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Max Planck Encyclopedia of Comparative Constitutional Law [MPECCoL]


John Hopkins

From: Oxford Constitutions (http://oxcon.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2015. All Rights Reserved.date: 18 September 2019

Decentralization — Devolution — State sovereignty and states' rights — Local government

Published under the direction of the Max Planck Foundation for International Peace and the Rule of Law.
General Editors: Rainer Grote, Frauke Lachenmann, Rüdiger Wolfrum.

1. Although the term devolution has become increasingly commonplace in constitutional and political discourse, the concept itself defies easy definition. Its use in European languages dates to around the 15th Century and can be traced to the Latin devolvere (to roll down). It was used as a metaphor to describe the downward transfer of power, although primarily in the context of dynastic succession, most obviously in the War of Devolution (1687–1688). Today the term has morphed to describe not dynastic transfers of power but transfers of power from constitutionally...
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