American Constitutionalism Heard Round the World, 1776-1989: A Global Perspective

Overview

Winner of the 2010 Book Award from the New England Historical Association

American constitutionalism represents this country’s greatest gift to human freedom, yet its story remains largely untold. For over two hundred years, its ideals, ideas, and institutions influenced different peoples in different lands at different times. American constitutionalism and the revolutionary republican documents on which it is based affected countless countries by helping them develop their own ...

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American Constitutionalism Heard Round the World, 1776-1989: A Global Perspective

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Overview

Winner of the 2010 Book Award from the New England Historical Association

American constitutionalism represents this country’s greatest gift to human freedom, yet its story remains largely untold. For over two hundred years, its ideals, ideas, and institutions influenced different peoples in different lands at different times. American constitutionalism and the revolutionary republican documents on which it is based affected countless countries by helping them develop their own constitutional democracies. Western constitutionalism—of which America was a part along with Britain and France—reached a major turning point in global history in 1989, when the forces of democracy exceeded the forces of autocracy for the first time.

Historian George Athan Billias traces the spread of American constitutionalism—from Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean region, to Asia and Africa—beginning chronologically with the American Revolution and the fateful "shot heard round the world" and ending with the conclusion of the Cold War in 1989. The American model contributed significantly by spearheading the drive to greater democracy throughout the Western world, and Billias’s landmark study tells a story that will change the way readers view the important role American constitutionalism played during this era.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A monumental study that is as carefully presented as it is compelling."
-Gordon S. Wood,Alva O. Way University Professor Emeritus, Brown University

"Billias's American Constitutionalism Heard Round the World is a monumental study—broad in scope and deep in learning. It will be the standard book on the subject of the influence of American Constitution outside of the United States, not simply because of its broad coverage, but also for its thoughtful insights and suggestive interpretations. It is a marvelous book."
-Robert Middlekauff,Preston Hotchkis Professor of History, Emeritus, University of California, Berkeley

"A work on this scale is unlikely ever again to be undertaken by an individual author, let alone one with such authority and experience. American Constitutionalism Heard Round the World is a heroic endeavor whose results will be debated and plundered by generations of scholars to come, and whose impact on a wider audience may help to encourage a broader consciousness of America's more benign contributions to shaping the contemporary world."
-David Armitage,author of The Declaration of Independence: A Global History

"A monumental study that is as carefully presented as it is compelling."
-Gordon S. Wood,Alva O. Way University Professor Emeritus, Brown University

"Billias's American Constitutionalism Heard Round the World is a monumental study—broad in scope and deep in learning. It will be the standard book on the subject of the influence of American Constitution outside of the United States, not simply because of its broad coverage, but also for its thoughtful insights and suggestive interpretations. It is a marvelous book."
-Robert Middlekauff,Preston Hotchkis Professor of History, Emeritus, University of California, Berkeley

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814725177
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 12/1/2011
  • Pages: 564
  • Sales rank: 857,542
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

George Athan Billias is Jacob and Frances Hiatt Professor Emeritus of History at Clark University. His numerous books include American Constitutionalism Abroad, George Washington’s Generals and Opponents, and Elbridge Gerry: Founding Father and Republican Statesman.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Preface xi

Part I Definitions

1 Of Constitutions and Constitutionalisms 3

2 American Constitutionalism Defined: Six Seminal Documents 15

Part II Seven Echoes of American Constitutionalism: A Global Perspective

3 First Echo: Europe, 1776-1800 53

4 Second Echo: Latin America, 1811-1900 105

5 European Interlude, 1800-1848 142

6 Third Echo: European Revolutions of 1848 176

7 European Interlude, 1850-1900 and the American Civil War 201

8 Fourth Echo: American Empire 223

9 Fifth Echo: World War I to World War II, 1919-1945 250

10 Sixth Echo: American Crescendo, 1945-1974 276

11 Seventh Echo: American Constitutionalism and Democratization, 1974-1989 320

12 Global Consciousness, Then and Now 357

Appendix: A Note on the Historiography of the Influence of American Constitutionalism Abroad: 1776-1989 373

Notes 377

Index 491

About the Author 544

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 30, 2010

    Superb -- American Constitutionalism in context of the world.

    American Constitutionalism is portrayed in a way that makes the reader proud and awed of the uniqueness and global impact of the principles of American constitutionalism. It is truly our greatest gift to human freedom.
    This is a 'must-read' for anyone who has a desire or need to organize their thoughts about American Constitutionalism in a context that is not limited to cliche's and quotes. The author documents how the history of many nations has been shaped by the principles and events related to the founding of our nation. In so doing, he has effectively highlighted and isolated those principles so they can be examined afresh.
    I predict that this text will expand distribution as it is discovered by those have renewed appreciation for our founding documents: The Declaration, early state constitutions, the Federalist, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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