The study of political science often involves difficult and philosophical topics. The Saylor Introduction to Political Science reading you read at the beginning of this unit explained that political theory involves the study of politics from a philosophical perspective. Political theory "addresses such issues as the nature of political authority, the relationship of the state to the individual, and citizens' obligations and responsibility to one another. Political theory seeks to interpret abstract concepts such as liberty, justice, human rights, and power".

Constitutionalism and political representation are two important perspectives in political philosophy that seek to address some of the above issues. In this first article, you will read about constitutionalism. According to constitutionalism, laws and written constitutions should be what binds and controls the power of government. In other words, the central tenet of constitutionalism is that the authority of government derives from and is limited by a body of fundamental law. Pay close attention to some of the common criticisms of constitutionalism. Do you think constitutionalism is a practical or democratic approach to governance?