Constitutional Archetypes

Article - Volume 95 - Issue 2

Law contends as an empirical matter that constitutional narratives of the state boil down to a combination of three basic archetypes—namely, a liberal archetype, a statist archetype, and a universalist archetype. The liberal archetype is closely identified with the common law tradition and views the state as a potentially oppressive concentration of authority in need of regulation and restraint. The statist archetype, in contrast, is associated with the civil law tradition and hails the state as the embodiment of a distinctive community and the vehicle for the achievement of the community’s goals. The universalist archetype, the newest and most prevalent of the three, is symbiotically intertwined with a post-World War II, post-Westphalian paradigm of international law that rests the legitimacy of the state upon the normative force of a global legal order that encompasses both constitutional law and international law. Law conducts an empirical analysis of constitutional preambles to demonstrate his taxonomy.

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