One of our mentors, Nelson Polsby, a political scientist at Berkeley, used to say that “the plural of anecdote is data.” And data can tell stories in ways that elude ordinary language. The stories on this page focus on the visual, with the objective of drawing insights about important historical and comparative patterns.
The authors are constitutional scholars who utilize data from the Comparative Constitutions Project. Sign up for our email list to receive updates about additional stories as they come online.
How Powerful is the U.S. President?
Is the U.S. President hopelessly shackled by Madisonian checks and balances, or omnipotent? If there is one thing that motivates and preoccupies drafters of constitutions, it is how much power to give the executive.
The Least Dangerous Branch?
Alexander Hamilton once described the judiciary as the least dangerous branch of government, since it controlled no armies and lacked spending power. This has inspired constitutional designers to try to empower independent courts to check other branches.
How many rights is enough?
The British philosopher Jeremy Bentham once described rights as “nonsense upon stilts,” by which he meant that they were simply made-up entitlements without a real foundation.