In this work, which won the 1924 Pulitzer Prize in history, McIlwain argues that the central problem in the genesis of the American Revolution was the determination of the exact nature of the British Empire's constitution. "After a searching examination of a wealth of judicial precedents drawn largely from Ireland's relations with the English king and parliament, the author reaches the conclusion that 'there was a bona fide constitutional issue which preceded the American Revolution, and from which it in part resulted.' He contends that, strictly from the legal standpoint, the colonists had a number of good constitutional precedents to support their position.": Allison, Fay, [et. al.] A Guide to Historical Literature cited in Marke, A Catalogue of the Law Collection at New York University (1953) 377.
McIlwain, Charles Howard. Constitutionalism: Ancient and Modern. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1940. ix, 162 pp. Reprint available June 2005 by The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd. ISBN 1-58477-550-5. Cloth. $75. * Upon publication The Law Quarterly Review praised this book, noting that "great learning is manifest in these pages" (cited in Marke). McIlwain [1871-1968] examines of the rise of constitutionalism from the "democratic strands" in the works of Aristotle and Cicero through the transitional moment between the medieval and the modern eras. He concludes with a discussion of the forces of despotism that were threatening constitutionally based individual freedom in the 1930s. One of the twentieth century's most distinguished scholars of Anglo-American constitutional history, McIlwain was Eaton Professor of the Science of Government in Harvard University and the author of The High Court of Parliament and Its Supremacy (1910) and The American Revolution: A Constitutional Interpretation (1924). Both of these are available as Lawbook Exchange reprints.