Constitutionalism, the Rule of Law, and the Cold War

Joan Mahoney

in The Legal Protection of Human Rights

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780199606078
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729720 | DOI:
Constitutionalism, the Rule of Law, and the Cold War

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This chapter explores the interaction of constitutionalism, the rule of law, and politics in the context of civil liberties in Britain during the Cold War. It is fairly well known that during what is known as the McCarthy period, the United States failed to observe the rule of law, despite the written Constitution and the Bill of Rights. It is less well known that there was no comparable red scare in Britain at the time. The one area in which there were actions by the British government that could be compared to those in the United States were in the introduction of processes to determine whether members of the civil service posed a security threat and to remove any who were deemed to do so. The chapter compares the way these processes were introduced and applied to see the interaction of constitutionalism, politics, and the rule of law in Britain and the United States in the early Cold War period. It concludes that the Bill of Rights failed to contain anti-Communism in the US during the Cold War period while politics did in Britain what constitutionalism did not do in the US.

Keywords: constitutionalism; rule of law; civil liberties; the Cold War; United States; McCarthy

Chapter.  11023 words. 

Subjects: Human Rights and Immigration

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