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Constitutional Design in the Ancient World

34 Pages Posted: 25 Jan 2011 Last revised: 24 Mar 2011

Adriaan Lanni

Harvard Law School

Adrian Vermeule

Harvard Law School

Date Written: January 24, 2011

Abstract

This paper identifies two distinctive features of ancient constitutional design that have largely disappeared from the modern world: constitution-making by single individuals and constitution-making by foreigners. We consider the virtues and vices of these features, and argue that under plausible conditions single founders and outsider founders offer advantages over constitution-making by representative bodies of citizens, even in the modern world. We also discuss the implications of adding single founders and outsider founders to the constitutional toolkit by describing how constitutional legitimacy would work, and how constitutional interpretation would be conducted, under constitutions that display either or both of the distinctive features of ancient constitutional design.

Suggested Citation

Lanni, Adriaan and Vermeule, Adrian, Constitutional Design in the Ancient World (January 24, 2011). Stanford Law Review, Forthcoming; Harvard Public Law Working Paper No. 11-06. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1747087

Adriaan Lanni

Harvard Law School ( email )

1575 Massachusetts
Hauser 406
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Adrian Vermeule (Contact Author)

Harvard Law School ( email )

1525 Massachusetts
Griswold 500
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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