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The Origins Of Modern Constitutionalism
by Wormuth, Francis D.

The french revolution has not received more attention than it deserves; but in comparison disproportionately little attention has been given to the English Civil Wars of the seventeenth century. In a more modest way, these too helped fix the shape of the modern world. Specifically, most of the devices and ideas which have found expression in subsequent constitutions date from the experiments and theories of that day.

The present study undertakes to describe the introduction into political science of these devices, the most familiar of which are the separation of powers, bicameralism, the written constitution, and judicial review. No attempt is made to carry on the story in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century America, but connective tissue is supplied to form a juncture with the work of Haines, Corwin, and Wright, who have already dealt with the American materials more competently than the present writer could hope to do. Nor has any effort been made to trace the undeniable connection between English constitutionalism of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and the constitutional documents of continental Europe in the late eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries.

The author acknowledges with pleasure the assistance of numerous friends: among others, his colleague, Otto Brendel, who read and criticized the classical and medieval sections, and another colleague, the late William T. Morgan, who supplied valuable advice on eighteenth-century materials; Frederick G. Marcham and the late Carl L. Becker of Cornell University; Wallace Notestein and George L. Lam of Yale University. The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation made it possible to undertake the study.

F. D. W.


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