From Revolutions to Constitutions: The Case of Egypt

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15 Citations (Scopus)


This article explores the transition from revolutions to constitutions in Egypt. In order to understand the current transition, the article compares events since 2011 to the 1919 constitutional revolution and the 1952 Free Officers’ Movement. In comparing these three revolutionary periods and the constitutions they produced, the article makes two overarching claims: First, a constitution does not arise from the fiat of wise lawgivers or experts in the rule of law. Rather, it emerges from a contentious political process in which competing agents and institutions seek to promote their own interests. This competitive process, however, is actually beneficial to constitution making, constitutional politics, and political life more widely. Second, the paper highlights that while the political dynamics of constitution making in Egypt reveal domestic politics, the process of constitution making also demonstrates how such dynamics take place in a global political context. Together, these two claims reveal that constitutionalism is just as much a political movement as a legal doctrine.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)345-363
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Affairs
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013


  • constitutionalism, Egypt, Arab Spring, revolutions


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