But, while both deserve applause, neither is wholly successful. Whether those outcomes are attributed to the will of the king or to the will of the people is an empirical matter of determining the locus of sovereignty. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1992. Very minimal wear and tear. For my purposes, this was a concise and well-written comparison of historical constitutions. Gordon, like Muldoon, has read an immense amount of literature. The bête noire in Gordons conceptual formulation is the doctrine of sovereignty.
Although not governed by any single written document, British constitutionalism as it developed in the seventeenth century emphasized the legislature as a check on executive power and individual rights as expressed in the judge-made common law. Indeed, the staying power of this phrase in contemporary discourse is surely strong testimony to the huge capacity for self-delusion that exists in our species. Medieval representative bodies were certainly limited and hardly democratic, but they did lay permanent foundations, and seventeenth-century parliaments were not democratic either. Join Our Mailing List: to receive information about forthcoming books, seasonal catalogs, and more, in newsletters tailored to your interests. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. If a sovereign chooses not to pay a debt, that refusal is the end of the matter, and the creditor must simply take his lumps. Muldoon begins with an assessment of earlier work on the concept of empire and finds it inadequate.
From its beginning in Polyius' interpretation of the classical concept of mixed government , the author traces the theory of constitutionalism through its late medieval appearance in the Conciliar Movement of church reform and in the Huguet defence of mirity rights. In this second aspect of constitutionalism, as James Madison observed, ambition is made to counteract ambition by empowering multiple distinct and rival interests. Harvey Mansfield and Delba Winthrop. To remedy this defect, Muldoon devotes considerable attention to analysis of the medieval state and to medieval concepts of empire, also contending that earlier writers have focused too much on writers and theorists, rather than on the lawyers who often had more profound and learned things to say. Governance then comes to operate ultimately not through the commands or acquiescence of the sovereign but through a concurrence among multiple, independent sources of authority.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Sonal Shukla or Rebekah McClure. Contrary to the repeated complaint that most academic work is narrow and antiquarian, both books tackle big subjects over vast expanses of time. In this sense, every political system has a constitution. Two of the book's nine chapters treat these conceptual issues, though many of the other chapters present such material as well. The American founding is distinctive, and influential, in creating a single written document grounded in popular consent that is both clearly visible and legally enforceable against government officials. In conclusion, Muldoon and Gordon deserve our applause for tackling big subjects and for their erudition.
Abstract: Gordon explores the main venues of constitutional practice in ancient Athens, Republican Rome, Renaissance Venice, the Dutch Republic, seventeenth-century England, and eighteenth-century America-and describes how constitutionalism has developed since then into the modern concept of constitutional democracy. Digital Library Federation, December 2002. Gordons book will point you in the right direction, but it wont take you very far by itself. For one thing, Gordon apparently made no effort to assimilate any of the recent scholarship on the emergent properties of decentralized orders. Yet these formulations, in which the outcomes of a process are not direct objects of anyone's optimizing choices, are surely relevant to the material at hand. In short, someone interested in exploring how ideas about polycentricity can be brought to bear on the constitution of governance will have to look outside of Gordon's Controlling the State.
While Renaissance Florence and the Dutch Republic had developed systems of countervaillance, the theory and practice of constitutionalism was most forcibly revived in conflict betwe en king and Parliament in the early Stuart era, and it has since developed into the modern concept of constitutional democracy. Citizenship in the Western Tradition. The development of constitutional government and countervailance theory in seventeenth-century England -- 8. Constitution, the power to make laws is divided between the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the president. Controlling the State: Constitutionalism from Ancient Athens to Today. Also left out of account in this book, yet highly relevant, is a consideration of whether polyarchy operates differently with private ordering than with public ordering.
The E-mail message field is required. The Senate must confirm presidential choices of persons to occupy judicial and executive offices. Scott Gordons Controlling the State combines under one cover two distinct realms of discourse. It is simple enough to describe this history, as Warren does, and its clear that Gordon, too, describes in a related manner across his seven episodes, but the lessons we might learn regarding the constitution of governance will require the conjunction of a richer conceptual framework and a deeper examination of the concrete experiences illuminated by that framework. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005. An older sense of the term constitution, tracing back to Aristotle, is simply descriptive. Interesting bits appear here and there, including a number of citations that seem worth pursuing, yet when I close the book and ask how I must now rearrange my intellectual furniture, I have no answer.
It explores the main venues of constitutional practice in ancient Athens, Republican Rome, Renaissance Venice, the Dutch Republic, seventeenth-century England, and eighteenth-century America. Both of these aspects of constitutionalism are aimed not at weakening government but at controlling it and channeling its activities toward the public good. Constitutionalism gives legal status to the principles of just government. Nothing in the book leaves me feeling chagrined at not having thought of it first or so enthusiastic as to exclaim thats truly interesting, now I understand! Both aspects emphasize the importance of controlling political power and protecting individual liberties from government abuse, but they highlight different paths to that common goal. He, too, tackles a big subject, tracing the history of constitutionalism and advancing the thesis that the emergence of European states in which political power was significantly distributed among competing institutions antedates feudalism and capitalism. It would also seem to me that here and elsewhere control of financial affairs, acquired by the House of the Commons during the fourteenth century, would be critical to understanding the emergence of constitutionalism.
This book examines the development of the theory and practice of constitutionalism, defined as a political system in which the coercive power of the state is controlled through a pluralistic distribution of political power. Gordon associates this use of sovereignty most strongly with Jean Bodin, in the assertion that a position of sovereignty exists in every state. An independent judiciary helps ensure that the executive follows the law produced by the legislature. Controlling the State: Constitutionalism from Ancient Athens to Today. Regardless of the particular model, there will exist some locus of final authority for political outcomes.