Benjamin Constant and Constitutionalism

K. Steven Vincent


Benjamin Constant (1767-1830) was one of the most famous liberal politicians and writers of the Bourbon Restoration in France (1814-1830). In 1814 and 1815, he wrote a number of notable works on constitutionalism. This article places these writings in their historical context, and summarizes Constant’s liberal pluralist constitutional philosophy. Constant insisted on the protection of rights, on a representative system of politics based on popular sovereignty, on the separation and balance of power, and on religious toleration. He worried about the destabilizing effects of “fanaticism,” and argued that a liberal constitutional regime would not endure unless citizens embraced a politics that permitted contestation, negotiation, and compromise.

Fecha de envío / Submission Date: 5/12/2014
Fecha de aceptación / Acceptance Date: 24/05/2015

Palabras clave

Benjamin Constant, constitutionalism, liberalism, Boubon Restoration

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