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American Constitutionalism Heard Round the World, 1776-1989A Global Perspective$
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George Athan Billias

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780814791073

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814791073.001.0001

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American Constitutionalism Defined

American Constitutionalism Defined

Six Seminal Documents

Chapter:
(p.15) 2 American Constitutionalism Defined
Source:
American Constitutionalism Heard Round the World, 1776-1989
Author(s):

George Athan Billias

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9780814791073.003.0002

This chapter examines the contribution of each of the six seminal documents of American constitutionalism to nation building. It begins with a discussion of the American Declaration of Independence, which may be considered as both a global and a national document and contains a declaration of the right to independent statehood as well as of the inalienable rights of individuals. It then turns to the first state constitutions and their influence on Western constitutionalism, along with America's first federal constitution, the Articles of Confederation. It also analyzes the U.S. Constitution, with particular emphasis on three distinctive institutions that became essential components of American constitutionalism: presidentialism, federalism, and judicial review. Finally, it assesses the fundamental principles of The Federalist and the American Bill of Rights.

Keywords:   nation building, American constitutionalism, American Declaration of Independence, state constitutions, Articles of Confederation, U.S. Constitution, presidentialism, federalism, The Federalist, American Bill of Rights

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