The Congress of Vienna, Jean Godefroy

Young Jeffersonians and Adult Marshallians

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Mark A. Graber

1.1 (2016)

Pages 5-36


Constitutional thinkers have much to learn about constitutions in general and constitutional transitions more specifically by extending their studies to all entities that purport to be constitutional rather than confining their analyses to the constitutions of nation-states or, in order to include American states, the constitution of semi-sovereign entities. The constitutions of student councils and nation-states create and empower governing institutions. Both are higher law than any edict enacted by the governing institutions they create. The reasons why high schools rarely experience constitutional transitions as disruptive help explain why nation-states almost always experience constitutional transitions as disruptive. The constitutions of many American states in crucial respects bear a closer resemblance to the constitutions of student councils than the constitutions of nation-states. The more a state constitution resembles that of a student council, some evidence suggests, the less likely that constitutional transformations or regime changes in that state are disruptive.