Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date



This essay introduces an online edition of Santos P. Amadeo’s Argentine Constitutional Law to be published by the Academia Puertorriqueña de Jurisprudencia y Legislación. Tracing the book to its origins in a paper Amadeo wrote for a seminar in comparative constitutional law at Columbia Law School in the 1930s, we discuss the intellectual context that gave rise to the book and assess its author’s methodological choices. We then examine one particular substantive choice: Whereas the paper specifically draws attention to the importance of understanding every form of political subdivision in a federalist system – identifying Argentina’s as the provinces, the federal capital, the national territories, and the central national government – the book mentions Argentina’s territories only in passing. The contrast is intriguing because Amadeo himself was from the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico. Why, then, as his paper grew into a book-length project, did the subject of the Argentine territories shrink to a passing mention? We don’t know the answer, but we offer our informed guess, noting the fraught relationship between comparativism and empire.


Comparative and Foreign Law | Constitutional Law | Courts | Law