GW Paper Series
GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 2016-17; GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2016-17
This Essay - written for a symposium about constitution-making - argues that one of the most important decisions a fragile democratic system makes in writing a constitution is where to place its government. Constitutions usually do address where the national government will be located, simply because it is difficult to coordinate governmental actions without a consensus definition of where government convenes. This is an issue that those drafting constitutions have spent much time considering. Scholars, however, have not yet provided a framework for understanding how this important decision is to be made - and particularly how it shapes the representative nature of an emerging democratic regime. If one of the ambitions of democracy is to feature a representative government, then one of the key means by which that representative government can be achieved is through locational decisions related to the national government. The goal of this Symposium Essay is to sketch out very generally the different options that constitution designers have at their disposal in deciding where to locate national power and the central implications of each of these options for how representative the national government of an emerging democratic regime is likely to be.