Comparative Constitutionalism

BFTF Comparative Constitutionalism Course Pre-Arrival Assignment

Greetings from Wake Forest,

As your instructor for the Comparative Constitutionalism class during the Ben Franklin program this summer, I wanted to introduce myself and to ask that each of you take some time to familiarize yourself with the Constitution of the U.S. and the current Constitution of another country, focusing particularly on the rights that are protected under each Constitution.  Note: if you are a U.S. student, feel free to look at any constitution from any one of the other countries represented in the Ben Franklin program.  If you are a student from a country other than the U.S., please look at your own country’s constitution.

The Constitutions of countries around the world are available in many places, including: and (this second site may only be available once you arrive at WFU)

Once you have taken a look at the U.S. Constitution and the current constitution of another country, I would like you to begin thinking about the following questions (you might also want to talk to several other persons in your country to get their ideas on some of these matters).  There is no need to write or prepare anything formal in preparation for the class; I just want you to start thinking about these questions.

  1. Familiarize yourself with the rights that are guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and compare them with the rights found in another country’s Constitution.
  2. In comparing the two Constitutions that you are examining and focusing on the differences between the two Constitutions: Which aspects of the U.S. Constitution might serve as model worthy of being followed by emerging democracies that are drafting constitutions? Which aspects of the other country’s constitution might serve as a model worthy of being followed by emerging democracies that are drafting constitutions?

We will plan to talk about these and other questions in our class on Comparative Constitutionalism.  I look forward to meeting everyone next month.


John Dinan

Instructor, Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellows Summer Institute

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