Constitutional patriotism

Constitutional patriotism

Constitutional patriotism (Verfassungspatriotismus) is a concept associated with the German philosopher Jürgen Habermas, yet originating from political scientist Dolf Sternberger. He used it first as the heading of the leader for German national newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung of 23 May 1979 - the day the German constitution (Basic Law) turned thirty. It is a key part of theories of postnationalism, has been influential in the development of the European Union[1], and is considered a key quality of Europeanism. Yet it is much older: "Switzerland with its four different linguistic communities does not hold together as a nation; it is not a nation, it is united through its constitution. The recurrent annual Bundesfeier (celebration of the Federation) proves it. The United States of America with a population originating from different countries in Europe, Asia and Africa, a colourful mix unmatched by any other community in the world, are united by nothing else but their constitution and by the patriotic feelings by which the constitution is respected. The recurrent annual commemoration day of the Declaration of Independence, which has been some sort of constitution in itself, proves it".[2] According to the principle of constitutional patriotism, citizenship thus often relies on a shared sense of values rather than a common history or ethnic origin.

In Spain, the utilization of this concept for both left and right parties, has become an argument for the Spanish unitarian identity in front of peripheral nationalisms.[3]

See also


  1. ^ Lacroix, Justine (2002). "For a European constitutional patriotism". Political Studies 50 (5): 944–958. doi:10.1111/1467-9248.00402. 
  2. ^ Dolf Sternberger: Verfassungspatriotismus. Insel, Frankfurt a.M. 1990 page 30
  3. ^ Sources in Spanish: From political philosophy: Juan Carlos Velasco (2002), "Patriotismo constitucional y republicanismo" [1] y Fernando Savater Vivere libero (EL PAÍS 6 de diciembre de 2001):[2]. From conservative perspective: César Alcalá El "patriotismo constitucional" [3].


  • Jürgen Habermas: Staatsbürgerschaft und nationale Identität. In: (ders.): Faktizität und Geltung. Suhrkamp, Frankfurt a.M. 1992.
  • Albert Krölls: "Das Grundgesetz - ein Grund zum Feiern ? Eine Streitschrift gegen den Verfassungspatriotismus." VSA, Hamburg 2009 ISBN 978-3-89965-342-7 (PDF-Datei; 125 kB)
  • Dieter Oberndörfer: Deutschland in der Abseitsfalle – Politische Kultur in Zeiten der Globalisierung. Herder, Freiburg i. Brsg. 2005.
  • Siegfried Schiele (Hrsg.): Verfassungspatriotismus als Ziel politischer Bildung?. Wochenschau-Verlag. Schwalbach/Ts. 1993.
  • Dolf Sternberger: Verfassungspatriotismus. Insel, Frankfurt a.M. 1990.