Idealizing the English Constitution

Source: Law & Liberty
by Tanguy Pasquiet-Briand

“It is commonly believed that French constitutional thought has continuously supported and enforced rationalism, political voluntarism, and written law. This is a distorting vision of the past. Indeed, French legal thinkers have invented, after the French National Revolution of 1789 and especially during the nineteenth century, an institutional model based on unwritten law and historical tradition. In parallel, this model is centered on a dualistic vision of parliamentarianism. It is still effective today, even though it has to face the progressive rise of the American influence in France, which has been strengthened by the election of the French President by direct universal suffrage since 1962. The story of this English constitutional model, as made by French legal theory, reveals a lot more about what these French legal thinkers wanted to create politically and institutionally, than about the reality of English parliamentarianism’s evolution during the nineteenth century.” (01/16/23)