chapter  3
Modern Confucian constitutionalism
Pages 35

This chapter aims to draw academic attention to the foundational contribution of the modern Confucian intellectuals in the introduction of modern constitutionalism. Consequently, constitutionalism became an inextricable part of their revolutionary campaigns since they believed that constitutionalist institutions and values were instrumental to modernization of the nation and could ultimately restore sovereignty from the invaders. As a nationalist, Phan Boi Chau's ardent preoccupation was the independence of Vietnam. In a similar vein to the percept that constitutionalist ideas are generated from the apprehension of despotic power, Phan Boi Chau developed his constitutionalist vision by criticizing the despotic monarchy and calling for a constitutional democracy. The New Vietnam anticipates that in the new polity "the sense of rights" of the people will be developed. Phan's constitutionalist project is virtually the melange of Confucianism as "the old studies" and the western liberal constitutionalism as "the new studies". Phan Chu Trinh's revolutionary path aims at mobilizing the practice of liberal rights.