Constitutionalism

Discipline: Political Science

Theory of government limited by law.

Constitutions, either in the form of written law or established convention, can provide a framework within which government should operate, and by which it can be prevented from despotic conduct or the infringement of rights.

The theory of constitutionalism has much in common with that of the rule of law.

It is an optimistic theory, and has been criticized for failing to examine the realities of political power beneath legal or constitutional surfaces.

Source:
David Miller, ed., The Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Political Thought (Oxford, 1987)

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