A Dumézilian Trifunctionalist Analysis of the U.S. Constitution

Charles Edward Andrew Lincoln IV*

*Bijbehorende auteur voor dit werk



This article offers an interpretation of the United States' structure of government outlined in the Constitution of 1789 from an anthropological perspective. Simultaneously this article seeks to analyze and explain the continued three-part structure of the United States federal government as outlined in the Constitution. Subsequently, this article defines the three parts of the federal government·judiciary, executive, and legislative·as explained through the lens of the anthropologist Georges Dumézil's trifunctional hypothesis of the Proto-Indo-European paradigm of society. Dumézil's trifunctional hypothesis is broken into the following three functions: productivity, military, and sovereignty. This article aims to demonstrate that the productivity represents the legislative function, the military represents the executive function, and the sovereignty represents the judicial function in the U.S. system of government. This article draws from a previous article by this author titled A Structural Etiology of the U.S. Consti- tution.1 That article also provided a tripartite analysis of the U.S. Constitu- tion. However, the analysis in that article occurred through the lens of the Ancient Greek philosopher Plato's tripartite conception of the soul where (logos = word = law), (thumos = external driving spirit = executive), and (eros = general welfare = legislative) extrapolated from Plato's dialogues – primarily the Republic and Phaedrus. This article swerves from that interpretation on Plato's Republic.

The structure of this article is as follows: First, this article establishes a working understanding of the French anthropologist Georges DumézilÊs (1898–1986) trifunctional hypothesis of prehistoric Proto-Indo-European society that applied to Indo-European society universally. Dumézil's tri- functional theory is the major premise, as in a syllogism. Second, the article lays out the generally accepted division of the U.S. Constitution of 1789 by laying out three parts to the federal government: the legislative as de- scribed in Article I, the executive as described in Article II, and the judicial as described in Article III. This second part represents the minor premise syllogistically. Third, the syllogism completes by weaving in the major premise of Dumézil's conception of the trifunctional hypothesis into the minor premise of the three parts of the United States federal government. This third step of analysis suggests possible future evolution of the structure of the U.S. federal government.

This article fits into the broader issue of the functionally efficient and naturally adaptive structure of the U.S. federal government. Providing a historical and anthropological context to this structural analysis will serve as a framework for future research on the operation of the federal government. When the branches of the federal government step out of their roles, then the balance of the structure of the federal government becomes disrupted, occurring in liminal periods of paradigmatic change.
Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)119-180
Aantal pagina's62
TijdschriftElon Law Review
Nummer van het tijdschrift1
StatusPublished - 21-feb.-2024

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