World administrative levels
Constitution of the Year XII (First French Republic)
Map of European nations coloured by percentage of vote governing party got in last election as of 2022
Constitution of the Kingdom of Naples in 1848.
Detail from Hammurabi's stele shows him receiving the laws of Babylon from the seated sun deity.
Diagram illustrating the classification of constitutions by Aristotle.
Third volume of the compilation of Catalan Constitutions of 1585
The Cossack Constitution of Pylyp Orlyk, 1710.
A painting depicting George Washington at the Constitutional Convention of 1787 signing of the U.S. Constitution
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.
Presidential copy of the Russian Constitution.
Magna Carta
United States Constitution

In many countries, the government has a kind of constitution, a statement of its governing principles and philosophy.

- Government

After that, many governments ruled by special codes of written laws.

- Constitution
World administrative levels

6 related topics

Alpha

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

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

Democracy (, from dēmos 'people' and kratos 'rule' ) is a 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").

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.

John Locke

Separation of powers

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

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.

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

The frontispiece of Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan

State (polity)

Centralized political organization that imposes and enforces rules over a population within a territory.

Centralized political organization that imposes and enforces rules over a population within a territory.

The frontispiece of Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan
Painting of Roman Senators encircling Julius Caesar
IWW poster "Pyramid of Capitalist System" (c. 1911), depicting an anti-capitalist perspective on statist/capitalist social structures

A state is not synonymous with a government, as stateless governments like the Haudenosaunee Confederacy exist.

A federated state is a territorial and constitutional community forming part of a federation.

World administrative levels

Presidential system

World administrative levels

A presidential system, or single executive system, is a form of government in which a head of government, typically with the title of president, leads an executive branch that is separate from the legislative branch in systems that use separation of powers.

These countries modeled their constitutions after that of the United States, and the presidential system became the dominant political system in the Americas.

Richard I of England being anointed during his coronation in Westminster Abbey, from a 13th-century chronicle.

Monarchy

Richard I of England being anointed during his coronation in Westminster Abbey, from a 13th-century chronicle.
The Weld-Blundell Prism, inscribed with the Sumerian King List
Map of monarchies and republics in 1648
King George III of the United Kingdom, Portrait by Allan Ramsay, 1762.
King Salman of Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarch.
Postcard of ruling monarchs, taken in 1909
 between February (accession of King Manuel II of Portugal) and November (death of Guangxu Emperor)
Tewodros II, Emperor of Ethiopia.
King Leopold I, an elected founder of the hereditary monarchy of Belgium
Pope Francis, Sovereign of the Vatican City State

A monarchy is a form of government in which a person, the monarch, is head of state for life or until abdication.

In a constitutional monarchy, the monarch's power is subject to a constitution. In most current constitutional monarchies, the monarch is mainly a ceremonial figurehead symbol of national unity and state continuity. Although nominally sovereign, the electorate (through the legislature) exercises political sovereignty. Constitutional monarchs' political power is limited. Typical monarchical powers include granting pardons, granting honours, and reserve powers, e.g. to dismiss the prime minister, refuse to dissolve parliament, or veto legislation ("withhold Royal Assent"). They often also have privileges of inviolability and sovereign immunity. A monarch's powers and influence will depend on tradition, precedent, popular opinion, and law.

Magna Carta of England (the "Great Charter") created in 1215 is regarded as one of the greatest constitutional documents of all times.

Constitutionalism

Limited by a body of fundamental law".

Limited by a body of fundamental law".

Magna Carta of England (the "Great Charter") created in 1215 is regarded as one of the greatest constitutional documents of all times.
Supreme Court of the United States
Parliament of the United Kingdom

Then in carrying the story forward, he identifies revolutionary declarations and constitutions, documents and judicial decisions of the Confederation period and the formation of the federal Constitution.

Starting with the proposition that "'Constitutionalism' refers to the position or practice that government be limited by a constitution, usually written," analysts take a variety of positions on what the constitution means.