Political scientists seek to explain political behavior. In so doing, they frequently rely on factors such as class, income, religion, age, sex, education, race, residence, and the like, or their aggregate in the case of comparative and international studies. What is conspicuously missing from almost all mainstream political science literature is the mention of constitutions or law as influences on individual or collective behavior. The underlying premise of this article is that political behavior may take place in a certain form simply because the law commands it, the law permits it, or the law prohibits other types of behavior. This article argues that constitutions in Central and Eastern Europe play a critical role in channeling political activity and that the outcome of many struggles over power and policy can be traced to the general and sometimes even specific influence of those constitutions.

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