Undoubtedly it must have been the many summers spent in Bologna, the seat of the oldest University in the Western world, that inspired Jason to come up with the idea of organizing a conference on Comparative Constitutional History. Thanks to the generous hospitality of Professor Giuseppe de Vergottini, co-founder of the Center for Constitutional Studies and Democratic Development (ccsdd), we were able to hold this inaugural event in the breath-taking rooms of the Academy of Sciences characterised by its frescoes by the artist from Como Pellegrino Tibaldi narrating the life of Ulysses. The significant number of papers we received for that very first conference confirmed that Jason had identified a topic of great interest for jurists and historians alike and when the success of this conference was followed by the positive outcome of the subsequent events in Chicago and again in Bologna we realised that there was also an audience for an accompanying book series on Comparative Constitutional History. We have to thank Mark Somos, one of our most enthusiastic participants, for putting us in contact with Brill Publishers and, in particular, its history editor Ivo Romein to whom we are truly grateful for his hard work on the text of this book.
The truth of the matter is that we have many people to thank for their help and support in launching the series and producing this book.
We would like to start with the University of Illinois Program in Constitutional Theory, History and Law as it provided generous funding for the conference at which the chapters in this volume were first presented. We are grateful also to Mary Parsons and Carrie May-Borich for their help.
On the Bologna end we have had tremendous help and support from Johns Hopkins University trustee Mr Robert J. Abernethy or simple ‘Bob’ as he likes to call himself. Thanks to the endowment he set up in memory of his father Professor George Lawrence Abernethy we at the ccsdd have had generous funding to be able to co-organise the conferences in Bologna (in 2014 and 2017), attend the two conferences in Chicago (2016 and 2019) and cover some of the editing costs of this first book in the series.
We also have to express our gratitude to those who have participated in one or more of the four events organised so far and, in particular, we are grateful to the co-authors of this book for their infinite patience and for the rapidity with which they responded to our requests for revisions. This has been a useful learning process for us as co-editors.
Most of all, we would all like to acknowledge our respective families for their love and support.
Champaign-Bologna, March 2020