.
Constitutionalism and American Culture,
edited by Sandra F. VanBurkleo, Kermit L. Hall, and Robert J. Kaczorowski
— Blurb for book published by the University Press of Kansas, March, 2002.
George Washington and American
Constitutionalism, by Glenn A. Phelps — Blurb for book published by
the University Press of Kansas, argues that Washington's political thought did
influence the principles informing the federal government.
Documents of American Constitutionalism and
Legal History, edited by Melvin I. Urofsky & Paul Finkelman —
Blurb for book published by the Oxford University Press.
The Power of Separation: American
Constitutionalism and the Myth of the Legislative Veto, by Jessica Korn
— Blurb for book published by the Princeton University Press.
Review by Todd F. Gaziano.
Controlling the State: Constitutionalism
from Ancient Athens to Today, by Scott Gordon — Review for book
published by Harvard University Press, 1999.
American Constitutionalism: From Theory to
Politics, by Stephen M. Griffin — Blurb for book published by
Princeton University Press, 1998.
The Moral Tradition of American
Constitutionalism: A Theological Interpretation, by H. Jefferson Powell
— Review of book published by Duke University Press, by Kenneth R.
Covenant and Constitutionalism: The Great
Frontier and the Matrix of Federal Democracy, by Daniel J. Elazar —
The Covenant Tradition in Politics, Volume 3, Introduction.
Toward a Civil Constitutionalism, by
Daniel J. Elazar — The Covenant Tradition in Politics, Volume 4, Chapter
Sectional Crisis and Southern
Constitutionalism, by Don E. Fehrenbacher — Blurb for book published
by Louisiana State University Press. Outlines the South’s determination to
maintain political power and equality against the northern majority and
explains how this determination energized southern nationalism, leading to
disunion and, ultimately, to the Civil War.
Constitutionalism, and the Protection of Minority Rights in the United
States — Discussion of how minority rights can be protected in
The Supreme Court and American
Constitutionalism, edited by Bradford P. Wilson and Ken Masugi — Blurb
for book published by Rowman & Littlefield, 1997.
Foundations, edited by Lawrence Alexander — Blurb for book published
by Cambridge University Press, 1998.
American civil religion — Wikipedia article.
The Chains of the Constitution: Historical
Foundations of American Constitutionalism, Chapter 1, The Lessons of
The Miller Center Bicentennial Series on
Constitutionalism, edited by Kenneth W. Thompson — Catalog for series
The only honorable course for a citizen is to conduct his life as
though the Constitution, as originally understood, is in full force and effect,
and if and when that brings him into conflict with public agents, to take a
firm stance in opposition to their usurpations, regardless of consequences to
himself, to them, or to others. Maintaining the Constitution, in every
particular, is more important than human lives, even millions of them, if it
should come to a choice. Individuals die. The Constitution needs to live for as
long as one human remains alive, and perhaps even beyond that. — Jon