Publication detail

John R. Commons and American Constitutionalism

Author(s): Matěj Vančura ,
Type: Articles in refereed journals
Year: 2012
Number: 1
ISSN / ISBN:
Published in: Studi e Note di Economia
Publishing place: Sienna, Italy
Keywords:
JEL codes: B15, B25, B31
Suggested Citation: John R. Commons and American Constitutionalism, Studie e Note di Economia, 2012/1
Grants: John R. Commons and Karl Polanyi – significant changes in the institutions of the market economy in the inter-war years.
Abstract: Abstract:
The article analyzes the work of John R. Commons from the perspective of its place in the history of American constitutional theory. Commons’ theory is assessed as a contribution to the important process of transformation of American law between Reconstruction and the New Deal. The emphasis is placed on the roots of Commons’ political ideas in his study of the forms of organization in industry, which led him to formulate a constitutional theory based on the insights of a Progressive labor economist. Several aspects of his theory are discussed, the evolutionary approach to constitutional history, the return to English constitutional history, the central place given to the analysis of property, as well as the study of labor unions as a source of constitutional ideas. Finally, the article suggests that the chief limitation of Commons’ approach can be found in its reliance on the Realist philosophy of law and in his underestimation of the staying power of the individualist element of American
constitutionalism.
Downloadable: Published version of article

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