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The Good State or the Constitutional Innocents of the Nordic Societies

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Chapter Summary

The development of constitutionalism in the Nordic countries is less similar from country to country than one might expect. The first wave of constitutionalism in the late 18th century did not have much effect in the Nordic countries, but changes began to take place shortly thereafter. Although the Nordic nations have been slow to accept modern constitutionalism, they all stand solidly within the constitutionalist tradition of Locke and Rousseau. Locke's picture of man is built upon Christian values of the sort that have been influential in the Nordic countries in recent times (change). These values are fundamental to Nordic democracies. It may be concluded that in the modern Nordic state, basic economic, social and cultural rights can be ranked equally with Locke's classical freedom rights. Without these welfare rights, the possibilities and the freedom of the individual to live an autonomous life in dignity and to seek self-realisation remain illusory.

Keywords:constitutionalism; individual freedom rights; Nordic countries; welfare rights



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