Crisis and Constitutionalism: Roman Political Thought from the Fall of the Republic to the Age of…

Hardcover | April 18, 2016

byBenjamin Straumann

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Crisis and Constitutionalism argues that the late Roman Republic saw, for the first time in the history of political thought, the development of a normative concept of constitution--the concept of a set of constitutional norms designed to guarantee and achieve certain interests of theindividual. Benjamin Straumann first explores how a Roman concept of constitution emerged out of the crisis and fall of the Roman Republic. The increasing use of emergency measures and extraordinary powers in the late Republic provoked Cicero and some of his contemporaries to turn a hithertoimplicit, inchoate constitutionalism into explicit constitutional argument and theory. The crisis of the Republic thus brought about a powerful constitutionalism and convinced Cicero to articulate the norms and rights that would provide its substance; this typically Roman constitutional theory is described in the second part of the study. Straumann then discusses the reception ofRoman constitutional thought up to the late eighteenth century and the American Founding, which gave rise to a new, constitutional republicanism. This tradition was characterized by a keen interest in the Roman Republic's decline and fall, and an insistence on the limits of virtue. The crisis of theRepublic was interpreted as a constitutional crisis, and the only remedy to escape the Republic's fate - military despotism - was thought to lie, not in republican virtue, but in Roman constitutionalism. By tracing Roman constitutional thought from antiquity to the modern era, this unique studymakes a substantial contribution to our understanding of Roman political thought and its reception.

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Crisis and Constitutionalism argues that the late Roman Republic saw, for the first time in the history of political thought, the development of a normative concept of constitution--the concept of a set of constitutional norms designed to guarantee and achieve certain interests of theindividual. Benjamin Straumann first explores how a...

Benjamin Straumann is Alberico Gentili Fellow at New York University School of Law and the author of Roman Law in the State of Nature. He is also a co-editor of the book series, The History and Theory of International Law.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:392 pages, 9.41 × 6.61 × 1.61 inPublished:April 18, 2016Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019995092X

ISBN - 13:9780199950928

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"Crisis and Constitutionalism is a brilliantly original and erudite argument in favor of the distinctiveness and long-term importance of Roman constitutional thought from Cicero to the American Founders, which demonstrates just how much Western political and legal thought, on both sides of theAtlantic, has owed, and still owes, to ancient Rome. It is controversial, highly compelling, and of very real contemporary significance." --Anthony Pagden, author of The Enlightenment--And Why it Still Matters