Constitutions

James D. Wright (editor-in-chief), International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, 2nd edition, Vol 4. Oxford: Elsevier. pp. 710–715.

Posted: 24 Apr 2015  

Kevin L. Cope

University of Virginia School of Law

Mila Versteeg

University of Virginia School of Law

Date Written: April 22, 2015

Abstract

A constitution is a set of fundamental principles, norms, and laws that govern a political or other organization. The term can refer either to a body of rules and practices that establish the elements of government and allocate government power, or to a foundational written document designed to do the same. Modern national written constitutions generally contain several key elements, including a bill of rights, a division of powers between government entities, and a claim to supremacy over other sources of internal law. The primary functions of constitutions may include intra-government coordination, rule precommitment, solidifying power, articulating national identity, and signaling to international audiences.

Keywords: Constitutions, Delegation of Power: Agency Theory; Democratic Theory; Political Efficacy; Governments; Institutionalism; Theory of State Formation

Suggested Citation

Cope, Kevin L. and Versteeg, Mila, Constitutions (April 22, 2015). James D. Wright (editor-in-chief), International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, 2nd edition, Vol 4. Oxford: Elsevier. pp. 710–715.. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2597575

Kevin L. Cope (Contact Author)

University of Virginia School of Law ( email )

580 Massie Road
WB302E
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.kevinlcope.com

Mila Versteeg

University of Virginia School of Law ( email )

580 Massie Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
128