Bentham Project


First Principles preparatory to Constitutional Code

ed. Philip Schofield (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1989), pp. xliii, 386.

The four essays collected in this volume, 'Economy as applied to Office', 'Identification of Interests', 'Supreme Operative' and 'Constitutional Code Rationale', date from the spring and summer of 1822. Bentham here develops the general principles of constitutional law and government which underpin the detailed administrative provisions set out in Constitutional Code. Original and penetrating discussions of such topics as sovereignty, constitutional rule, democratic and monarchical government, public finance, the aptitude and powers of officials, corruption, the influence of public opinion and the delusive effect of religion and titles of honour affirm Bentham's status as a political theorist of the first rank.