Sieyès versus Bicameralism
The Review of Politics
University of Notre Dame
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Rubinelli, L. (2019). Sieyès versus Bicameralism. The Review of Politics, 81 (2), 255-279. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0034670518001201
Bicameralism is traditionally considered necessary to the principle of the limitation of power and, as such, a key feature of the liberal constitutional state. Yet the history of the French Revolution reveals that this has not always been the case and that bicameralism’s relationship to liberal constitutionalism is more complex than it is traditionally assumed. This article will discuss how the Abbè Sieyès, one of the founding fathers of modern constitutionalism, rejected bicameralism not only because it was contrary to the revolutionary principle of equality, but also because it did not actually succeed at limiting power. Even worst, bicameralism would threaten the constitutional system by forcing the legislative power into procedural impasses that would eventually open the way to despotism. Putting Sieyès’ claims in historical perspective, the paper aims to offer some historical nuance and insights into bicameralism’s relationship to liberal constitutionalism.
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/s0034670518001201
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/285584