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The Constitutionalism of 1821



The Constitutionalism of 1821




During the revolution, the Greeks talked about the constitution. They invoke it to substantiate their political claims or to defend their rights. They disagree on the meaning of its provisions. And they do so with impressive frequency and intensity that we would not expect from people focused on a war of liberation (and that, when they are not fighting in that war, they are fighting each other). The constitution is alive among the Greek revolutionaries. It is not invoked and interpreted only by experts, the wise, the educated, the experienced in politics. The constitution – the ‘system’, the ‘regime’, the ‘organic law’, the ‘political Constitution’ are some of the terms they use – are on everyone's lips. The self-appointed politicians, the ruthless warlords, the militant people, the inhabitants of the provinces. And not as a vague and distant idea. Everyone is invoking the constitution to support some of their claims. In other words, they formulate a constitutional argument. The most important political controversies of the revolution have a constitutional basis. The object of this study is the constitutionality of the Greek revolution during the period 1821-1827. Three – obviously interconnected, but in principle distinct – areas of the political life of the revolution are examined, that is, the way in which revolutionary power was exercised. These are, firstly, the different perceptions and worldviews that clashed and, finally, those that prevailed in terms of the organization and exercise of state power and the operation of the regime in the emerging Greek state. Secondly, the constitutional texts in which these perceptions were reflected and the state institutions established in their implementation. And, thirdly, the reality of the functioning of the state and the legal order, that is, the way in which the state institutions functioned and the constitutional rules were applied in practice.

(Edited and translated blurb from publisher’s website)

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