This presentation analyses the spirit of “legicentrism” that inspires the French Constitutional order in opposition to the distrust towards the legislative that is characteristic of US constitutionalism. Is the “paternalism of the legislative”, that marks the separation of powers in France the most effective and necessary conception of constitutionalism for the protection of rights and liberties? The distrust towards the law characteristic of the US Constitutional order leads to an understanding of the separation of powers in a way that gives priority to the judiciary. Political scientists have criticized this conception as implying an aristocratic form of government. The presentation explores the differences in the kind of rights and liberties that are protected in the context of these variations of constitutionalism. It traces the emergence of these different conceptions to the French and the American Revolutions and the different sociopolitical needs to which they responded. And it explores the operation of these variations of constitutionalism in reference to contemporary human rights questions.