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Constituting Federal Sovereignty

The European Union in Comparative Context

Leslie Friedman Goldstein

Publication Year: 2001

Starting from the premise that the system of independent, sovereign, territorial states, which was the subject of political science and international relations studies in the twentieth century, has entered a transition toward something new, noted political scientist Leslie F. Goldstein examines the development of the European Union by blending comparative and historical institutionalist approaches. She argues that the most useful framework for understanding the kinds of "supra-state" formations that are increasingly apparent in the beginning of the third millennium is comparative analysis of the formative epochs of federations of the past that formed voluntarily from previously independent states. In Constituting Federal Sovereignty: The European Union in Comparative Context Goldstein identifies three significant predecessors to today's European Union: the Dutch Union of the 17th century, the United States of America from the 1787 Constitution to the Civil War, and the first half-century of the modern Swiss federation, beginning in 1848. She examines the processes by which federalization took place, what made for its success, and what contributed to its problems. She explains why resistance to federal authority, although similar in kind, varied significantly in degree in the cases examined. And she explores the crucial roles played by such factors as sovereignty-honoring elements within the institutional structure of the federation, the circumstances of its formation (revolt against distant empire versus aftermath of war among member states), and notably, the internal culture of respect for the rule of law in the member states.

Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press

Series: The Johns Hopkins Series in Constitutional Thought

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. vii

List of Tables

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pp. ix

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pp. xi-xii

One does not complete a work of this magnitude without accumulating a great many intellectual debts. I thank all of the following for their collectively massive contribution to my learning, and note that none of them is responsible for any of my remaining errors. First, the European...

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pp. 1-13

At the turn of the millennium, one must wonder whether the supposed rules of sovereignty still bind anyone. On March 24, 1999, the final tribunal of the British Law Lords rejected the (utterly traditional) claim of Augusto Pinochet that he may not legitimately be punished by either the...

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1 The Member-State Resistance Paradox: American Union (1790–1860) versus European Community (1958–1994)

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pp. 14-42

An observer of the European Union familiar with the turbulent early history of the American union confronts a paradox. (Because much of that early American history has been neglected or forgotten, this paradox is not widely noted.)1 In the United States, where the Constitution was ratified...

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2 State Resistance in the United States and the European Community: Unraveling the Puzzle

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pp. 43-66

Chapter 1 has documented a striking contrast: the American federation combined clear-cut legal supremacy of central federal authority with many decades of active resistance to this authority by individual state governments, whereas the Treaty of Rome initiated the European federal...

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3 The Seventeenth-Century Dutch Republic and the European Union

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pp. 67-98

One cannot assume that the propositions developed in the preceding chapters about the behavior of states in federal unions are generalizable without testing them against additional cases. Toward that end, this chapter and the next examine two additional examples of voluntary federal...

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4 The First Half-Century of the Modern Swiss Federation

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pp. 99-140

Numerous scholars, whether interested in the general question of what makes for a successful federation or the specific question of garnering lessons to enhance the success of the European Community, have pointed out the utility of examining the history and institutional structure of the...

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5 Conclusions: State Behavior in Suprastate Unions

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pp. 141-160

Attempts to generalize about confederations and federations as abstract categories have produced diametrically opposed conclusions, as the preceding quotations, produced within a span of fifteen years, illustrate. Murray Forsyth perceives a dominant tendency toward increased centralization...

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APPENDIX A: State Resistance to Federal Authority in the United States

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pp. 161-171

For the reader interested in the empirical foundation of the analysis of American state resistance patterns provided in Chapter 1, Appendix A simply provides a more comprehensive narrative account of state resistance to federal authority in the first several decades of U.S. history. The sources for these narratives appear in...

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APPENDIX B: European States’ Resistance to European Community Authority

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pp. 172-176

The following is a comprehensive narrative account of instances of open resistance by member states to the federal authority of the European Community) supplemented by a chronology of abjurations of such resistance. Also, as in Appendix A, this account highlights dates and names of member states. Sources for...

Abbreviations of Public Documents

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pp. 177


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pp. 179-205

Cases Cited

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pp. 207-209

Works Cited

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pp. 211-225


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pp. 227-242

E-ISBN-13: 9780801875687
E-ISBN-10: 0801875684
Print-ISBN-13: 9780801866630
Print-ISBN-10: 0801866634

Page Count: 256
Publication Year: 2001

Series Title: The Johns Hopkins Series in Constitutional Thought