Chapter

Constituent Power Subverted: From English Constitutional Argument to British Constitutional Practice

Martin Loughlin

in The Paradox of Constitutionalism

Published in print August 2008 | ISBN: 9780199552207
Published online January 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191709654 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199552207.003.0003
 Constituent Power Subverted: From English Constitutional Argument to British Constitutional Practice

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Setting mid-17th century English constitutional conflicts in the context of disputes over the ideas of the body politic, the crown and divine right, this chapter argues that in the revolutionary discourse of the 1640s, we see not only the expression of popular sovereignty but also the drawing of a distinction between the constituting power of the people and the constituted power of government. It proposes that these more radical claims were suppressed, initially to stabilize the republican revolution but later to bolster the principle of (revived) monarchical and aristocratic rule. It is through the consequent absence of a concept of constituent power that we are best able to appreciate the peculiar character of the modern British constitution.

Keywords: seventeenth century constitutional conflict; popular sovereignty; republicanism; monarchy; aristocratic rule; British constitution

Chapter.  11367 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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