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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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Fifth Echo

Fifth Echo

World War I to World War II, 1919–1945

(p.250) 9 Fifth Echo
American Constitutionalism Heard Round the World, 1776-1989

George Athan Billias

NYU Press

This chapter focuses on the fifth “echo” of American constitutionalism: 1919–1945, which spans the periods of both World War I and World War II. After World War I, democracy spread across Europe. Monarchies were transformed into republics, and hopes ran high for peace in the coming new world order. The bill of rights tradition that American constitutionalism had established along with Britain and France also made great strides elsewhere during this time. Many new nation-states emerged from the breakup of European empires. However, these were soon overwhelmed by the new totalitarian ideologies—communism, fascism, and Nazism. This chapter examines the influence of American constitutionalism on European constitutions during the fifth echo, with particular emphasis on those of Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary, Finland, and the three Baltic countries of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. It also assesses the state of democracy and American constitutionalism in the post-World War I period in Europe, and also looks at democratic and nondemocratic trends in Latin America.

Keywords:   democracy, American constitutionalism, World War I, World War II, Europe, European constitutions, Latin America, Germany, Austria, Baltic countries

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