After the American and French Revolutions, new-style written constitutions gradually came to be viewed as an essential symbol of a modern state. Britain, however, both fought against these two revolutions and has famously retained its un-codified constitution. Despite this, the impact of the new constitutions on ideas and politics in Britain was a profound one and has changed markedly over time; while Britain's own impact on the writing of other constitutions has been enormous. This seminar presentation explores these paradoxes.

Linda Colley, CBE, FBA, is Shelby M.C. Davis Professor of History at Princeton University.  She has taught at Cambridge, the LSE, and Yale as well as Princeton.  Her books include In Defiance of Oligarchy: The Tory Party 1714-60 (1982); Britons: Forging the Nation 1707-1837 (1992, Wolfson History Prize, 1993); and Captives: Britain, Empire, and the World, 1600-1850 (2002).

Reservations requested because of limited seating: or 202-691-4166


  • Linda Colley

    Shelby M.C. Davis Professor of History, Princeton University