00986 - History of Political Institutions

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2020/2021

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course students will be able to: assess doctrinal opinions, legal documents and contemporary accounts; understand how some basic issues of political and institutional life have been pondered and solved in history; and understand the points of rupture or continuity in how they unfolded. Students will be familiar with the periodization of institutional history. Aware of the intrinsically political nature of every technical (= legal) solution, they will have a long-term view of categories, languages and complex concepts pertaining to the life of institutions. They will have a critical methodological approach to problem-solving via data analysis and applying the relevant models to interpreting social and institutional processes.

Course contents

The course will be dedicated to the History of Western Constitutional and will be divided into two modules, each one corresponding to 6 credits.

The aim will be to understand, through the direct reading of the most important texts of the written constitutions, the history of the jus publicus europaeum, in a time span ranging between the great constitutional revolutions of the late-eighteenth century and the age of decolonization. In particular, we will discuss the impact of the constitutions in the history of the organization of the public powers and the limits imposed upon them by the specific social organizations and by the different political objectives prevailing time by time, how constitutionalism can be defined as the historically changeable attempt to rationalize power, and in what way, beyond the specific solutions introduced, it has ended up imposing itself as a universal juridical language.

Topics of the lessons:

1st module

1. Ancient constitutionalism and its reception in the Ancien Régime. 2. The structures of the state of the Ancien Régime. 3. The constitutional revolution of the United States (1787). 4. The revolutionary constitution of France (1791). 5. The revolutionary government (1793). 6. For a divided power: the constitution of 1795. 7. The material constitution of the Napoleonic age (1800-1814). 8. Mediterranean constitutionalism (1812-1814). 9. The constitution of the French Restoration (1814). 10. From Cadiz to Italia (1812-1821). 11. The July monarchy and the bourgeois constitution (1831). 12. Early-nineteenth century German constitutionalism. 13. The constitutions of 1848: Italia. 14. The constitutions of 1848: Frankfurt. 15. The constitutions of 1848: France.

2nd module

16. From the constitutions to the State. 17. The forms of government of the Europe of the belle époque . 18. Social liberalism and administrative state: France. 19. Social liberalism and organizational polycentrism: England. 20. The constitutionalism of the Soviet Union. 21. The constitution of the Weimar Republic (1919). 22. The constitution of the Republic of Austria (1920). 23. The constitution of the Spanish Republic (1931). 24. The constitutional ideas of the Resistance. 25. The constitution of the 4th French Republic (1946). 26. The constitution of the Italian republic (1948). 27. The constitution of the Republic of Bonn (1949). 28. The constitution imposed upon the vanquished: Japan (1947). 29. The constitution of the peaceful transformation: India (1947). 30. The Commonwealth and federalism.


Exam texts for the non-attending students (12 credits):

1) M. Fioravanti, Costituzione , il Mulino, Bologna, 1999;

2) Storia delle istituzioni politiche. Dall'Antico regime all'era globale, edited by M. Meriggi e L. Tedoldi, Roma, Carocci, 2014

3) Lo stato moderno in Europa. Istituzioni e diritto, a cura di M. Fioravanti, Roma-Bari, Laterza (various editions)

4) One text chosen from the following: G. Abbattista, La rivoluzione americana, Roma-Bari, Laterza, 2009; R. Martucci, L'ossessione costituente. Forma di governo e costituzione nella Rivoluzione francese (1789-1799) , il Mulino, Bologna, 2001; La rivoluzione haitiana. Scritti politici e giuridici (1789-1815), a cura di L. Ravano, Verona, Ombre corte, 2020;  L. Scucimarra, La sciabola di Sieyès: le giornate di brumaio e la genesi del regime bonapartista, Bologna, il Mulino, 2002; M. Meriggi, Gli Stati italiani prima dell'Unità. Una storia istituzionale , il Mulino, Bologna, 2002; C. R. Ricotti, Il costituzionalismo britannico nel Mediterraneo (1794-1818) , Giuffrè, Milano, 2005; M. Fioravanti, Giuristi e costituzione politica nell'Ottocento tedesco , Giuffrè, Milano, 1979; L. Lacchè, La Libertà che guida il popolo. Le Tre Gloriose Giornate del luglio 1830 e le "Chartes" nel costituzionalismo francese , il Mulino, Bologna, 2002; A. Chiavistelli, Dallo Stato alla nazione. Costituzione e sfera pubblica in Toscana dal 1814 al 1849 , Carocci, Roma, 2006; P.Colombo, "Con lealtà di re e con affetto di padre". Torino, 4 febbraio 1848: la concessione dello Statuto albertino , il Mulino, Bologna, 2003.

5) One text chosen from the following: M. Fioravanti, Stato e costituzione. Materiali per la storia delle dottrine costituzionali , Giappichelli, Torino, 1993; G. Gozzi, Democrazia e diritti. Germania: dallo Stato di diritto alla democrazia costituzionale , Laterza, Bari, 1999; G. Bongiovanni, Reine Rechtslehre e dottrina giuridica dello Stato. Hans Kelsen e la costituzione austrica del 1920 , Giuffrè, Milano, 1998; S. Guerrieri, Due costituenti e tre referendum: la nascita della quarta Repubblica francese , F. Angeli, Milano, 1998; M. Fioravanti, Costituzione e popolo sovrano. La costituzione italiana nella storia del costituzionalismo europeo , il Mulino, Bologna, 1998; F. Lanchester, Le costituzioni tedesche da Francoforte a Bonn: introduzione e testi , Giuffrè, Milano, 2002; D.M. Hellegers, We, the Japanese people. World War II and the origin of the Japanese constitution , Stanford UP, Stanford, 2002; B.N. Rau,India's contitution in the making , Orient Longmans, Bombay, 1960.

The attending students (12 credits) are strongly advised, apart from studying the texts indicated in n. 1) and 2) to perform two orals exercises, respectively dedicated to a constitutional text of the nineteenth century and one of the twentieth century, with relevant bibliography agreed upon with the lecturer.

The students who are behind with their exams who must take the 10-credit exam will read the texts listed at points 1), 2), 4), 5).

The students behind with their exams who must take the 6-credit exam must read the texts listed at points 1), 2) 4) or 5).

Teaching methods

The lessons will mostly take place with the reading and commentary of the constitutional texts and the relevant preparatory materials, so as to give each student the chance to familiarize with the juridical-normative language.

Assessment methods

The assessment will concentrate particularly on the skill displayed by the student in handling the sources and material in the exam bibliography and his ability to find and use information and examples to illustrate and correlate the various themes and problems addressed in the course.

The assessment will thus examine the student's:

- factual knowledge of the subject;

- ability to summarise and analyse themes and concepts;

- familiarity with the terminology associated with the subject and his ability to use it effectively.

Top marks will be awarded to a student displaying an overall understanding of the topics discussed during the lectures, combined with a critical approach to the material and a confident and effective use of the appropriate terminology.

Average marks will be awarded to a student who has memorized the main points of the material and is able to summarise them satisfactorily and provide an effective critical commentary, while failing to display a complete command of the appropriate terminology.

A student will be deemed to have failed the exam if he displays significant errors in his understanding and failure to grasp the overall outlines of the subject, together with a poor command of the appropriate terminology

Teaching tools

Each time one or more constitutional texts are analyzed, depending on the topics of the lectures listed in the syllabus, the communal reading of the text will be performed, taking it from the website http://www.dircost.unito.it/cs/cs_index.shtml

Office hours

See the website of Francesca Sofia