Crafting Constitutional Democracies: The Politics of Institutional Design
- Publish Date: 2006-05-12
- Binding: Paperback
- Author: Edward Schneier
By examining the institutions of government through the lens of constitution-making, Crafting Constitutional Democracies provides a broad and insightful introduction to comparative politics. Drawn from a series of lectures given in Jakarta, Indonesia, on the drafting of the U.S. constitution, the book illustrates the problems faced by generations of founders, through numerous historic and contemporary examples. Both Indonesia in 1999 and the United States in 1789 faced the same basic issue: how to construct a central government for a large and diverse nation that allowed the majority of the people to govern themselves without intruding on the rights of minorities. What kinds of institutions make for 'good government'? What factors need to be considered in designing a government? Author Edward Schneier explores these questions through a rich variety of examples from both recent and historic transitions to democracy. Drawing frequently upon the arguments of the American Federalist Papers and more contemporary theories of democratization, Crafting Constitutional Democracies lucidly explores the key questions of how and why democracies succeed and fail. A concluding chapter on constitutional change and decline raises provocative and important questions about the lessons that citizens of the world's older democracies might take from the struggles of the new.