An Historical Introduction to Western Constitutional Law

Front Cover
Cambridge University Press, Mar 23, 1995 - Law - 338 pages
The constitutional question is of paramount importance in the political and nationalist agenda of late twentieth-century Europe. Arguments focus on the best form of constitutional organization: democracy versus autocracy, unitary versus federal organization, pluralism versus intolerance, centralism versus regionalism, national sovereignty versus European. Professor van Caenegem's new book addresses these fundamental questions by analysing different models of constitutional government through a historical perspective, assessing why some models were established and others rejected. The book's approach is pragmatic and chronological: constitutionalism is explained not as a paradigm devised by a team of jurists, but as the result of many centuries of trial and error. The narrative begins in the early Middle Ages and concludes with contemporary debates, taking as its focus the main European countries, the United States, and finally the former Soviet Union.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
MAIN THEMES
10
Tribal kingship from the fall of Rome to the end of the Merovingians
34
The First Europe the Carolingian empire
43
FUNDAMENTAL CHARACTERISTICS
44
THE PUBLIC LAW
45
DECLINE OF THE FIRST EUROPE
50
Europe divided the postCarolingian era
54
THE TRANSFORMATION OF ENGLISH KINGSHIP
109
ENLIGHTENED ABSOLUTISM
125
THE REPUBLIC OF THE UNITED NETHERLANDS
142
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
150
THE FRENCH REVOLUTION AND THE NAPOLEONIC REGIME
174
The bourgeois nation state
194
GREAT BRITAIN
196
FRANCE AFTER NAPOLEON
200

FEUDALISM
56
THE SEIGNIORY
61
THE EMPIRE
63
THE CHURCH
67
The foundation of the modern state
72
THE NEW STRUCTURES
74
HALFWAY BETWEEN FEUDALISM AND THE MODERN STATE
76
THE LEGAL LIMITATIONS OF THE LATE MEDIEVAL MONARCHY
78
AN OPPRESSIVE OR A DEMOCRATIC STATE?
88
The classic absolutism of the Ancient Regime
91
ANALYSIS OF THE PUBLIC LAW IN TWO COUNTRIES
98
The absolute state no lasting model
108
GERMANY FROM NAPOLEON TO WILHELM II
217
BELGIUM AND THE NETHERLANDS
230
SWITZERLAND
241
The liberal model transformed or rejected
244
THE LIBERAL STATE REJECTED
247
THE BOLSHEVIK REVOLUTION AND THE CONSTITUTION OF THE SOVIET UNION
249
GERMANY AND THE THIRD REICH
270
Epilogue
292
Select bibliography
296
Index
319
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