American Constitutionalism Heard Round the World, 1776-1989A Global Perspective

American Constitutionalism Heard Round the World, 1776-1989A Global Perspective

George Athan Billias

Print publication date: 2016

ISBN: 9780814791073

Publisher: NYU Press

Abstract

Constitutionalism represents America's greatest gift to human freedom, yet its story remains largely untold. For over 200 years, its ideals, ideas, and institutions influenced different peoples in different lands at different times. American constitutionalism and the revolutionary republican documents on which it is based affected countless countries by helping them develop their own constitutional democracies. Western constitutionalism—of which America was a part along with Britain and France—reached a major turning point in global history in 1989, when the forces of democracy exceeded the forces of autocracy for the first time. This book traces the spread of American constitutionalism—from Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean region, to Asia and Africa—beginning chronologically with the American Revolution and the fateful “shot heard round the world” and ending with the conclusion of the Cold War in 1989. The American model contributed significantly by spearheading the drive to greater democracy throughout the Western world, and this book tells a story that will change the way readers view the important role American constitutionalism played during this era.