The Idea of constitutionalism in ancient politics may be considered as the institutional device for protecting the rights of individual by setting the limits on the public sphere. Despite its importance to actual politics, it has not received the enough attention by many political philosophers. This article is meant to clarify the specific nature and meaning of the idea of constitutionalism in Western political philosophy by analyzing its transforming process systematically. Plato's idea of constitutionalism may aim for building up a political community that is to treat law as the supreme power and achieve the virtue of temperance. The temperance may hep cultivate the minds of respect for state institutions and attitudes of obedience for legalistic purposes among the members of the political community. It may be more important for them to put them into practice as molded into their minds by education like the social custom. Building on this idea of Plato, Aristoteles can develop his idea of constitutionalism which has been estimated to take a major step forward. His constitutionalism that may be possible in the ideal state, includes the characteristic elements of rule by law, common interest, rule over willing subjects and oneness of good man and good citizen. These elements may work as the institutional guideline to evaluate the actual states and raise their political and moral conditions. Although the ideas of constitutionalism of Plato and Aristotle may contribute to realizing the legality and legitimacy of political power, they have the problems in that they may not overcome the bounds of ancient times, and do not suggest the legal remedies to carry out constitutional rule in some detail as well.
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