Constitution of the Year XII (First French Republic)
The frontispiece of Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan
Constitution of the Kingdom of Naples in 1848.
Painting of Roman Senators encircling Julius Caesar
Detail from Hammurabi's stele shows him receiving the laws of Babylon from the seated sun deity.
IWW poster "Pyramid of Capitalist System" (c. 1911), depicting an anti-capitalist perspective on statist/capitalist social structures
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

Within states, a constitution defines the principles upon which the state is based, the procedure in which laws are made and by whom.

- Constitution

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

- State (polity)
Constitution of the Year XII (First French Republic)

4 related topics

Alpha

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.

Though the term "democracy" is typically used in the context of a political state, the principles also are applicable to private organisations.

World administrative levels

Government

World administrative levels
Map of European nations coloured by percentage of vote governing party got in last election as of 2022

A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state.

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

The original cover of Thomas Hobbes's work Leviathan (1651), in which he discusses the concept of the social contract theory.

Social contract

The original cover of Thomas Hobbes's work Leviathan (1651), in which he discusses the concept of the social contract theory.

In moral and political philosophy, the social contract is a theory or model that originated during the Age of Enlightenment and usually concerns the legitimacy of the authority of the state over the individual.

To consent, a necessary condition is that the rules be constitutional in that sense.

Iustitia ("Lady Justice") is a symbolic personification of the coercive power of a tribunal: a sword representing state authority, scales representing an objective standard and a blindfold indicating that justice should be impartial.

Law

System of rules that are created and are enforceable by social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior, with its precise definition a matter of longstanding debate.

System of rules that are created and are enforceable by social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior, with its precise definition a matter of longstanding debate.

Iustitia ("Lady Justice") is a symbolic personification of the coercive power of a tribunal: a sword representing state authority, scales representing an objective standard and a blindfold indicating that justice should be impartial.
Classic symbol of law in heraldry.
"The Law" sculpture at interior of the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland.
Bentham's utilitarian theories remained dominant in law until the 20th century.
King Hammurabi is revealed the code of laws by the Mesopotamian sun god Shamash, also revered as the god of justice.
The Constitution of India is the longest written constitution for a country, containing 444 articles, 12 schedules, numerous amendments and 117,369 words.
Colour-coded map of the legal systems around the world, showing civil, common law, religious, customary and mixed legal systems. Common law systems are shaded pink, and civil law systems are shaded blue/turquoise.
Emperor Justinian (527–565) of the Byzantine Empire who ordered the codification of Corpus Juris Civilis.
First page of the 1804 edition of the Napoleonic Code.
King John of England signs Magna Carta.
A trial in the Ottoman Empire, 1879, when religious law applied under the Mecelle.
The Chamber of the House of Representatives, the lower house in the National Diet of Japan.
The G20 meetings are composed of representatives of each country's executive branch.
Officers of the South African Police Service in Johannesburg, 2010.
The mandarins were powerful bureaucrats in imperial China (photograph shows a Qing dynasty official with mandarin square visible).
In civil law systems such as those of Italy, France, Germany, Spain and Greece, there is a distinct category of notary, a legally trained public official, compensated by the parties to a transaction. This is a 16th-century painting of such a notary by Flemish painter Quentin Massys.
A march in Washington, D.C., during the civil rights movement in 1963.
Providing a constitution for public international law, the United Nations system was agreed during World War II.
The Italian lawyer Sir Alberico Gentili, the Father of international law.
The French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen.
A depiction of a 17th-century criminal trial, for witchcraft in Salem.
The famous Carbolic Smoke Ball advertisement to cure influenza was held to be a unilateral contract.
The "McLibel case" was the longest-running case in UK history. It involved publishing a pamphlet that criticised McDonald's restaurants.
A painting of the South Sea Bubble, one of the world's first ever speculations and crashes, led to strict regulation on share trading.
The Court of Chancery, London, England, early 19th century.
A trade union protest by UNISON while on strike.
The New York Stock Exchange trading floor after the Wall Street Crash of 1929, before tougher banking regulation was introduced.
Richard Posner, one of the Chicago School, until 2014 ran a blog with Bank of Sweden Prize winning economist Gary Becker.
Max Weber in 1917, Weber began his career as a lawyer, and is regarded as one of the founders of sociology and sociology of law.

The creation of laws themselves may be influenced by a constitution, written or tacit, and the rights encoded therein.

Their principle was that no person should be able to usurp all powers of the state, in contrast to the absolutist theory of Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan.