Page one of the officially engrossed copy of the Constitution signed by delegates. A print run of 500 copies of the final version preceded this copy.
Constitution of the Year XII (First French Republic)
Signing of the Constitution, September 17, 1787 (1940 by Howard Chandler Christy)
Constitution of the Kingdom of Naples in 1848.
Dates the 13 states ratified the Constitution
Detail from Hammurabi's stele shows him receiving the laws of Babylon from the seated sun deity.
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Diagram illustrating the classification of constitutions by Aristotle.
"We the People" in an original edition
Third volume of the compilation of Catalan Constitutions of 1585
Closing endorsement section of the United States Constitution
The Cossack Constitution of Pylyp Orlyk, 1710.
United States Bill of Rights
Currently housed in the National Archives.
A painting depicting George Washington at the Constitutional Convention of 1787 signing of the U.S. Constitution
John Jay, 1789–1795
Constitution of May 3, 1791 (painting by Jan Matejko, 1891). Polish King Stanisław August (left, in regal ermine-trimmed cloak), enters St. John's Cathedral, where Sejm deputies will swear to uphold the new Constitution; in background, Warsaw's Royal Castle, where the Constitution has just been adopted.
John Marshall, 1801–1835
Presidential copy of the Russian Constitution.
Salmon P. Chase {{refn|group= lower-alpha|The Chase Court, 1864–1873, in 1865 were Salmon P. Chase (chief Justice); Hon. Nathan Clifford, Maine; Stephen J. Field, Justice Supreme Court, U.S.; Hon. Samuel F. Miller, U.S. Supreme Court; Hon. Noah H. Swayne, Justice Supreme Court, U.S.; Judge Morrison R. Waite}}
Magna Carta
William Howard Taft {{refn|group= lower-alpha|The Taft Court, 1921–1930, in 1925 were James Clark McReynolds, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., William Howard Taft (chief justice), Willis Van Devanter, Louis Brandeis. Edward Sanford, George Sutherland, Pierce Butler, Harlan Fiske Stone}}
United States Constitution
Earl Warren {{refn|group= lower-alpha|The Warren Court, 1953–1969, in 1963 were Felix Frankfurter; Hugo Black; Earl Warren (chief justice); Stanley Reed; William O. Douglas. Tom Clark; Robert H. Jackson; Harold Burton; Sherman Minton}}
William Rehnquist {{refn|group= lower-alpha|The Rehnquist Court, 1986–2005.}}
José Rizal
Sun Yat-sen

It superseded the Articles of Confederation, the nation's first constitution.

- Constitution of the United States

The Constitution of San Marino might be the world's oldest active written constitution, since some of its core documents have been in operation since 1600, while the Constitution of the United States is the oldest active codified constitution.

- Constitution
Page one of the officially engrossed copy of the Constitution signed by delegates. A print run of 500 copies of the final version preceded this copy.

11 related topics

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John Locke

Separation of powers

Separation of powers refers to the division of a state's government into branches, each with separate, independent powers and responsibilities, so that the powers of one branch are not in conflict with those of the other branches.

Separation of powers refers to the division of a state's government into branches, each with separate, independent powers and responsibilities, so that the powers of one branch are not in conflict with those of the other branches.

John Locke
Montesquieu
George Washington at Constitutional Convention of 1787, signing of U.S. Constitution

Under this influence it was implemented in 1787 in the Constitution of the United States.

Constitutions with a high degree of separation of powers are found worldwide.

Euler diagram showing A is a subset of B, A⊆B, and conversely B is a superset of A.

Supermajority

Requirement for a proposal to gain a specified level of support which is greater than the threshold of more than one-half used for a simple majority.

Requirement for a proposal to gain a specified level of support which is greater than the threshold of more than one-half used for a simple majority.

Euler diagram showing A is a subset of B, A⊆B, and conversely B is a superset of A.

Changes to constitutions, especially those with entrenched clauses, commonly require supermajority support in a legislature.

The Constitution of the United States requires supermajorities in order for certain significant actions to occur.

A person casts their vote in the second round of the 2007 French presidential election.

Democracy

Form of government in which the people have the authority to deliberate and decide legislation ("direct democracy"), or to choose governing officials to do so ("representative democracy").

Form of government in which the people have the authority to deliberate and decide legislation ("direct democracy"), or to choose governing officials to do so ("representative democracy").

A person casts their vote in the second round of the 2007 French presidential election.
Democracy's de facto status in the world as of 2020, according to Democracy Index by The Economist
Democracy's de jure status in the world as of 2020; only Saudi Arabia, Oman, the UAE, Qatar, Brunei, Afghanistan, and the Vatican do not claim to be a democracy.
Nineteenth-century painting by Philipp Foltz depicting the Athenian politician Pericles delivering his famous funeral oration in front of the Assembly.
Magna Carta, 1215, England
John Locke expanded on Thomas Hobbes's social contract theory and developed the concept of natural rights, the right to private property and the principle of consent of the governed. His ideas form the ideological basis of liberal democracies today.
Statue of Athena, the patron goddess of Athens, in front of the Austrian Parliament Building. Athena has been used as an international symbol of freedom and democracy since at least the late eighteenth century.
The establishment of universal male suffrage in France in 1848 was an important milestone in the history of democracy.
The number of nations 1800–2003 scoring 8 or higher on Polity IV scale, another widely used measure of democracy
Corazon Aquino taking the Oath of Office, becoming the first female president in Asia
Age of democracies at the end of 2015
Meeting of the Grand Committee of the Parliament of Finland in 2008.
Countries autocratizing (red) or democratizing (blue) substantially and significantly (2010–2020). Countries in grey are substantially unchanged.
designated "electoral democracies" in Freedom House's Freedom in the World 2021 survey, covering the year 2020.
A Landsgemeinde (in 2009) of the canton of Glarus, an example of direct democracy in Switzerland
In Switzerland, without needing to register, every citizen receives ballot papers and information brochures for each vote (and can send it back by post). Switzerland has a direct democracy system and votes (and elections) are organised about four times a year; here, to Berne's citizen in November 2008 about 5 national, 2 cantonal, 4 municipal referendums, and 2 elections (government and parliament of the City of Berne) to take care of at the same time.
Queen Elizabeth II, a constitutional monarch
Banner in Hong Kong asking for democracy, August 2019

In the common variant of liberal democracy, the powers of the majority are exercised within the framework of a representative democracy, but the constitution limits the majority and protects the minority—usually through the enjoyment by all of certain individual rights, e.g. freedom of speech or freedom of association.

The American Revolution led to the adoption of the United States Constitution in 1787, the oldest surviving, still active, governmental codified constitution.

Portrait by an anonymous artist, 1753–1794

Montesquieu

French judge, man of letters, historian, and political philosopher.

French judge, man of letters, historian, and political philosopher.

Portrait by an anonymous artist, 1753–1794
Château de la Brède
Montesquieu's 1748 [[:File:Montesquieu, De l'Esprit des loix (1st ed, 1748, vol 1).pdf|De l'Esprit des loix]]
Lettres familières à divers amis d'Italie, 1767

He is the principal source of the theory of separation of powers, which is implemented in many constitutions throughout the world.

His anonymously published The Spirit of Law (1748), which was received well in both Great Britain and the American colonies, influenced the Founding Fathers of the United States in drafting the U.S. Constitution.

Constitution of the Year XII (First French Republic)

Entrenched clause

Constitution of the Year XII (First French Republic)

An entrenched clause or entrenchment clause of a basic law or constitution is a provision that makes certain amendments either more difficult or impossible to pass, making such amendments invalid.

Article V of the United States Constitution temporarily shielded certain clauses in Article I from being amended.

De l'esprit des loix, 1st edn 1748, 2 vols.

The Spirit of Law

Treatise on political theory, as well as a pioneering work in comparative law, published in 1748 by Charles de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu.

Treatise on political theory, as well as a pioneering work in comparative law, published in 1748 by Charles de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu.

De l'esprit des loix, 1st edn 1748, 2 vols.

Montesquieu's treatise, already widely disseminated, had an enormous influence on the work of many others, most notably: Catherine the Great, who produced Nakaz (Instruction); the Founding Fathers of the United States Constitution; and Alexis de Tocqueville, who applied Montesquieu's methods to a study of American society, in Democracy in America.

He pleads for a constitutional system of government with separation of powers, the preservation of legality and civil liberties, and the end of slavery.

Suffrage universel dédié à Ledru-Rollin, Frédéric Sorrieu, 1850

Suffrage

Right to vote in public, political elections and referendums .

Right to vote in public, political elections and referendums .

Suffrage universel dédié à Ledru-Rollin, Frédéric Sorrieu, 1850
The Peterloo Massacre of 1819
German election poster from 1919: Equal rights – equal duties!
A British postcard against women's suffrage postcard from c.1908. It shows unflattering caricatures of suffragettes in front of parliament and the caption: 'This is the house that man built' with a poem. From the People's History Museum, Manchester.
Women's Suffrage Headquarters on Euclid Avenue in Cleveland, Ohio in 1912
Demonstration for universal right to vote, Prague, Austria-Hungary, 1905
Countries with universal suffrage granted to women, 2017
The Chartists' National Convention at the British Coffee House in February 1839

1809 – New constitution adopted and separation of powers outlined in the Instrument of Government.

The Constitution did not originally define who was eligible to vote, allowing each state to decide this status.

Constitution of the Year XII (First French Republic)

Constitutional amendment

Constitution of the Year XII (First French Republic)

A constitutional amendment is a modification of the constitution of a polity, organization or other type of entity.

The use of appended articles of amendment is most famous as a feature of the United States Constitution, but it is also the method of amendment in a number of other jurisdictions, such as Venezuela.

Articles of Confederation

1977 13-cent U.S. Postage stamp commemorating the Articles of Confederation bicentennial; the draft was completed on November 15, 1777
The Act of the Maryland legislature to ratify the Articles of Confederation, February 2, 1781
Preamble to Art. V, Sec. 1
Art. V, Sec. 2 to Art. VI
Art. VII to Art. IX, Sec. 2
Art. IX, Sec. 2 to Sec. 5
Art. IX, Sec. 5 to Art. XIII, Sec. 2
Art. XIII, Sec. 2 to signatures

The Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union was an agreement among the 13 original states of the United States of America that served as its first frame of government.

On March 4, 1789, the government under the Articles was replaced with the federal government under the Constitution.

Opening session of the 2021 Chilean constitutional convention

Constituent assembly

Opening session of the 2021 Chilean constitutional convention
Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States, by Howard Chandler Christy (1940)
The Virginia Constitutional Convention, 1830 (George Catlin, ca. 1830). Many state constituent assemblies, like the 1830 Virginia Constitutional Convention, were highly formalized but the legitimacy of the constitution they drafted depended on whether it was authorized by the people, not whether a particular procedure was followed.

A constituent assembly (also known as a constitutional convention, constitutional congress, or constitutional assembly) is a body assembled for the purpose of drafting or revising a constitution.

The U.S. Constitutional Convention drafted the still-current United States Constitution in 1787.