Confucian Constitutionalism in Traditional Vietnam
This paper examines the practice of Confucian constitutionalism in traditional Vietnam with the case of the early Nguyễn dynasty- the last dynasty in the country. It demonstrates that following the Confucian concept of minben (people as base), the imperial ruler actually practiced governmental responsibility for the people. The practice of the imperial power was constricted by a “Confucian constitution” whose various sources consisted of four components, namely political norms in the Confucian classics, the models of ancient kings, the ancestral institutions, and the institutions of the precedent dynasties. As the institutionalization of “scholastic constitutionalism”, there were a number of institutions which allowed the Confucian scholars to participate in the imperial government and constrain the imperial authority, including, the royal examination system, the deliberative institutions (the Council of Courtiers and the Privy Council), the educative institution (the imperial lecture), the remonstrative institution (the Censorate), and the historical institution (the National Historical Office). The paper concludes with three reflections. First, the understanding of the imperial government in Vietnam should be re-orientated with new vision of “Confucian constitutionalism.” Second, Confucian heritages are not the impediments for developing modern constitutionalism in Vietnam. Third, the paper hopes to provide more evidence for our further study of the practice of Confucian constitutionalism and the continuing revision of the “Oriental despotism”- based- understanding of imperial polity in East Asia.
Son Ngoc Bui. 2012. "Confucian Constitutionalism in Traditional Vietnam" ExpressO
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/son_bui/1