Handbook on Global Constitutionalism
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Handbook on Global Constitutionalism

Edited by Anthony F. Lang and Antje Wiener

This Handbook introduces scholars and students to the history, philosophy, and evidence of global constitutionalism. Contributors provide their insights from law, politics, international relations, philosophy, and history, drawing on diverse frameworks and empirical data sets. Across them all, however, is a recognition that the international order cannot be understood without an understanding of constitutional theory. The Handbook will define this field of inquiry for the next generation by bringing together some of the leading contemporary scholars.
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Chapter 3: Medieval constitutionalism

Francis Oakley


Only after the age-old pattern of sacral kingship had been frontally challenged by church reformers in the eleventh century was it possible for the lineaments of constitutionalist forms to emerge in Western Europe during the Middle Ages. After that, it was to be between the anvil of competing governmental structures, temporal and spiritual, that Western political freedoms were to be formed. Central to that process were the subjection of kings to the rule of law, both civil and natural, the contractual nature of the feudal relationship between lord and vassal which helped promote that subjection, and the subsequent development of representative assemblies which introduced the further possibility of eliciting and requiring a broader measure of quasi-popular consent to governmental policies even in large territorial states and in the transnational Church itself.

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