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Episode summary: David talks to historian Linda Colley about her new global history of written constitutions: the paper documents that made and remade the modern world. From Corsica to Pitcairn, from Mexico to Japan, it’s an amazing story of war and peace, violence, imagination and fear. Recorded as part of the Cambridge Literary Festival www.cambridgeliteraryfestival.com Talking Points: Swords need words: conquest generates a demand for writing and explanation. - In the mid-18th century, literacy began to increase in many societies and printing presses became more widely available. There’s not much incentive to circulate political texts if you can’t have a wider audience. - The cult of the legislator fed into the idea that iconic political texts could be useful in new and divergent ways. By the mid-18th century, big transcontinental wars were becoming more common. - Hybrid-warfare is expensive. Navies are hideously expensive. - Shifts in warfare fed into constitutions because constitutions function as a kind of contract.…

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