Chapter

Liberal Democracy as a Culture of Rights: England, the United States, and Continental Europe⋆

in From Vienna to Chicago and Back

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print July 2007 | ISBN: 9780226776361
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226776385 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226776385.003.0014
Liberal Democracy as a Culture of Rights: England, the United States, and Continental Europe⋆

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This chapter addresses liberal democracy as a culture of rights. Rights were the primary concern of the most celebrated attempt to present a system of the laws of England. It briefly discusses the Republican government and federalism. The interrelated points between the rise of a paramount law above the ordinary legislator, and the constitutionalization of individual rights are explained. The pattern of the written constitution as paramount law and the practice of judicial review were to become the most characteristic features of the American culture of rights. The “culture of rights” of the United States draws its peculiar intensity and poignancy from the fact that in no other liberal democracy in the North Atlantic world, the affirmation of human rights and their denial have been as closely adjacent to each other as in the United States. Alexis de Tocqueville pointed to the decline of divine and moral notions of rights.

Keywords: liberal democracy; culture of rights; England; United States; constitutionalization; Republican government; federalism; human rights; Alexis de Tocqueville

Chapter.  14347 words. 

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