In the course of the development of modern constitutionalism the biennium of 1848-9 has been continuously underrated. No collection of its constitutions has ever been published, nor any systematic interpretation of them has yet been written in spite of the fact that during the revolutionary upheaval of 1848-9, more than 40 constitutions were, with at least some sort of public legitimacy, drafted in Europe and most of them enacted.
The twelve articles assembled in this volume were written to illustrate, with a focus on the organization of legislative and executive powers, some major aspects of this struggle. Besides several German, Italian, and Austro-Hungarian constitutions and those of France, Switzerland, and the Netherlands, the constitution of Wisconsin is deliberately included to document the whole range of ideas from nearly unconcealed opposition to major constitutional concessions to the rule of popular sovereignty in a democratic republic and to demonstrate the similariti
es as well as the differences between European and American constitutional concepts at the time. As a result, the years 1848-9 stand out for some major results that transformed the performance of modern constitutionalism in Europe during the second half of the nineteenth and in the twentieth centuries.
Dr. Horst Dippel, Jg. 1942, Studium der Geschichte an den Universitäten Köln, Heidelberg und Göttingen, ist Professor an der Universität Kassel.