- The first part of the course, taught in the first term, deals with the history of the up to the French Revolution. For the Middle Ages, emphasis is placed on the of and later on the (Southern) . The course traces the development of both domestic and foreign politics, with a clear emphasis on the former.
More concretely, this analysis will be based on the notions of ‘the state’ and ‘government’. This, in turn, will involve an investigation of the origins and subsequent development of the division of constitutional powers (now enshrined in constitutional law), of administrative law, of criminal law and of the law of procedure, on the assumption that these are the foundations upon which any well developed state structure must be built, notwithstanding their origination in the concepts of private law. A recurring theme throughout this investigation will be the steadily growing sphere of influence of the domestic political structure.
At the same time, an examination will be made of legal sources originating from the Ancien Régime, with specific reference to their importance as an instrument of public law: customary law, legislation, legal precedence and jurisprudence (including Roman law and canon law).
- The second part of the course, taught in the second term, concentrates on the political history of modern-day , starting with its annexation by in 1795. The approach will continue to be largely ‘institutional’, with particular attention to the development of the balance between the legislative and executive powers, as well as the history of the political parties and their ideological programmes. This charting of institutional evolution will again be closely linked to the continuing expansion of the sphere of influence of the domestic political structure. As far as this latter aspect is concerned, the emphasis will be placed on the development of the Belgian socio-economic model, the emergence of a Belgian ‘world view’ and the history of the difficult relationship between the regional communities in , together with an analysis of the resulting reforms of the state structure.
The examination of the legal sources carried out in part I (Ancien Régime, see above) is not continued in part II, since for the modern period this examination is dealt with in other courses.