Chapter

Constituent Power and Constitutional Change in American Constitutionalism

Stephen M. Griffin

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/9780199552207.003.0004
 Constituent Power and Constitutional Change in American Constitutionalism

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The claims of the 17th century English radicals were bequeathed to their American compatriots during the following century, and this chapter shows that it enabled the American revolutionaries to utilize the device of a constitutional convention as the authoritative voice of the people and to establish the world's first modern constitution. It considers what became of ‘the people’ once the American constitution had been established, and suggests that their influence has been felt not only through the process of formal amendment and judicial interpretation, but also informally through politics, sometimes crystallized as ‘constitutional moments’ but often on-going and incremental. The chapter concludes that while many would view constituent power as dangerous to the integrity of constitutional forms, few would deny its continuing influence in shaping American constitutionalism.

Keywords: American revolution; American constitutionalism; the people; constitutional amendment; constitutional moments

Chapter.  8076 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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