Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Werhan on Democracy and Constitution Making in Athens and America
Posted by Mary L. Dudziak
Keith Werhan, Tulane, has posted a new essay, Athens and America: Constitution Making as an Act of Democratic Justice. It will appear in JUSTICE IN PARTICULAR: FESTSCHRIFT IN HONOUR OF PROFESSOR P.J. KOZYRIS (Ant. N. Sakkoulas Publishers, Athens, 2007). Here's the abstract: This essay compares the democratic quality of two constitutional moments that were central turning points in two of the most influential democracies in recorded history - the re-codification of Athenian law in 403-399 BCE and the drafting and ratification of the United States Constitution in 1787-1788. Judged in the context of their time and place, the processes of constitution making in both polities were impressively democratic. They were strikingly similar as well. This essay highlights those similarities, as well as an irony: Athens and America may have perfected a democratic process of constitution making in the service of a shared commitment to moderate their democracies.