Modern Constitutionalism: A Chain of Revolutions Always in Progress

  • Jean-Louis HalpérinEmail author
Part of the Studies in the History of Law and Justice book series (SHLJ, volume 1)


The writing up of constitutions during the American and the French revolutions is a complex phenomenon when one considers their legal impact. At first glance, constitutions have quickly been considered as legal (and fundamental) norms in America, whereas they remain only political mechanisms in France. This chapter considers the early development of American constitutionalism and judicial review compared with the difficult (but non un-existent) process for implementing constitutional law in Europe (from France, then from Austria according the model of a Constitutional Court). The “constitutional” revolution can also be associated with the emergence of specialized jurists and, more recently, of a “human rights” forum. The constitutional revolution has thus two characters that are distinct from the previous revolutions: it has known different stages from the eighteenth century and various successes according the concerned countries.


Legal Order Judicial Review Constitutional Amendment Supreme Court Constitutional Court 
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social SciencesEcole Normale SupérieureParisFrance

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