Toward a Model of Constitutions

How Human Rights, Lincoln’s Address, and Berlin’s Liberties Explain Democracies

Non-Fiction - Gov/Politics
290 Pages
Reviewed on 07/19/2022
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Author Biography

Williams Kuttikadan is an alumnus of IIM Calcutta, one of the top management institutes in India. He has been recognized for writing excellence at both national and international levels. With many years spent working across blue-chip firms, including in high-tech R&D and associated patenting, he understands the interplay between business and government regulations and how the two influence each other.

Research for this book became his passion project at the beginning of the 2008 global financial crisis. He now offers this framework in the hope that democratic governments will be able to avoid the mistakes of the past.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Toward a Model of Constitutions: How Human Rights, Lincoln’s Address, and Berlin’s Liberties Explain Democracies is a work of non-fiction in the government and politics subgenres. It is suitable for the general reading audience and was penned by author Williams Kuttikadan. The book aims to provide a guide for every aspect of constitutions ranging from what they are, why they are needed, what informs their writing, and what we can learn about various countries from the constitutions they base their laws on. By basing the discussion on analyzing human rights and how those are articulated into law, the book provides a unique perspective on the tool used to define a county’s laws and values.

It seems so strange to me after reading this book that I had gotten through my life so far with such a poor understanding of something that dictates so many of the rights and liberties I enjoy every day without a moment's thought. Perhaps it is the language that Constitutions are written in, grandiose legal speak with linguistic norms from hundreds of years ago that make them feel impossible for the modern reader to navigate. But now, the modern reader has author Williams Kuttikadan, whose superbly researched and effortlessly approachable work on the subject of Constitutions is essential for every civics student. As modern social challenges seek to change the status quo into a fairer world for many, it is important to look at the documents that founded our democracies and understand what they are for and what the people who wrote them hoped to achieve. Overall, I can heartily recommend Toward a Model of Constitutions which does a marvelous job of contextualizing the sentiments of yesteryear to help us understand how to use these documents in the modern day.

Philip Van Heusen

Some people think that a constitution is the result of a few people who gather in a room for the expressed purpose of writing a constitution. Williams Kuttikadan takes the time to explain the processes that lead to a constitution in Toward a Model of Constitutions: How Human Rights, Lincoln’s Address, and Berlin’s Liberties Explain Democracies. Williams shows that as a society develops, the seeds of a constitution are planted and sometimes bloom as a democratic constitution. He shows the natural principles that lead to society working together under the laws of a constitution. Willams also discusses the possible misinterpretations inherently found in such a broad subject. Berlin’s liberties refer to the theory of Isaiah Berlin. Williams introduces ideas and terms that the reader may not be familiar with. However, he ultimately defines and gives examples for each term used.

While Toward a Model of Constitutions may not be the most leisurely read, it is certainly worth the effort. Williams Kuttikadan develops a new paradigm of why constitutions form. Lincoln’s statement—of the people, by the people, and for the people—nicely fits the paradigm and shows that government should be for the people. All democracies exist to meet the peoples’ bottom-up needs. This works well with the US Constitution’s first words of the Preamble—We the people… The various stages of developing a constitution must keep in mind the three divisions of the evolution. This means paying attention to the lower limits, the working dynamics, and the upper limits. One of this book’s most valuable contributions is how Williams predicts and corrects possible misinterpretations. Williams also does a great job at examining and correcting the shortcomings of his model. Williams is very logical and plain speaking. This book is a treasure trove of information.

Keith Mbuya

One of the most vital components of any democratic state (or institution) is the constitution. While it guides and, in its own way, governs almost every activity of our daily lives, most people hardly have an understanding of a constitution. In fact, most people think that lawyers and persons in related fields are the ones supposed to bother with constitutional knowledge. Such ideas are strongly motivated by the complexity and informational magnitude associated with a constitution. Are you among the many whose constitutional knowledge is very little? Williams Kuttikadan in his book Toward a Model of Constitutions critically discusses aspects of a constitution such as its structure, separation of powers and rule of law, theories, misinterpretations, and much more to help you understand all about a constitution.

Williams Kuttikadan’s Toward a Model of Constitutions is a must-read for enthusiasts of the non-fiction political genre. Kuttikadan separates his thoughts and ideas into three main parts which included: an overview of the model (part one), people’s expectations of societies (part two), and shortcomings of the model (part three). He discusses his ideas using succinct sentences, accompanying them with well-laid-out diagrams for elaboration. This really helped me understand the different constitutional aspects he addresses in his book. His choice of words gives the book a professional touch. Kuttikadan firmly bases his discussion on various sources which include historical and statistical data. He cites references from human rights and concepts from renowned leaders. Toward a Model of Constitutions is a step-by-step guide to comprehending the structure of a constitution and its workings. Get yourself a copy to experience enlightenment.

Foluso Falaye

Toward a Model of Constitutions: How Human Rights, Lincoln’s Address, and Berlin’s Liberties Explain Democracies attempts to simplify constitutional structure with visual representations and a generalist approach. Williams Kuttikadan examines important concepts like the principles of democratic constitutions, the Rule of Law as enforced against human rights violations, the rationale for taxation, species loss, climate change, and people’s expectations of sovereignty. The book covers some notable aspects of the constitutions of different countries, including the US, China, Botswana, and India. With quotes from important historical figures like Eleanor Roosevelt and Ayn Rand, the book compares and contrasts different ideas to arrive at thoroughly analyzed and logical conclusions.

I loved the way that Toward a Model of Constitutions empowers readers by providing them with the information they need to understand their rights and constitutions. It was interesting to learn about the different ways some societies in other parts of the world operate and get a glimpse of how different these societies are, like how Botswana "introduced successful approaches for dealing with corruption at the official level." Williams Kuttikadan's detailed depictions and intricate explanations are informative enough so that readers will become confident in their knowledge of the basic principles of democratic constitutions. The book appears to be more theoretical than practical, and it might be difficult for some to comprehend. In a world where social media sites keep many distracted with endless visual content, we need more projects that educate people about crucial concerns such as constitutions. This is the sort of content that should go viral!

Diana Lopez

Toward a Model of Constitutions: How Human Rights, Lincoln’s Address, and Berlin’s Liberties Explain Democracies is a practical guide to understanding how the current political system functions. Williams Kuttikadan provides an overview of constitutional structure using clear definitions and explains how constitutional logic works. He then focuses on clarifying concepts involving social dynamics. Finally, he suggests the necessary amendments that should be made by the government. The economic and banking system is an example of a structure that requires revision. For each topic examined, he advances new ideas, taking great care to convey these concepts objectively and with clarity to avoid confusion. Tables and diagrams supplement the information and round off a useful publication.

Toward a Model of Constitutions is well structured and includes many notes and references. Thanks to this, the information is verifiable and the diagrams are helpful, providing a practical means to assimilate the new notions. Williams Kuttikadan has shown great attention to detail. The glossary and bibliography are arranged by chapter, which makes the book easier to follow. The author uses simple language to explain complex ideas, which is why I recommend this book to anyone interested in the subject, regardless of their prior level of knowledge. We can all choose our level of participation in society, and the more we know about these issues, the better. This book will promote increased awareness among citizens of the conceptual framework that governs them.