Oxford Handbook of Law and Politics, 2008

Posted: 3 Dec 2008

See all articles by Keith E. Whittington

Keith E. Whittington

Princeton University - Department of Political Science

Date Written: December 3, 2008


Constitutionalism is the constraining of government in order to better effectuate the fundamental principles of the political regime. The great constitutional scholarship of an earlier generation were primarily works of intellectual history, but after a period of some pessimism the field has been reborn in remarkable diversity. Constitutional studies flourish in normative, conceptual, and empirical modes. Although these three branches of constitutional scholarship are often isolated from one another, there is substantial room for fruitful exchange and convergence across the full range of constitutional studies. This review essay examines this full range of constitutional scholarship, the progress that has been made, and the work still to be done.

Keywords: constitutionalism, constitution, judicial review, supreme court, constitutional law, popular constitutionalism, separation of powers

Suggested Citation

Whittington, Keith E., Constitutionalism (December 3, 2008). Oxford Handbook of Law and Politics, 2008. Available at SSRN:

Keith E. Whittington (Contact Author)

Princeton University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Corwin Hall
Princeton, NJ 08544-1012
United States
609-258-3453 (Phone)
609-258-1110 (Fax)


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