con·​sti·​tu·​tion·​al·​ism | \ˌkän(t)-stə-ˈtü-sh(ə-)nə-ˌli-zəm, -tyü-\

Definition of constitutionalism 

: adherence to or government according to constitutional principles also : a constitutional system of government

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Other Words from constitutionalism

constitutionalist \ˌkän(t)-​stə-​ˈtü-​sh(ə-​)nə-​list, -​tyü-​ \ noun

Examples of constitutionalism in a Sentence

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What Marshall did accomplish—anchoring the national government’s power on a foundation of constitutionalism—helped forge the bonds that made possible, a few decades later, Lincoln’s preservation of the Union and emancipation of the slaves. Adam J. White, WSJ, "‘John Marshall’ Review: Chief Among Equals," 30 Nov. 2018 At the end of the day, this comes down to originalism, constitutionalism. Fox News, "Sekulow: Kavanaugh will be a brilliant Supreme Court justice," 10 July 2018 Budget footnotes show at least $100,000 of the $1 million given to ASU's freedom school must be used to support research on Arizona's Constitution and the development of a course on civics and constitutionalism for K-12 students. Rachel Leingang, azcentral, "Koch-backed 'freedom schools' in Arizona to get money in university funding budget," 1 May 2018 These statesmen and philosophers articulated the principles of modern Anglo-American constitutionalism centuries before the U.S. was created. Yoram Hazony, WSJ, "The Dark Side of the Enlightenment," 6 Apr. 2018 Trump isn’t going back to early 19th century constitutionalism. Jon Talton, The Seattle Times, "Trump’s infrastructure scheme: Tearing down 150 years of federal support," 17 Feb. 2018 While nonoriginalists cheer this as showing that originalism differs little in practice from living constitutionalism, this has led some originalists to deny or disparage the distinction itself. Randy Barnett, Washington Post, "Presenting a “unified” theory of Originalism," 8 Oct. 2017 But the stark tone of the speech—the broad attack on foreignness, the disregard for notions of liberty, equality, and constitutionalism—shows how that essential chauvinism isn’t far from the surface. Jamelle Bouie, Slate Magazine, "In his inaugural address, new ruler Donald Trump promised a return to dominance for a certain kind of American.," 20 Jan. 2017 His appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court is an outstanding appointment for avid constitutionalism. Scott Kaufman, Orange County Register, "Letters: Trump doing excellent job," 26 Apr. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'constitutionalism.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of constitutionalism

1832, in the meaning defined above

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7 Dec 2018

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The first known use of constitutionalism was in 1832

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English Language Learners Definition of constitutionalism

: the belief that a government should be based on a constitution

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