By Scott Gordon

This ebook examines the improvement of the speculation and perform of constitutionalism, outlined as a political approach during which the coercive energy of the country is managed via a pluralistic distribution of political strength. It explores the most venues of constitutional perform in historic Athens, Republican Rome, Renaissance Venice, the Dutch Republic, seventeenth-century England, and eighteenth-century the United States. From its starting in Polybius' interpretation of the classical notion of "mixed government," the writer lines the idea of constitutionalism via its overdue medieval visual appeal within the Conciliar circulation of church reform and within the Huguenot safeguard of minority rights. After noting its suppression with the emergence of the geographical region and the Bodinian doctrine of "sovereignty," the writer describes how constitutionalism was once revived within the English clash among king and Parliament within the early Stuart period, and the way it has constructed for the reason that then into the fashionable idea of constitutional democracy.

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The parts of it dealing specifically with the issue of sovereignty have recently been translated afresh by Julian Franklin, and published in 1992, with an introductory essay. ’’ 2. Within four years of its initial publication, the Re´publique was reprinted eight times. Sixteen reprints appeared during the next two decades (Kossmann, 1981, 5). ‘‘It was known and read all over Europe, and was promptly made a textbook in English universities’’ (Clark, 1915, lxi; see also Burgess, 1996, 65). 3. Bodin’s Re´publique ‘‘is, in a very real sense, an attempt at a general system of politics, and contemporaries were not far wrong in likening it to the Politics of Aristotle’’ (McRae, 1962, A9).

The practical recognition of this truth was reserved for the honor of this country. I recollect no constitution founded on this principle . . The great and penetrating mind of Locke seems to be the only one that pointed towards even the theory of this great truth’’ (Richards, 1989, 96). 23 In assessing the role of the doctrine of popular sovereignty in lateeighteenth-century American thought, one must distinguish between the initiation of the Revolution and the drafting of the Constitution, events separated by two decades of war and social instability as well as the generation of much political literature.

St. Thomas Aquinas recognizes sovereignty as originally and primarily vested in the people, hardly less explicitly than the Declaration of Independence’’ (Bryce, 1901, 529). 21 In the early seventeenth century, Johannes Althusius, writing in defense of the Dutch rebellion against Spain, adapted Bodinian theory to the task of establishing the principle of the sovereignty of the people (Cooper, 1960, 68; Kossmann, 1960, 93; Franklin, 1991, 312). 22 The phrase ‘‘the sovereignty of the people,’’ and its equivalents, appears often in the English literature preceding and during the Civil War (see Morgan, 1989, esp.

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