An Historical Introduction to Western Constitutional Law

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The constitutional question is of paramount importance in the political and nationalist agenda of late twentieth-century Europe. Professor van Caenegem's new book addresses fundamental questions of constitutional organisation: democracy versus autocracy, unitary versus federal organisation, pluralism versus intolerance, by analysing different models of constitutional government through an historical perspective. The approach is chronological: constitutionalism is explained as the result of many centuries of trial and error through a narrative which begins in the early Middle Ages and concludes with contemporary debates, focusing on Europe, the United States, and the Soviet Union. Special attention is devoted to the rise of the rule of law, and of constitutional, parliamentary, and federal forms of government. The epilogue discusses the future of liberal democracy as a universal model.