Introduction to the Constitutional History of Modern Greece

Introduction to the Constitutional History of Modern Greece

Introduction to the Constitutional History of Modern Greece

Introduction to the Constitutional History of Modern Greece

Excerpt

In one of his suggestive essays, Professor A. F. Pollard contrasts the victory of constitutional and parliamentary government in England with the contemporaneous triumph of monarchical absolutism in France and attributes this difference to the comparative security which England derived from her geographical situation. Implicit in this thesis is the recognition of the close relationship between the international position of a given country and the development of its political institutions. This relationship was brought home to the average citizen during the World War of 1914-18, when the all-absorbing preoccupation with national security engendered even in the most liberal states an unprecedented expansion of governmental authority and the virtual suspension of constitutional government. It has been strikingly illustrated by such phenomena of post-war Europe as the rise of fascism and national socialism in the dissatisfied and the defeated countries, and more recently by the admittedly important part which the critical international situation played in inducing Premier Blum and the more responsible of his followers to accept defeat at the hands of the French Senate in the summer of 1937. But perhaps nowhere has the influence of foreign policy on domestic politics been more consistently and hence more impressively demonstrated than in the history of modern Greece.

This history, so far as it is the product of non-material forces, has been shaped by two parallel ideologies--nationalism and constitutionalism. The former has been motivated by a consciousness of distinctness and superiority reared upon the glory of classical Greece and the grandeur of the Byzantine Empire and reinforced by the acknowledged primacy of the Greeks among the Christians subject to Ottoman rule. Hence, when . . .

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