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date: 18 January 2022

p. 61. What constitution?locked

p. 61. What constitution?locked

  • Martin Loughlin


What constitution?’ asks why Britain never adopted a ‘modern’ constitution. The traditional view of constitution saw it as an inheritance, developed over time from the national spirit. The modern constitution was created at the time of the American Revolution. This was a rationalist exercise, where people agreed on the terms of government. It required a single document, antecedent to government that provided a comprehensive fundamental law. This modern type still needed to be embraced by the people. A lack of revolutionary crisis since 1688 has meant that Britain has not needed to reconstitute itself politically. Furthermore, like the common law system, British politics pragmatically favours precedent over abstract principle.

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