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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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European Interlude

European Interlude

1850–1900 and the American Civil War

(p.201) 7 European Interlude
American Constitutionalism Heard Round the World, 1776-1989

George Athan Billias

NYU Press

This chapter examines the influence of American constitutionalism in Europe during the period 1850–1900 and the American Civil War. From about 1860 to 1900 (with some overlap), a wave of nationalism swept Europe that resulted in the rise of a number of new nation-states. Various forms of nation building took place in Italy, Germany, and Austria-Hungary, while the national authority in America refashioned the country after the defeat of the Confederacy. Democracy and federalism, two major principles of American constitutionalism, were involved directly or indirectly in these developments. This chapter first discusses the constitution of the Confederate States of America that challenged the U.S. Constitution and goes on to analyze the impact of American Civil War on France, Italy, Germany, and other European countries. It also assesses the role of Édouard de Laboulaye in crafting a French constitution based on the American model.

Keywords:   nationalism, American constitutionalism, Europe, American Civil War, nation-states, democracy, federalism, Confederate States of America, U.S. Constitution, Édouard de Laboulaye

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