A Constitution is a body of rules or laws that a nation, group of people, or even an organization establishes to govern them. They ensure that they put these laws in a written form and, thus, determine how they need to administer an entity. The word “Constitution” comes from the Latin word “constituo,” which means orders and regulations. One cannot undermine the importance of a constitution as it remains the principles upon which the states have their basis.
What constitutes the importance of the constitution?
We cannot undermine the importance of a constitution in any society or organization. A constitution proves to be of great value to the nation, not just at the national level, but also globally. They are the system of beliefs and laws that forms the basis for controlling the country, institution, or organization. Without a constitution, an individual’s freedom is without protection. It will also put governmental powers in the hands of the citizen. A constitution explains each component of societal power, therefore, becoming a source of defense to the citizens of a nation or state.
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A Brief History Of The Constitution
The history behind the constitution started on September 17, 1787, in the United States. Its birth came about months after conflicting views, heated arguments, and controversial ideas that made the people reconsider the status quo.
Delegates appointed by the states to portray the welfare of each were the founders of what we call a constitution. By 1781, there was the formal signing of America’s first constitution, which is the article of confederation. Each country functioned as an independent country because there was no judiciary or even a president. Thus, the national government comprised of a single legislature. Today, the original constitution is on display at the national archives in Washington, D.C.
The Features Of A Constitution
A constitution has three primary functions. First, it institutes a national government that comprises a legislative, an executive, and a judicial branch with a system of checks and balances. Secondly, it shares or distributes power between the states, and thirdly, it guarantees the protection of citizens.
One of the features of a constitution is the introductory statement, which declares the supremacy of the constitution. This book of law specifies every other procedure for how the government will conduct its activities.
It also dictates the means of forming and running political parties. The constitution clarifies the rights of the citizens and their respective roles and responsibilities. Thus, the importance of a constitution lies in how it keeps the nation organized and ensures that the preservation of laws and legal norms.
Disputes Arising From The Constitution
In society, conflicts may occur when a political party or individuals go on to violate the constitution deliberately. A constitutional conflict varies; it may happen when there is flouting of an unwritten constitution. It could also arise when there is an inability to provide answers to situations regarding the law.
Also, constitutional crises and disputes may arise when political leaders fail to live up to what the laws expect of them and a failure in handling significant situations based on the position of the law. The endpoint of a constitutional dispute is in the paralyzing of administrative systems and finally leads to a woeful fall of the government.
Modifying The Constitution
Constitutional modification is an amendment or correction of the constitution of an organization or a polity. The essence of amending the constitution is not just to change the existing text but to alter the frame of government or the manner of doing things. In some cases, most constitution demands the constitution to undergo specific procedures before the modification can come into force.
Before an amendment or modification of the constitution comes into force, it requires two-thirds of Congress to ratify it and also requires three- fourth of the states. A change replaces what was obtainable previously as it gets approved.
The Adoption Of A Constitution
Accepting the document and letting it have a legal effect is a formal act of decision in the making processes of a constitution. A constitution becomes a law when people embrace the constitution and adopt it.
The adoption of a new constitution will require an in-depth discussion and agreement with other political bodies to avoid disputes and conflicts. Negotiation will involve those active in power, opposition groups, marginalized group, majority, and minority.
Types Of Constitution
There are different types of constitution. They include;
A written Constitution entails rules documented in a book or consciously combined in a book. It is a formulated and enacted constitution the legislature usually adopts. It is an intentional plan and comes into effect by the deliberate actions of the constituent assembly.
In a written constitution, the state enjoys supremacy. The amendment of the written constitution can be possible only through some approved processes. It goes through a process before you can rectify it.
Examples of countries that operate a written constitution are India, United States, Switzerland, Canada, and France.
You can also call the unwritten constitution a non-cupative constitution. It describes a constitution not written or enacted by a constituent assembly. It is not in a documented format.
The government and the citizens recognize and embrace this type of constitution. Here, the government is in place and functions correctly without written rules.
It is a type of constitution they cannot produce in a book, even though they accede and live by it. An example of a country that operates an unwritten constitution is one like the United Kingdom.
How A Written Constitution Differs From An Unwritten Constitution
A written constitution is in a single book or document, while an unwritten constitution is not.
A written constitution is free from ambiguity. It may cite the rules in favor of or against any power of the government. An unwritten constitution lacks evidence, and you can easily maneuver it. It demands sources and practices.
A constituent assembly is responsible for the enactment of a written constitution, while an unwritten constitution is a result of the increment in constitutional unfolding. No legislature assembles it.
One can easily modify a written Constitution. It is unlike the unwritten constitution that you cannot quickly amend. Thus, it lacks flexibility.
Changes are bound to occur in the social and political environment, which may require an alteration of a flexible constitution. Thus, flexibility is an advantage.
During Congress or political gathering, it becomes beneficial that you can quickly amend it. The flexibility of the constitution moves with time and keeps advancing with the evolving world.
However, the continuous change in a flexible constitution makes it unstable. The government can tamper with it at any time to suit their desires. Thus, it is not ideal for a country and may lead to undesirable changes in the constitution by the federal government. It might bring about unnecessary disputes and conflicts between the people and the government.
An inflexible constitution is famous for its rigidity and uncompromising qualities. It is difficult to tamper with the constitution at will. It requires a lot of processes, such as passing through the legislative bodies and all members.
An inflexible constitution is one of the basic principles of a state. It becomes the law governing the federation. For instance, the Constitution of the United States of America is inflexible, as a modification proposal follows a particular procedure where it requires ratification by the people in a referendum.
An inflexible constitution portrays rigidity. However, in an administration, it serves as a means of ensuring stability in the legal system. The type of constitution is one that reduces the exercise of autocratic power by the government.
One major problem with the inflexible constitution is its ability to keep up with the changes in the social and political environment. It impedes the development process socially and becomes a means of hindrance during urgencies. A revolt may occur due to its inability to change quickly.
Importance of a Constitution
A constitution is relevant to maintaining the structure and framework of a country or organization. One cannot overlook the relevance of a constitution to a nation because they play significant roles and stand as laws governing the nation.
With the constitution in place, the government and the citizens can cooperate fully and work hand-in-hand. Thus, it can avoid clashes and misunderstandings.
The primary importance of a constitution is that it gives people the right to choose the form of government that they want in society. It also hinders some unacceptable actions from the government, thereby mandating all other activities.
A constitution stands as a backbone to any nation, helping them to protect their fundamental beliefs they share as one. It grants new ideas and inspiration, which is why a country must possess a constitution. A constitution helps stand the test of time and also preserves fundamental principles.
No nation, polity, or federation can survive without a proper constitution. Imagine a world without principles, no protective orders, without laws and freedom of speech for the citizens. The importance of a constitution is one that we cannot overlook. Constitution plays a vital role in enhancing and ensuring a better country or organization. A constitution is necessary and one that people should strive to maintain in every nation.
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