Influence of French Enlightenment Ideology on the Constitutionalism Formation

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Doctor of Philosophy (Law); Associate Professor at the Department of International Law at the Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia


In the present article author examines main political and legal views of Enlightenment thinkers. In this article author’s view is presented, as well as view of other philosophers and jurists on the issue. As a result of comprehensive study in the present article it has been proven that the basis of theoretical justification of constitutionalism was the idea of natural law. Popular sovereignty and equality of all citizens before the law are basic components of the concept of constitutionalism from which proceeded other provisions and principles. Author substantiates view that the key role in establishing basic tenets of constitutionalism played ideas formulated by French philosophers of the XVIII century. Education was a kind for philosophical basis of constitutional ideas. Author considers the fact that in the XVIII century foundation for two important principles of constitutionalism was laid: separation (separation) of powers and principle of checks and balances. Also there is a view that many ideas of the French Enlightenment were later largely accepted by the French legislator. Author concludes that the philosophy of the Enlightenment had a pronounced political and legal focus, had a significant impact on the further development of constitutionalism in France.


constitutionalism, constitution, Enlightenment, political and legal views, French Enlightenment, authority, state.


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