What are the differences between constitutionalism and democracy? Views · What is the relationship between the constitution and democracy? Views. What is a “constitution,” what is “constitutionalism,” and what is the relation between the two? How might constitutionalism translate to the. Constitution and Constitutionalism in the Context of Constitutional . constitutional models and the different relationships between a constitution and the so-.
Difference between Constitution and Constitutionalism The main difference between constitution and constitutionalism lies in the fact that the constitution is generally a written document, created by the government often with the participation of the civil societywhile constitutionalism is a principle and a system of governance that respects the rule of law and limits the power of the government.
Rule of law and constitutionalism
Most modern constitutions were written years ago, but laws and norms had already been evolving and mutating for centuries, and continue to do so. The constitution and laws in general is a living entity that should adapt to the changing features of the modern world and of modern societies. Failing to adapt the constitution — without losing its core principles and values — may lead to an obsolete and unadapt governance system.
Other differences between the two concepts include: Constitutionalism is based on the principles outlined in the constitution — or in other core legal documents — but it is also a principle of its own. The idea of constitutionalism is opposed to the concept of authoritarian and despotic rule and is based on the belief that the power of the government should be limited in order to prevent abuses and excesses; The constitution is often a written document, while the principles of constitutionalism are generally unwritten.
Both constitution and constitutionalism evolve with the promulgation of democratic ideals — although they do not always proceed at the same speed.
There can be a constitutional form of governance — that respects the rights of the citizens and promotes democratic values — even though the national constitution is outdated.
At the same time, an inefficient democratic government may not be able to rule in a constitutional way, despite the existence of a constitution.
Constitution vs Constitutionalism The concepts of constitution and constitutionalism are strictly linked, but the second is much more than just the respect and enforcement of the national constitution as the term might suggest. The creation of a constitution is the result of years of progress and evolution, but, in some cases — like in Japan — the constitution can be imposed by invading or opposing forces, and may not embody the key values and principles that characterize a society.
Building on the differences outlined in the previous section, we can identify few other aspects that differentiate constitution and constitutionalism. Conversely, constitutionalism is a system of governance defined in opposition to unconstitutionalism and authoritarianism. The stress was upon stability and strength.
Such was also the core objective of Roman constitutionalism. Slowly evolved over the centuries, the Roman constitution was a wonder of complicated and interrelated restraints. All the different offices, from that of the consuls down to those of the minor functionaries, were subject to carefully elaborated rules embodied in law supported by powerful religious beliefs.
Polybius provided a celebrated analysis of this constitutional order, as it presumably worked around b. What Polybius marveled at, however, was not how it protected the individual but how it provided the strength which made Rome great by giving the Roman political community a measure of internal stability and providing a balance of the different classes. It was this strength and stability which later inspired Machiavelli, Harrington, and Montesquieu.
The problem which they and many others contemplated at length, and which each solved in terms of his own political convictions, was the problem of how this strong and stable system came to decline and eventually to be replaced by monarchical absolutism.
Rule of law and constitutionalism - University of Antwerp
John Dickinson added his own interpretation in Death of a Republicmaking an analogy between the process and the modern rise of totalitarian dictatorship. Like Montesquieu and others, he interpreted Roman constitutionalism in the perspective of contemporary problems of constitutionalism.
The problem is basically simpler; Roman constitutionalism provided strength and stability for a city-state. It was unsuited to the larger territorial power which Rome became as the result of this strength and stability. Rome's decline was inherent in its rise—a built-in dialectic often observed in nature. This means, of course, that for an understanding of Roman constitutionalism a grasp of the nature of lex is vital. The Roman notion that law is the common solemn promise of the public became a vital ingredient of Western constitutionalism.
Without such a concept of law, constitutionalism's political function as a system of restraints is greatly weakened. Medieval constitutionalism built on the basis thus laid. It sprang from the medieval idea that all legitimate government is government according to law.
How could it be to men who read the Old Testament and the corpus juris, which are filled with evidence of legislation as a matter of historical fact?
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But all this law was already at hand, as was the customary law by which men lived in their particular national communities.
Medieval constitutionalism arose, as did Greek and Roman constitutionalism, from the struggle of an aristocracy seeking to restrain a monarchical ruler who threatened to become a tyrant. In this struggle, constitutionalism became associated with the church, which in some places and at certain times even played a leading role. The share of the bishops in the fighting preceding the issuance of Magna Charta certainly was considerable. King John's attempts to deal with this ecclesiastical opposition by enlisting the support of the pope miscarried; he misunderstood the position of the church.
Vitally interested in the restraining of governments, and anxious to retain control over certain fields of law, such as family law, the church developed the doctrine of natural law as it had come down from the Stoics, more especially Cicero, and had been incorporated in the imperial code, the Corpus Juris Civilis.
To determine whether particular laws were in keeping with the natural law —for only then could they be considered fully just laws—the church felt it ought to participate in the making of such laws as well as in the interpretation of established law and custom.
Legem constituere meant to establish the law by formal enactment. Ecclesiastics ought to participate—and fairly generally did participate—in this process.
For example, the Golden Bull, which, regulated the election of the Holy Roman emperor, was a constitutio in this classical sense. For many medieval thinkers, jurists, and philosophers, no distinct constitutional problem existed apart from the general proposition that all government should be according to and under the law.
Had not the great Aquinas treated of government just incidentally within the context of a discussion of law and justice as part of the Summa theological [See Aquinas.
But a more distinctive sense of the contrast between English and Continental practice is found in John Fortescue, who made the distinction between a regimen regale and a regimen regale et politicum the keynote of his discussion of English government. Here the word politicum appeared as representative of the Aristotelian politeia in its differentiating sense of a model government of mixed and restrained powers. As authority Fortescue cited Aquinas, thereby incidentally suggesting what has often since been overlooked or even denied, namely, that the great Scholastic was a constitutionalist.
In the Summa he clearly states that a mixed government is the best II, 1, 94, 4 and II, 1,1 ; similar statements can be found elsewhere.
This view is in accord with the later part of De regimine principum, in which Ptolemy of Lucca elaborated the views of his master, albeit with some liberty. For both Aquinas and Fortescue, it was crucial that a government be subject to legal restraints; government was best when instituted by law.
From here the road leads to English seventeenthcentury constitutionalism, but before this development is traced, it is necessary to sketch the constitutionalism embodied in conciliarism. Conciliarism is, in a sense, the application of medieval constitutionalism to the church itself. The ecclesiastical insistence upon the need for subjecting all authority to legal restraints was claimed to apply to the church. Effective participation of the lower ecclesiastical orders and even of the laity was demanded in the councils which were called upon to formulate the law.
In this discussion, the constitutional aspect became increasingly explicit. From William of Ockham to Nicholas of Cusathe idea of consent as a vital ingredient of law gained ground, and the question of how to organize the expression of such consent was faced.
Church councils appeared in analogy to feudal representative assemblies, such as the English Parliament, and their traditional participation in establishing the law was claimed to be applicable to the government of the church.
Even though the conciliar movement failed, there can be little doubt that it spread some of the key ideas of constitutionalism. Thus reinforced, constitutionalism might have triumphed throughout Europe in a broader secular form, had it not been thwarted by the countervailing arguments arising from religious dissension and civil war. For against these divisive tendencies, the ineluctable demand arose for a concentration of power in the hands of a ruler—the famous doctrine of sovereignty as first enunciated by Jean Bodin [see Bodin ].
Although this doctrine was perfected and radicalized by Thomas HobbesEngland's insularity made the demand seem less urgent [see Hobbes ]. Richard Hookerin his celebrated Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity —developed a careful elaboration of Aquinas' philosophy of law and the need for general consent, if it is to hold.
But the consensus in terms of which both Smith and Hooker wrote and argued gradually declined, and the more poignant issues of modern constitutionalism presented themselves in the course of the revolution and its aftermath which filled much of the seventeenth century. Probably the most significant and certainly the most lasting legal contribution to the modernization of medieval constitutionalism was made by Edward Coke. With all the skill of a great lawyer and an extraordinary capacity for historical learning, combined with a striking lack of historical sense, he brought medieval precedent to bear upon the issues arising between the king and Parliament or, more realistically, between Puritans and Anglicans, between old wealth and new wealth, between landed property and trading interests.
Coke, more than any other man, made Magna Charta the battle cry of those who insisted on man's rights [see Coke ]. The Petition of Rights ofwhile the first major official declaration of such rights, was still preoccupied with the rights of Englishmen, as prescriptively recognized since Magna Charta. As the revolutionary movement gained momentum after the calling of the Long Parliament inthe historic and legal guarantees were reinforced by the idea that these rights derive from the very essence of man's nature.
And while the Petition of Rights had been concerned with property rights, the right to a man's freedom of conscience—the right, that is, of freely confessing one's religious conviction—moved into the foreground.
It was at the heart of Oliver Cromwell 's outlook and was given eloquent expression in John Milton 's Areopagitica The so-called Agreement of the People proposed by Cromwell's more radical following was the first of a series of attempts toward effectively institutionalizing these rights through the protection of a constitutional system.
Cromwell's desperate efforts were accompanied by two striking theoretical efforts, each reflecting, in a sense, one horn of his dilemma. Thomas Hobbesthe philosopher, rejecting outright the idea of constitutionalism, pleaded in his Leviathan for a radical concentration of powers in the hands of the sovereign.
They must concur in making laws, and together constitute the legislative power. A third power, the magistracy, must execute the laws. Soon after Cromwell's death, English sentiment swung back to its traditional constitution and in the course of the Restoration recaptured a measure of that consensus upon which it had rested.
John Locke was, of course, the theorist of these events, who skillfully summed up and generalized English constitutional thought. His Two Treatises of Governmentalthough they antedate the Glorious Revolution by nearly a decade, have long and rightly been taken to be a justification of this proceeding; for, especially in the second treatise, Locke plainly asserts a people's right to give itself its own constitution [see Locke ].
This right, although first stated by John Miltonwas part of a congeries of rights that Locke held to be natural and universal, and epitomized in the formula of the rights of life, liberty, and property. Property was, of course, dear to the rising bourgeoisie; but in Locke's understanding, it still was very broadly construed to mean virtually the entire personal sphere of what is a man's own. Constitutional government was a government in which the crucial power to make laws was divided between king, Lords, and Commons, while the other two powers, the executive and federative, distinguished by Locke from the legislative one, were attributed to the king along with his share of the legislative power.
Only in the Act of Settlement in was the independence of the judiciary recognized, thus laying the basis for Montesquieu's interpretation of the separation of powers in more strictly functional terms. Then in carrying the story forward, he identifies revolutionary declarations and constitutionsdocuments and judicial decisions of the Confederation period and the formation of the federal Constitution.
Finally, he turns to the debates over the federal Constitution's ratification that ultimately provided mounting pressure for a federal bill of rights. While hardly presenting a straight line, the account illustrates the historical struggle to recognize and enshrine constitutional rights and principles in a constitutional order.
Prescriptive[ edit ] In contrast to describing what constitutions are, a prescriptive approach addresses what a constitution should be. As presented by the Canadian philosopher Wil Waluchowconstitutionalism embodies the idea This idea brings with it a host of vexing questions of interest not only to legal scholars, but to anyone keen to explore the legal and philosophical foundations of the state.
One recent assessment of American constitutionalism, for example, notes that the idea of constitutionalism serves to define what it is that "grants and guides the legitimate exercise of government authority".
- Difference Between Constitution and Constitutionalism
- Constitutions and Constitutionalism
Wood described this American constitutionalism as "advanced thinking" on the nature of constitutions in which the constitution was conceived to be a "sett of fundamental rules by which even the supreme power of the state shall be governed. Fundamental law empowering and limiting government[ edit ] One of the most salient features of constitutionalism is that it describes and prescribes both the source and the limits of government power.
Hamilton has captured this dual aspect by noting that constitutionalism "is the name given to the trust which men repose in the power of words engrossed on parchment to keep a government in order.
Although frequently conflated, there are crucial differences. A discussion of this difference appears in legal historian Christian G. Fritz notes that an analyst could approach the study of historic events focusing on issues that entailed "constitutional questions" and that this differs from a focus that involves "questions of constitutionalism. However, These political and constitutional controversies also posed questions of constitutionalism—how to identify the collective sovereign, what powers the sovereign possessed, and how one recognized when that sovereign acted.
Unlike constitutional questions, questions of constitutionalism could not be answered by reference to given constitutional text or even judicial opinions. Rather, they were open-ended questions drawing upon competing views Americans developed after Independence about the sovereignty of the people and the ongoing role of the people to monitor the constitutional order that rested on their sovereign authority.
Dicey in assessing Britain's unwritten constitution. Dicey noted a difference between the "conventions of the constitution" and the "law of the constitution". The "essential distinction" between the two concepts was that the law of the constitution was made up of "rules enforced or recognised by the Courts", making up "a body of 'laws' in the proper sense of that term.
Constitutional economics is a field of economics and constitutionalism and describes and analyzes the specific interrelationships between constitutional issues and the structure and functioning of the economy. Buchanan as a name for a new academic sub-discipline. Buchanan received in the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his "development of the contractual and constitutional bases for the theory of economic and political decision-making". This philosophical position is, in fact, the very subject matter of constitutional economics.