Francis D. Wormuth
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The Origins of Modern Constitutionalism (1949)
Francis D. Wormuth. The Origins of Modern Constitutionalism, 1949.
- The french revolution has not received more attention than it deserves; but in comparison disproportionately little attention has been given to the English Civil Wars of the seventeenth century. In a more modest way, these too helped fix the shape of the modern world. Specifically, most of the devices and ideas which have found expression in subsequent constitutions date from the experiments and theories of that day.
- The present study undertakes to describe the introduction into political science of these devices, the most familiar of which are the separation of powers, bicameralism, the written constitution, and judicial review. No attempt is made to carry on the story in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century America, but connective tissue is supplied to form a juncture with the work of Haines, Corwin, and Wright, who have already dealt with the American materials more competently than the present writer could hope to do. Nor has any effort been made to trace the undeniable connection between English constitutionalism of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and the constitutional documents of continental Europe in the late eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries.
- Matthew Wren in his Monarchy Asserted, a reply to Harrington published in 1659, reversed the relation between politics and economics. Dominion in land was a mere effect of empire, not the cause. Moreover, money was important as well as land, but the power of money was dependent upon the support of the sovereign, for without such support riches were defenseless, a mere attractive booty. Harrington was mistaken in thinking that an army necessarily belonged to the owner of the pasture, for "this beast is none of those tame ones that are kept within fences, or imprisoned in a several: when an army is once on foot, the enclosure of the law is too weak to hold it in, and property is no better than a hedge of rotten sticks." This was something less than fair to Harrington's position, but as an analysis of the relation of politics to economics it came as close to the truth as Harrington.
- p. 113
- It is doubtful that democracy could survive in a society organized on the principle of therapy rather than judgment, error rather than sin. If men are free and equal, they must be judged rather than hospitalized.
- pp. 212-213
Quotes about Francis D. Wormuth
- Theory The Greek and Roman roots of constitutionalism have been analyzed authoritatively in the works of Francis D. Wormuth and Charles H. McIlwain... Wormuth characterized constitutionalism as the auxiliary precautions that, together with a state's citizens, enable the government to control itself. Recently, a government's ability to control the actions of others within the government has been referred to as horizontal accountability. Both Wormuth and Friedrich centered their definitions of constitutionalism on the necessity of separation of powers.
- Susanna D. Wing (2008) Constructing Democracy in Transitioning Societies of Africa. p. 15
- [Francis Dunham Wormuth papers, 1920-1981]