Crisis and constitutionalism : Roman political thought from the fall of the Republic to the age of revolution / Benjamin Straumann.

Straumann, Benjamin, author.
New York, NY : Oxford University Press, [2016]
xii, 414 pages ; 25 cm
Constitutional history -- Philosophy.
Roman law -- Influence.
Constitutional history -- Rome.
Rome -- Politics and government -- 265-30 B.C.
Republicanism -- History.
Political science -- Philosophy.
Constitutional history.
Politics and government.
Rome (Empire).
"This unique study makes both a substantial contribution to our understanding of Roman political thought and a major contribution to the reception of Roman ideas about politics. The book demonstrates the development of a very vigorous tradition of constitutional thinking that arose in response to the crises of the late Roman Republic. The study then proceeds to reorient the discussion of the debt of early modern political thought from the familiar claims about republicanism and republican virtue to the rediscovery of this tradition of Roman constitutionalism. In the first part of the book, we learn how a Roman concept of constitution emerged out of the crisis of the Republic. The increasing use of emergency measures and extraordinary powers in the late Republic provoked the politician and thinker Cicero and some of his contemporaries to turn a hitherto implicit, inchoate constitutionalism into explicit constitutional argument and constitutional theory. The crisis of the Republic thus brought about a powerful constitutionalism and convinced Cicero to articulate the norms and rights that would provide its substance; this typically Roman constitutional theory is described in the second part of the study. The third part discusses the reception of Roman constitutional thought up to the late eighteenth century and the American Founding, which gave rise to a new, constitutional republicanism. Special attention is paid to the French political theorist Jean Bodin, who emerges as a key thinker in a tradition leading up to Montesquieu and, eventually, the Federalist and John Adams. This tradition was characterized by a keen interest in the Roman Republic's decline and fall and an insistence on the limits of virtue. The crisis of the Republic was interpreted as a constitutional crisis, and the only remedy to escape the Republic's fate--military despotism--was thought to lie, not in republican virtue, but in Roman constitutionalism"-- Provided by publisher.
"The crisis and fall of the Roman Republic spawned a tradition of political thought that sought to evade the Republic's fate--despotism. Thinkers from Cicero to Bodin, Montesquieu and the American Founders saw constitutionalism, not virtue, as the remedy. This study traces Roman constitutional thought from antiquity to the Revolutionary Era"-- Provided by publisher.
Machine generated contents note:
Table of Contents
I. Inchoate Constitutionalism in the Late Roman Republic
1. "Not Some Piece of Legislation": The Roman Concept of Constitution
2. Infinite Power? Emergencies and Extraordinary Powers in Constitutional Argument
3. "The Sole Bulwark of Liberty": Constitutional Rights at Rome
II. A Hierarchy of Laws: Roman Constitutional Thought
4. Cicero and the Legitimacy of Political Authority
5. Greek vs. Roman Constitutional Thought
III. The Limits of Virtue: The Roman Contribution to Political Thought
6. The Roman Republic as a Constitutional Order from the Principate to the Renaissance
7. Neo-Roman Interlude: Machiavelli and the Anti-Constitutional Tradition
8. Jean Bodin and the Fall of the Roman Republic
Epilogue: Constitutional Republicanism, the "Cant-Word" Virtue and the American Founding
Includes bibliographical references and indexes.
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