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Fugitive DemocracyAnd Other Essays$
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Sheldon S. Wolin and Nicholas Xenos

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780691133645

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691133645.001.0001

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Constitutional Order, Revolutionary Violence, and Modern Power

Constitutional Order, Revolutionary Violence, and Modern Power

An Essay of Juxtapositions

Chapter:
(p.421) Chapter 24 Constitutional Order, Revolutionary Violence, and Modern Power
Source:
Fugitive Democracy
Author(s):

Sheldon S. Wolin

, Nicholas Xenos
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691133645.003.0024

In 1988 and 1989, centenary celebrations were held in the United States, Great Britain, and France that linked together constitutions and revolutions. Americans observed the two hundredth anniversary of the ratification of their constitution; Britons the tercentenary of the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and of the constitutional settlement that followed; and for the French the bicentennial of their revolution of 1789. This chapter asks, is it an accident of centennial celebrations, themselves an accident of calendars, that found 1988–1989 a moment for celebrating the anniversaries of two conceptual opposites, the ratification of the American Constitution and the outbreak of the French Revolution? It suggests that unless revolutions produce “genuine” constitutions there is no reason to celebrate them and perhaps good reasons not to.

Keywords:   constitution, revolution, political theory, centennial celebrations

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