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The Constitution of FreedomAn Introduction to Legal Constitutionalism$
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András Sajó and Renáta Uitz

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198732174

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198732174.001.0001

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Constitutions and Constitutionalism

Constitutions and Constitutionalism

(p.12) 1 Constitutions and Constitutionalism
The Constitution of Freedom

András Sajó

Renáta Uitz

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the concept of constitutionalism and its relation to legal constitutions. It explains how the terms ‘constitution’ and ‘constitutionalism’ are used before asking what makes a document (whether an agreement or an imposed charter) into a constitution and whether constitutionalism makes government weak. It considers constitutions as a genre of political self-expression and explores how constitutional bargains allow political transition (from an authoritarian/military regime to more traditional constitutional democracy, or the other way around). It also describes the constitutional arrangements of limited government as calculated, rational reactions to fear. It explores how constitutional order is related to social organization and the function of a constitution as an instrument of pre-commitment. Finally, it explores imperfect constitutions and threats to constitutionalism.

Keywords:   constitutionalism, constitution, political self-expression, constitutional democracy, limited government, fear, constitutional order, social organization, pre-commitment

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