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government institutions, history, constitutional design, rights regimes


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.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Constitutional law, Public institutions, History