Dimitris-Tsatsos-Institut für europäische Verfassungswissenschaften

Conception of the Handbook and the Editorial Project

The sections on this site: 1. Target | 2. Editors and Co-operators | 3. Promoters | 4. Methodical Concept | 5. Structure of Contents | 6. Scope

1. Target

The “Handbook of European Constitutional History in the 19th Century” and the accompanying CD-Rom “Sources to European Constitutional History in the 19th Century” are pursuing the edition, analysis, interpretation and the systematically comparing presentation of constitutional and legislative acts of the European countries during the “long 19th century” (ca. 1780-1920) which are significant in national and European respects. The combination of various methodical approaches and ways of depiction, which is characteristic for the project, enhances the accentuation of internationally spreading perspectives as well as the development and usage of an empirical concept of constitution. The creation of the handbook is connected with the expectation to accompany the common perception of the 19th century as an era of national fragmentation with the facts of European connecting lines that exist parallel and contemporaneously, and thus to go on from scientific approaches that were developed by Otto Hintze with his concept of a “General Comparative Constitutional History”.

The handbook- and editorial project thus combines documentation and depiction. With its outlining and conception, it ensures an extensive comparability of the constitutional development on the European continent (including the Ottoman Empire), and it is orientated according to an expanded and empirical concept of constitution which takes social structures into account as well as it includes the confrontation of constitutional standards and constitutional realities in its depiction of the national and political development.

2. Editors and Co-operators in the Project

The central handling and editing for the entire project are subordinated to Prof. Dr. Peter Brandt (FernUniversität in Hagen), Dr. Werner Daum (FernUniversität in Hagen), Dr. Martin Kirsch (Berlin) [External Link] und Apl.-Prof. Dr. Arthur Schlegelmilch (FernUniversität in Hagen). The circle of co-operators consists, from volume to volume, of 30-40 scientists from various European countries coming from diverse branches of study.

3. Promoters

The project is being promoted by the centre of historical research of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung [External Link], Bonn and published by Verlag J.H.W. Dietz Nachf. [External Link], Bonn.

4. Methodical Concept

The project is orientated according to an extended concept of constitution which is supposed to allow the integration of history of social structures and of history of the political/national development and thus render possible the confrontation of constitutional standards and constitutional realities. Therefore it is not based on a normative concept of constitution which is orientated according to today’s legal terms. Instead the general legal and political conditions of national rule are being focussed on. This comprehensive concept of constitution, which is binding upon every author of the handbook, has been made operational by defined criteria and is not only suitable for the analysis of single constitutions and interpretation of national constitutional developments. It also provides a comparative look at the entire European constitutional development as well as it makes constitutional and historical processes of transfer between various countries transparent, as required by the latest scientific investigations.

5. Structure of Contents

The handbook and the CD-ROM-edition are structured according to a system which investigates the national constitutionality of the individual European countries on the basis of 12 constitutional fields:

  • Chapter 1:
    General description of the country
  • Chapter 2:
    Constitutional Structure of the Central National Level
  • Chapter 3:
    The Right to Vote
  • Chapter 4:
    Fundamental Rights
  • Chapter 5:
    Administration
  • Chapter 6:
    Justice
  • Chapter 7:
    Military
  • Chapter 8:
    Constitutional Culture
  • Chapter 9:
    Church
  • Chapter 10:
    Educational System
  • Chapter 11:
    Finances
  • Chapter 12:
    Economic and Social Legislation / Public Welfare

6. Scope

The entire project is chronologically structured into four periods of time, which corresponds to four volumes of the handbook with approximately 800-1300 pages each:

  • Volume 1: Around 1800
  • Volume 2: 1815-1847
  • Volume 3: 1848-1870
  • Volume 4: Around 1900

The division of the European constitutional history into time periods has the advantage of a direct comparative approach within the individual time frame that is to be depicted. Each volume can be used individually whereas the whole edition provides a comprehensive survey of the European constitutional movement in the 19th century.

Each volume of the handbook is being accompanied by a CD-ROM-edition which contains every constitutional text of a certain period as well as other important texts with relevance for constitutional history (about 1.000 sources per volume with a dimension of about 10.000 print pages). These texts will be edited in the original language and partly be supplemented with German translations. The majority of the texts are original sources that were so far only accessible in old editions or in ones to which access was hardly possible at all.

The CD-ROM-edition enables the user to recall texts and individual text passages and consider them comparatively, either in their complete context or analizing them in respect of user-defined notions (full-text search) or according to an corresponding Subject catalogue with 134 search categories (keywords).

DTIEV | 18.12.2014
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