Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Horowitz on The Federalist Abroad in the World

Donald Horowitz, Duke, takes up a great topic, The Federalist Abroad in the World. There remains much important work to do on placing U.S. legal history in a global context. We can explore transnational dimensions of American legal ideas, American legal actors and the transnational reach of the state itself. Horowitz takes up an important example of the reach of the American founding.

The American example has affected other political struggles in various ways. The impact of American history on the politics, or at least the political rhetoric, of others was evident in the late 1950s, when Kenya independence leader Tom Mboya came to the United States and talked about George Washington. Kenyans drew inspiration from Americans' successful battle against the British Empire. More on that here.

Here's Horowitz's abstract:
This paper traces the influence of The Federalist Papers on five continents. From 1787 to roughly 1850, The Federalist was widely read and highly influential, especially in Europe and Latin America. Federalist justifications for federalism as a solution to the problem of creating a continental republic or to provincial rivalries were widely accepted. So, too, was the presidency, at least in Latin America, and that region adopted judicial review later in the nineteenth century. Presidentialism and judicial review fared less well in Western Europe. Following World War II, judicial review slowly became part of the standard equipment of new and old democracies alike, for reasons the paper attempts to specify. On the other hand, federalism is relatively rarely adopted, despite its potential for the alleviation of ethnic divisions. In general, the rights consciousness associated with the Anti-Federalists has prevailed over Federalist structural engineering in the contemporary period, even though many constitutional design scholars and advisors counsel constitution-makers to consider Madisonian approaches. In the United States, by contrast, Federalist ideas are firmly embedded in public consciousness but are increasingly rejected by some scholars, who see them as insufficiently majoritarian or excessively cumbersome to accomplish the work of government.

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