From Words to Worlds: Exploring Constitutional Functionality

Johns Hopkins University Press (2009)
In the 225 years since the United States Constitution was first drafted, no single book has addressed the key questions of what constitutions are designed to do, how they are structured, and why they matter. In From Words to Worlds, constitutional scholar Beau Breslin corrects this glaring oversight, singling out the essential functions that a modern, written constitution must incorporate in order to serve as a nation's fundamental law. Breslin lays out and explains the basic functions of a modern constitution -- including creating a new citizenry, structuring the institutions of government, regulating conflict between layers and branches of government, and limiting the power of the sovereign. He also moves into the esoteric, discussing the theoretical concepts behind the fundamentals of written constitutions and examining in-depth some of the most important constitutional charters from around the world. In assaying how states put the structural ideas into practice, Breslin asks probing questions about why -- and if -- constitutions matter. His answer is a resounding yes. Solidly argued and engagingly written, this comparative study in constitutional thought demonstrates clearly the key components that a state's foundational document must address. In doing so, Breslin draws a critically important distinction between constitutional texts and constitutional practice
Keywords Constitutional law Philosophy  Political science
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Call number K3165.B743 2009
ISBN(s) 9780801890512   0801890519
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