PHEB601 State and Constitutionalism


The course presents from philosophical point of view the main characteristics of the state and its constitution as political and legal institution. It traces back the development of different forms of state in history from the Ancient world to the modern times. Substantial elements of the state like population, territory and institutions are considered. Main forms of constitution, types of government, regimes of rule, institutional structure, constitutional principles, principles and procedures of legislation are discussed. The course focuses mainly on topics related to theory and practices of the modern state, explaining carefully concepts like sovereignty, social contract, rule of law, separation of powers, limited government, checks and balances.

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Prof. Hristo Todorov, PhD

Course Description:


Successful graduates of the course students:

1) know:

• different forms of state in history;

• major forms of constitution, types of government, regimes of rule, institutional structure;

• constitutional principles.

2) can:

• understand constitutional principles and procedures of legislation;

• understand, use correctly and explain the concepts social contract, rule of law, separation of powers, limited government, checks and balances.

Students have knowledge and /or skills: basic knowledge in political philosophy.

Full-time Programmes

Types of Courses:

Language of teaching:


  1. What is a state? Thomas Hobbes’s theory on purpose, founding and functions of the state.
  2. Thomas Hobbes ”Leviathan”
  3. Constitutions and forms of government. Plato’s “Republic”
  4. Ancient, medieval and modern state.
  5. Elements of the state – population, territory and power.
  6. Jean Bodin on sovereignty. State sovereignty and popular sovereignty.
  7. Forms of government – monarchy and republic. Absolute and constitutional monarchy, parliamentary, presidential and semi-presidential republic
  8. Liberal state and separation of powers – Locke and Montesquieu
  9. Written assignment.
  10. Liberalism and/ or Republicanism.
  11. Constitutions and constitutional principles. Rule of law. Limited government. Checks and balances.
  12. “The Federalist Papers”.
  13. Unitary state, federal state, confederation. The constitution of EU.
  14. Representative democracy and its institutions. Political pluralism.
  15. Civil society and its structures.


Aristotle: “Politics”, Oxford University Press 1995.

Bodin, Jean: “On Sovereignty: Six Books of the Commonwealth”, Create Space Independent Publishing Platform 2009.

Dworkin, Ronald: “Taking Rights Seriously”, Bloomsbury Academic 2013.

Hamilton, Alexander, James Madison, John Jay: “The Federalist Papers”, Amazon Classics 2017.

Hobbes, Thomas: “Leviathan”, Create Space Independent Publishing Platform 2011.

Locke, John: “Two Treatises on Government”, Cambridge University Press 1988.

Mill. John Stuart: “Utilitarianism”, London Dent 1964.

Montesquieu, Charles: “The Spirit of the Laws”, Cosimo Classics London 2007.

Nozick, Robert: “Anarchy, State and Utopia”, Oxford Blackwell 1974.

Pettit, Philip: “Republicanism: A Theory of Freedom and Government”, Oxford University Press 2001.

Plato: “The Republic”, Create Space Independent Publishing Platform 2013.

Rawls, John: “Political Liberalism”, University Press Group 2005.

Sandel, Michael: “Justice. What’s the Right Thing to Do”, New York 2007.

Skinner, Quentin: “Liberty before Liberalism”, Cambridge University Press 1998.

Skinner, Quentin: “The Foundations of Modern Political Thought”, Cambridge University Press 1978.

Skinner, Quentin: “Visions of Politics 3 Volume”, Cambridge University Press 2002.

Walzer, Michael: “Spheres of Justice”, Basic Books 1984.