Though best known for leading Britain during World War II, Winston Churchill was a keen observer of constitutional law. Most of his insights concerned the unwritten conventions of the British Constitution, but Churchill also commented extensively on the American Constitution. Intellectual curiosity and a desire to forge a closer alliance between Great Britain and the United States were at the root of Churchill’s interest in the institutions of what he called “The Great Republic.” As with all things Churchill, his observations on our Constitution were sometimes inspiring, sometimes illuminating, and sometimes noxious.
This Article provides the first comprehensive analysis of Winston Churchill’s views on American constitutional law. In his multi-volume A History of the English Speaking Peoples, Churchill discussed the drafting and the ratification of the Constitution in detail. In a series of op-eds and magazine articles based on his trips to the United States, Churchill brought his acute political sense to bear on the operation of the Constitution during Jim Crow, Prohibition, and the New Deal. And in speeches to British and American audiences over many decades, Churchill frequently turned to our Constitution as both a model and a foil.