Tatyana Alexeeva

Legal Sources of Francisco de Miranda Constitutional Projects

2012. No. 1. P. 18–36 [issue contents]

Alexeyeva Tatiana - Professor, Department of Theory and History of Law and of State, Law Faculty, Deputy Director of the Saint Petersburg Campus of National Research University Higher School of Economics, Candidate of Juridical Sciences. Address: 17 Promyshlennaya Str.,  Saint Petersburg, 198099, Russian Federation. E-mail: ta_al@mail.ru.

The article deals with the constitutional projects of 1798, 1801, and 1808, drawn up by Francisco de Miranda, the first Latin American constitutionalist who is officially dubbed Precursor of independence in Venezuela. The major sources for the project of 1798 were the US Constitution, English constitution and Roman public law. Having prepared Essays in 1801 and 1808 the sources were reinforced with the experience of French constitution of 1791, 1793, 1795, 1799. The influence of The unwritten Constitution of the United Kingdom was expressed in the project of 1798 as four elements were borrowed, i..e. the form of government, upper and lower chambers, judicial systems and law making. Later, the British experience was enforced by Miranda only regarding the fundamentals of legal system. The US Constitution was understood by Miranda as a model of a written constitution that is a uniform consistent act establishing the system of the highest state bodies, representing the basic law with the status of highest legal force in the legislation and requiring a special order to make amendments. The use of the North American experience was seen in 1801 and 1808 when the republican form of government and federative form of government were codified. The traces of the US Constitution are noticed in the borrowing of the separation of powers which became the principle of arranging the system of highest state bodies and distributing state functions among several levels of public power: municipal, provincial and federal. The reception of public law is seen in the implementation of the people power principle and the introduction of the ancient system of posts with the titles and competencies (emperor, dictator, censor, edile, questor). Miranda’s projects were influenced by all French constitutions contemporary to him – of 1791, 1793, 1795, 1799. This was seen in the basic principles of arranging power and its architecture (popular assemblies, pyramid structure, census voting right, unicameral legislative body, and collegial bodies of executive power).

Citation: Alekseeva Т. (2012) Iuridicheskie istochniki konstitutcionnykh proektov Fransisko de Mirandy [Legal Sources of Francisco de Miranda Constitutional Projects]. Pravo. Zhurnal Vysshei shkoly ekonomiki, no 1, pp. 18-36. (in Russian)
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