Constitutional Movements: An Example from China, 1894-1924

29 Pages Posted: 30 Oct 2009

Date Written: October 29, 2009


From 1894 to 1949 Chinese reformers, radicals, political theorists and party leaders pushed for the creation of a constitutional order in China. To that end, they borrowed (and often modified) constitutional principles, doctrines, and even history from other countries, using those tools first to craft different models of constitutions and then to persuade others to support their goals. The result was a complex, and international, exchange, one that involved the development of ideas and the deployment of social movements. My current research explores that history with the intent of tracing out the intellectual and social exchanges that occurred while the Chinese around the world debated their constitutional order. As I unpack China's rich constitutional history, I hope to add to our general understanding of how constitutional movements arise and function. This paper is an initial sketch of the project and my methodology.

Keywords: constitutional history, constitutional borrowing, social movements, social networks, transnationalism

Suggested Citation

Dale, Elizabeth, Constitutional Movements: An Example from China, 1894-1924 (October 29, 2009). University of Florida Levin College of Law Research Paper No. 2009-38, Available at SSRN: or

Elizabeth Dale (Contact Author)

Levin College of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 117625
Gainesville, FL 32611-7625
United States

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