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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.

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  • HTML Version Text Version Constitutionalism: Ancient and Modern, Charles Howard McIlwain (1947) — Discourse on the origins and development of constitution theory.
  • HTML Version The Origins of Modern Constitutionalism, Francis D. Wormuth (1949) — Historical analysis of the key constitutional concepts.
  • Submenu A living constitution or fundamental law?, Herman Belz (1998) — American constitutionalism in historical perspective.
  • RTF MS Word Version Francis Bacon's Case of the Post-Nati: (1608), by Harvey Wheeler, 1998 — Foundations of Anglo-American Constitutionalism; An Application of Critical Constitutional Theory.
  • Remote Link - HTML Constitutionalism — Entry in the online Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  • Remote Link - HTML What is Constitutionalism?, by Bo LI — Article in Perspectives, Vol. 1, No. 6.
  • Remote Link - HTML Constitutional States — Sourcebook links at Fordham University.
  • Remote Link - HTML Teaching about Democratic Constitutionalism — Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC).
  • Remote Link - HTML Constitutionalism and Responsible Citizenship, by Wayne LaPierre, Sep. 17, 1999 — Speech before the Claremont Institute.
  • Remote Link - HTML 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.
  • Remote Link - HTML 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.
  • Remote Link - HTML The Spirit of American Constitutionalism: John Dickinson's Fabius Letters, by Gregory S. Ahern — From Humanitas, Volume XI, No. 2, 1998 National Humanities Institute, Washington, DC USA.
  • Remote Link - HTML 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, 2001.
  • Remote Link - HTML Constitutionalism in the "Integrated" States of Europe, by Francisco Rubio Llorente — Critical view of European "integration".
  • Remote Link - HTML Centre for the Study of Modern Constitutionalism — UK research forum, in a country that lacks a written constitution.
  • Remote Link - HTML 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.
  • Remote Link - PDF School Choice and American Constitutionalism, by Joseph P. Viteritti — Examines constitutional issues involved in school choice.
  • Remote Link - HTML "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 magazine.
  • Remote Link - HTML Constitutionalism: America & Beyond, by Greg Russell — View from the U.S. State Department, U.S. Information Agency.
  • Submenu Remote Link - HTML Anti-Government vs. Constitutionalism — Comment by Claremont Institute on article by Paul Weyrich.
  • Remote Link - HTML 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.
  • Remote Link - HTML 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.
  • Remote Link - HTML 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.
  • Remote Link - HTML Documents of American Constitutionalism and Legal History, edited by Melvin I. Urofsky & Paul Finkelman — Blurb for book published by the Oxford University Press.
  • Remote Link - HTML 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.
    • Remote Link - HTML Review by Todd F. Gaziano.
  • Remote Link - HTML Controlling the State: Constitutionalism from Ancient Athens to Today, by Scott Gordon — Review for book published by Harvard University Press, 1999.
  • Remote Link - HTML American Constitutionalism: From Theory to Politics, by Stephen M. Griffin — Blurb for book published by Princeton University Press, 1998.
  • Remote Link - HTML The Moral Tradition of American Constitutionalism: A Theological Interpretation, by H. Jefferson Powell — Review of book published by Duke University Press, by Kenneth R. Craycraft, Jr.
  • Remote Link - HTML Covenant and Constitutionalism: The Great Frontier and the Matrix of Federal Democracy, by Daniel J. Elazar — The Covenant Tradition in Politics, Volume 3, Introduction.
  • Remote Link - HTML Toward a Civil Constitutionalism, by Daniel J. Elazar — The Covenant Tradition in Politics, Volume 4, Chapter 1.
  • Remote Link - HTML 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.
  • Remote Link - Word Federalism, Subnational Constitutionalism, and the Protection of Minority Rights in the United States — Discussion of how minority rights can be protected in constitutional framework.
  • Remote Link - HTML The Supreme Court and American Constitutionalism, edited by Bradford P. Wilson and Ken Masugi — Blurb for book published by Rowman & Littlefield, 1997.
  • Remote Link - HTML Constitutionalism: Philosophical Foundations, edited by Lawrence Alexander — Blurb for book published by Cambridge University Press, 1998.
  • Remote Link - HTML American civil religion — Wikipedia article.
  • Remote Link - PDF The Chains of the Constitution: Historical Foundations of American Constitutionalism, Chapter 1, The Lessons of History.
  • Remote Link - PDF The Miller Center Bicentennial Series on Constitutionalism, edited by Kenneth W. Thompson — Catalog for series of books.
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 Roland, 2003
Home  Basic Principles
Original URL: //www.constitution.org/constitutionalism.htm
Jon Roland of the Constitution Society
Original date: 2002/4/11 — 

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