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New Left Review I/191, January-February 1992


Michael Rustin

Citizenship and Charter 88

The great written constitutions, from which the idea of constitutional reform unavoidably borrows some of its aura, have set out to redefine the fundamental relationships of citizens, society and government as these were perceived at the time of their writing. The American Declaration of Independence asserted the rights of people to a government of their own choosing, against the status of a colony. The French Declaration of the Rights of Man proclaimed the rights of individuals and nation, against the claims of rank and dynastic rule. These constitutions defined themselves against the most oppressive features of their anciens régimes, as those were then perceived.

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