American Civic Republicanism

  • Emilios A. Christodoulidis
Part of the Law and Philosophy Library book series (LAPS, volume 35)


It is at the constitutional junction of law and politics, that a number of prominent American public lawyers have located their ‘civic republicanism’ as a theory about the empowerment of civil society. Civic republicanism is a theory that draws on a number of disciplines and integrates the insights into constitutional theory to suggest a thorough rethinking of the premises of constitutionalism. While the republicans all share the basic premise of the interrelationship I described between self, community, politics and law, they diverge in their accounts of the precise institutional vessel of the political dialogue. They disagree about where to locate the constitutional ‘home’ of the deliberative practice. One of them designates the Supreme Court as the most appropriate forum of the deliberative practice, another the Congress, while a third seeks to locate his republican politics in the ‘constitutional’ mobilisation of the citizenry at large. The initial disparity between the theorists, between elite and populist institutional solutions, has given way, more recently, to some convergence. But the problem of designating the appropriate constitutional realm of the political dialogue still remains the issue that most sharply divides civic republicans. The following sections will explore the answers they give to the problem independently. I will in each case, rehearse the basic premise only briefly and focus more extensively on the various suggested constitutional outlets of the political dialogue to explore how it is that they perform the function of ‘carrying’ the political dialogue onto legal-institutional ground.


Common Good Constitutional Theory Judicial Review Deliberative Process Civic Virtue 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emilios A. Christodoulidis
    • 1
  1. 1.The University of EdinburghScotland, UK

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