Swiss Confederation, Swiss Constitution, United States, Swiss reform, Melchior Diethelm
In 1848, the year of the creation of the present-day form of the Swiss Confederation, Switzerland adopted some of the main elements of the American constitution: the federal constitution and the bicameral legislative. This happened not only for practical reasons to unite the conservative and the liberal cantons after the Sonderbund War in 1847, but was rather the result of a particular Swiss perception of America which had prevailed since the late Enlightenment when the United States of America were regarded as an identical Sister Republic. In this way, Switzerland was given an adequate example of identification for its own political debate during the turn of the eighteenth to the nineteenth century: The American War of Independence ( 1776-1783) had been interpreted in Switzerland as the heroic battle of the medieval ,,Alte Eidgenossenschaft" and favoured a contemporary justification for the patriotic reform led by Swiss scholars of the bourgeoisie. During the Helvetik era ( 1798-1803 ), America was seen as an example of a successful balance between a centralized state and a loosely bound federation; and the necessity of a compromise, as it had been reached in the United States of America in 1787/89, was discussed. But it was not until 1830, during the reform of the Swiss constitution (,, Bundesvertrag" of 1815 ), when the first serious steps towards the adoption of some features of the American constitution were made.
"The Bicameral Form of the 1787 Constitution of the United States as a Model for the Formation of the Swiss Federal State in 1848,"
Swiss American Historical Society Review: Vol. 34:
3, Article 3.
Available at: https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/sahs_review/vol34/iss3/3