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 6: Modern historical antecedents of global constitutionalism in theoretical perspective

Michel Rosenfeld


Modern constitutionalism is grounded in the ideal of the Enlightenment combining the rule of reason with equal liberty for all. From a theoretical standpoint, constitutionalism revolves around three major strands that have not been easy to reconcile: a positivist strand; a contractarian strand; and an identitarian strand. At the national level, a sufficient confluence between these three strands is achievable and the hierarchy and unity of the constitutional order guaranteed. At the global and transnational level, however, several challenges arise, as the positivist and identitarian dimensions become much more problematic. Nevertheless, with appropriate adjustments, global constitutionalism looms as entirely plausible.

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