Latin America possesses an enormously rich constitutional history, one that has only recently become the subject of scholarly inquiry. As noted legal theorist Roberto Gargarella contends, contemporary constitutional and political theory has a great deal to learn from this history, as Latin American constitutionalism has endured unique challenges that have not appeared in other regions. Such challenges include the emergence of egalitarian constitutions in inegalitarian contexts; deliberation over the value of "importing" foreign legal instruments; a long-standing exercise of socio-economic rights; issues of multiculturalism and indigenous rights; and substantial experience with "unbalanced" versions of the system of "checks and balances." Moreover, Latin American nations have endured numerous and frequent constitutional changes over the past two centuries.
In this landmark book, Gargarella provides a broadly comparative history of Latin American constitutionalism, informed by constitutional theory. He organizes the book across four major historical periods of Latin American legal history, infusing this history with a discussion of the ideas of thinkers including Juan Bautista Alberdi, Francisco Bilbao, Simón Bolívar; Juan Egaña, José González Vigil, Victorino Lastarria, Juan Carlos Mariátegui, Juan Montalvo, José María Mora, Mariano Otero, Manuel Murillo Toro, José María Samper and Domingo Sarmiento. Written by one of the leading scholars in the field, this book is truly a milestone in the study of Latin American constitutionalism.
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