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SovereigntyThe Origin and Future of a Political and Legal Concept$
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Dieter Grimm

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231164252

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231164252.001.0001

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Sovereignty in the Constitutional State

Sovereignty in the Constitutional State

(p.33) II Sovereignty in the Constitutional State

Dieter Grimm

, Belinda Cooper
Columbia University Press

This chapter studies the relationship between sovereignty and the constitutional state. The American and French revolutions definitively established the project of modern constitutionalism, and the emergence of the constitutional state affected sovereignty. The constitutional state did not abandon sovereignty; however, one of its characteristics is that it does not recognize any supreme power. The meaning of the modern constitution is, in fact, the comprehensive regulation of the establishment and exercise of state authority as well as public authority. The regulation of public authority intended by the constitution required that none of the powers be above the law. Since law had to be made, the portion of law that constituted and regulated state power had to be attributed to a different source. Only the people were available, since any other source of legitimacy would have endangered the function of the constitution. Thus, sovereignty in the fully formed constitutional state of popular sovereignty.

Keywords:   sovereignty, constitutional state, American revolution, French revolution, constitutionalism, state authority, public authority, popular sovereignty

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