Power and the Constitutional Order
A. What is a Constitution?
- What is the purpose of a constitution? Which
nation has the world’s oldest, written democratic
- Before the 18 century – the word meant the general system of laws,
customs and institutions relating to a nation.
- But this changed after the American and French Revolutions.
- Now it is a “social contract” drafted by a representative assembly
and ratified by a special procedure for determining public consent.
- A constitution was the act of people “constituting” the government.
- It created a basic law and was the source of governmental power and
- Arthur Young spoke with contempt of the new view – “a new term
they have adopted and which they use as if a constitution was a
pudding to be made by a recipe.” Basically, constitution had to grow,
not just be made.
- Democratic political and constitutional systems do not remain static,
they incorporated considerable political experience from the past
and has been growing and developing ever since.
- The British Constitution is older but unwritten. American is the oldest
- WHY AMERICAN LAST THE LONGEST?