Constitutional Political Economy

, Volume 29, Issue 2, pp 137–170 | Cite as

A short history of constitutional liberalism in America

  • Roger D. CongletonEmail author
Original Paper


American liberalism emerged before the most famous European liberal intellectuals put their pens to paper. It was grounded partly on liberal ideas that were in the air before those works were written, but mostly on the attractive communities generated by liberal institutions and policies. American liberalism is empirically, rather than theoretically, grounded. This paper uses excerpts from colonial and constitutional documents to demonstrate the long history of liberal institutions in the territories that became the United States. American liberalism is an evolutionary rather than an intellectual phenomenon.


Liberalism American constitutional history Colonialism Rule of law Constitutional political economy 

JEL Classification

B00 H1 H11 F54 D83 D71 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.West Virginia UniversityMorgantownUSA

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