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The Australian National University

James Bryce and the Australian Constitution

Stephen Gageler (2015) 43 (2)

James Bryce was a contemporary of Albert Venn Dicey. Bryce published in 1888 The American Commonwealth. Its detailed description of the practical operation of the United States Constitution was influential in the framing of the Australian Constitution in the 1890s. The project of this article is to shed light on that influence. The article compares and contrasts the views of Bryce and of Dicey; Bryce's views, unlike those of Dicey, having been largely unexplored in contemporary analyses of our constitutional development. It examines the importance of Bryce's views on two particular constitutional mechanisms – responsible government and judicial review – to the development of our constitutional structure. The ongoing theoretical implications of The American Commonwealth for Australian constitutional law remain to be pondered.

Vol 43, Issue 2, 2015

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