Crisis and Constitutionalism: Roman Political Thought from the Fall of the Republic to the Age of Revolution

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9780199950928: Crisis and Constitutionalism: Roman Political Thought from the Fall of the Republic to the Age of Revolution

Crisis and Constitutionalism argues that the late Roman Republic saw, for the first time in the history of political thought, the development of a normative concept of constitution--the concept of a set of constitutional norms designed to guarantee and achieve certain interests of the individual. Benjamin Straumann first explores how a Roman concept of constitution emerged out of the crisis and fall of the Roman Republic. The increasing use of emergency measures and extraordinary powers in the late Republic provoked Cicero and some of his contemporaries to turn a hitherto implicit, inchoate constitutionalism into explicit constitutional argument and theory. The crisis of the Republic thus brought about a powerful constitutionalism and convinced Cicero to articulate the norms and rights that would provide its substance; this typically Roman constitutional theory is described in the second part of the study. Straumann then discusses the reception of Roman constitutional thought up to the late eighteenth century and the American Founding, which gave rise to a new, constitutional republicanism. This tradition was characterized by a keen interest in the Roman Republic's decline and fall, and an insistence on the limits of virtue. The crisis of the Republic was interpreted as a constitutional crisis, and the only remedy to escape the Republic's fate--military despotism--was thought to lie, not in republican virtue, but in Roman constitutionalism. By tracing Roman constitutional thought from antiquity to the modern era, this unique study makes a substantial contribution to our understanding of Roman political thought and its reception.

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About the Author:


Benjamin Straumann is Alberico Gentili Fellow at New York University School of Law and the author of Roman Law in the State of Nature. He is also a co-editor of the book series, The History and Theory of International Law.

Review:


"learned, original, ambitious and important" --Alexander Yakobson, The Ancient History Bulletin


"The case for constitutional thought in Rome is a tricky one to make, but for all the pitfalls it is worth making. The change Rome underwent between the birth of Cicero and the death of Augustus was profound and irrevocable, and the question of whether the republic fell or was pushed to its death remains a perennial favorite at the end of surveys of republican history, and for good reason...this book articulates much evidence pertinent to this complicated question, and offers a useful terminology with which to describe its components. Scholars looking for a selective survey of constitutional thought in classical and early modern Europe will likewise find much of value in it...the timing of Straumann's intervention could hardly have been better...Crisis and Constitutionalism could refer to a remarkably wide range of developments across the globe, developments that attest to the continued relevance of Roman political thought today." --Ayelet Haimson Lushkov, Bryn Mawr Classical Review


"...it does not simply add to this recent renaissance. Instead, it fulfills it: It shows that the Romans were decidedly different from the Greeks, that this difference gives normative weight to the Romans, and that the Romans should be of far greater interest to political
theorists than they have been for the last 100 years of largely Greek focused scholarship." --Daniel J. Kapust, Political Theory


"Why was Rome so important to political theorists beginning with Cicero right through to the American Founders? Because, Straumann insists, it was principally not traditional Roman virtue that inspired them, but a Republican constitutional order...book with a scope so admirably broad in its historical sweep has to depend on its author's command of a formidable number of primary texts and the contemporaneous contexts in which they were written, as well as of a vast body of pertinent scholarship. Straumann's range of reference is indeed impressive...Straumann's principal achievement in the book will prove to be his overall contribution in opening up a big question about what later generations really took to be so important about the Roman Republic. Crisis and Constitutionalism brings much learning and intelligence to that project. There can be few scholars interested in the theme who will not find stimulus and illumination in it." --Malcolm Schofield, American Historical Review


"It is very rare to find someone talking about Ciceronian theory actually looking at historical events and Ciceronian speeches. It is a pleasure to have Cicero taken seriously as a political thinker without incessant nods to Greek models, and yet Straumann's dissection of Greek political theory... is very enjoyable. And it is welcome to see constitutionalism making a return to Roman history. Straumann twice quotes Syme's sneer that the Roman constitution was "a screen and a sham" (The Roman Revolution [Oxford 1939] 15); he might also have quoted Syme's dismissal of constitutional interpretation: "What is commonly called the 'Rechtsfrage,' and interminably discussed, depends upon a 'Machtfrage'" (48n.). Straumann is instead a reader of Mommsen although clearly rejecting the great man's denigration of Cicero. This is an outstanding book: learned, intelligent, careful, and ambitious. I have learned a great deal from it." --James E. G. Zetzel, Classical World


"During the several months during which I slowly and carefully read (and briefly summarized for myself) Straumann's work, political events in both my country and in the approach to the US Presidential elections were illuminated for me by what I was learning from Straumann's lucid exposition of what a constitution is and what it does, and what happens when it is not adhered to...His background as both lawyer and educator shows in his meticulous legal argumentation and his carefully didactic reiteration of key points in that argument, which make for easy navigation by a less informed readership...it has been a pleasure for this reader metaphorically to sit at the feet of a master of constitutional studies." --Jo-Marie Claassen, CJ-Online


"However, the wider implications of Straumann's original, beautifully crafted and exceptionally erudite exploration of Roman political thought are, I think, nicely brought out by considering how an argument about classical thought and institutions may bear on our contemporary concerns and debates. In particular, Straumann brings to the surface an idea of political community as a "jural" community, which he had explored in his first, equally impressive book, which dealt with the natural law theory of Hugo Grotius (1583-1645)." --David Dyzenhaus, New Rambler


"With an impressive and wide-ranging triple grip on the ancient sources, early modern reception, and much more recent scholarship, Benjamin Straumann has lucidly reconstructed for us the Roman debate about emergency powers--above all concerning the dictatorship, extraordinary commands, and the question of limits to the citizen's right of appeal--in order to show how the long tradition of political reflection on the fall of the Republic, which stretches back to Cicero himself, eventually came to animate a great deal of modern constitutionalism." --Christopher Brooke, University of Cambridge


"For Straumann, the constitution was at the heart of the crisis of the late Roman Republic, and this was strongly reflected in later political theory. This novel and adventurous thesis mounts a refreshing challenge to current orthodoxies, and will provoke constructive debate among historians and political theorists alike." --Peter Garnsey, University of Cambridge


"Crisis and Constitutionalism is a brilliantly original and erudite argument in favor of the distinctiveness and long-term importance of Roman constitutional thought from Cicero to the American Founders, which demonstrates just how much Western political and legal thought, on both sides of the Atlantic, has owed, and still owes, to ancient Rome. It is controversial, highly compelling, and of very real contemporary significance." --Anthony Pagden, author of The Enlightenment--And Why it Still Matters


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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2016. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Crisis and Constitutionalism argues that the late Roman Republic saw, for the first time in the history of political thought, the development of a normative concept of constitutionthe concept of a set of constitutional norms designed to guarantee and achieve certain interests of the individual. Benjamin Straumann first explores how a Roman concept of constitution emerged out of the crisis and fall of the Roman Republic. The increasing use of emergency measures and extraordinary powers in the late Republic provoked Cicero and some of his contemporaries to turn a hitherto implicit, inchoate constitutionalism into explicit constitutional argument and theory. The crisis of the Republic thus brought about a powerful constitutionalism and convinced Cicero to articulate the norms and rights that would provide its substance; this typically Roman constitutional theory is described in the second part of the study. Straumann then discusses the reception of Roman constitutional thought up to the late eighteenth century and the American Founding, which gave rise to a new, constitutional republicanism. This tradition was characterized by a keen interest in the Roman Republics decline and fall, and an insistence on the limits of virtue. The crisis of the Republic was interpreted as a constitutional crisis, and the only remedy to escape the Republic s fate - military despotism - was thought to lie, not in republican virtue, but in Roman constitutionalism. By tracing Roman constitutional thought from antiquity to the modern era, this unique study makes a substantial contribution to our understanding of Roman political thought and its reception. Bookseller Inventory # AOP9780199950928

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Book Description Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, 2016. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Crisis and Constitutionalism argues that the late Roman Republic saw, for the first time in the history of political thought, the development of a normative concept of constitutionthe concept of a set of constitutional norms designed to guarantee and achieve certain interests of the individual. Benjamin Straumann first explores how a Roman concept of constitution emerged out of the crisis and fall of the Roman Republic. The increasing use of emergency measures and extraordinary powers in the late Republic provoked Cicero and some of his contemporaries to turn a hitherto implicit, inchoate constitutionalism into explicit constitutional argument and theory. The crisis of the Republic thus brought about a powerful constitutionalism and convinced Cicero to articulate the norms and rights that would provide its substance; this typically Roman constitutional theory is described in the second part of the study. Straumann then discusses the reception of Roman constitutional thought up to the late eighteenth century and the American Founding, which gave rise to a new, constitutional republicanism. This tradition was characterized by a keen interest in the Roman Republics decline and fall, and an insistence on the limits of virtue. The crisis of the Republic was interpreted as a constitutional crisis, and the only remedy to escape the Republic s fate - military despotism - was thought to lie, not in republican virtue, but in Roman constitutionalism. By tracing Roman constitutional thought from antiquity to the modern era, this unique study makes a substantial contribution to our understanding of Roman political thought and its reception. Bookseller Inventory # AOP9780199950928

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