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In the broadest sense, a constitution is the fundamental body of rules governing the affairs of an organised group. Thus a parliament, a church, a social club or a trade union may operate under the terms of a formal written document called the constitution. The provisions made in the constitution are considered to be basic. So the presiding officer of a club must hold that a proposal is out of order if it runs contrary to the provisions of its constitution. Every national state has a constitution for the purpose of operating its important institutions according to some fundamental body of rules.
In that sense, the only alternative to a constitution is a jungle life or a condition of anarchy. The constitution is the fundamental law that not only determines the powers and responsibilities of the state but reflects the will of the people also. For R. The accumulated material and the spiritual circumstances of the time are mirrored through the constitution. The political philosophy of the people and their time are reflected through the constitution. With the change in the philosophy of the people the constitution also changes. The constitution is the key to the forms of the government.
The constitution may be a single document and it may be also some rules, maxims and conventions. So every constitution contains some written provisions and also some unwritten conventions. First, a study of the constitution tells us the important things about the quality and temper of political behaviour in the country and at the same time points out the active sources of political powers.
Secondly, it gives us insight into the essential core of the government of that country and the basic structure behind the constitution statute. Thirdly, without a knowledge of the constitution statute we cannot know whether there has been any breach of any provision of the constitution. From this we may further go to know: who has broken the rule? Why has the rule been broken? What are the effects of such breach of rules? Lastly, from a study of the constitution we have an exact knowledge of what happens or who does what, where and when a highly important affair occasions.
Essay on The Constitution of the United States - Words | Bartleby
Thus from a study of the constitution of the USA we know that every fourth year the electors will vote for a President and the Vice-President. Suppose the President of the French Republic is incapacitated or declared insane or resigns, who will take over from the President for the time being? What will happen after that? Or, suppose the President has dissolved the National Assembly and dislikes the result of the subsequent election, can he dissolve the assembly again and order for a new election?
The answer is that he cannot until one year elapses. It was the Greek philosopher Aristotle who was the first to classify the constitutions.
He had two criteria in classifying the constitutions. The first criterion was quality of the constitution. So on this basis Aristotle had two kinds of constitutions, namely good or pure and bad or perverted constitutions, depending on the ability of a particular system to achieve justice.
U.S. Constitution Essay Winner
He defined monarchy as a rule by a virtuous man and considered it as the best form of constitution. According to him, tyranny was the rule by a selfish man which was the worst form of the perverted system. His second best constitution was aristocracy which was a rule by a virtuous few. The third best was polity or moderate democracy. The extreme democracy which is a rule by the mob was considered the best of the perverted form of government. According to Aristotle, oligarchy, which was a rule by a selfish minority, was the perverted form of aristocracy.
Thus applying his second criterion of quantity he lists his constitution as monarchy or tyranny , aristocracy or oligarchy and polity or democracy.
In a monarchy or tyranny the supreme power is vested in a single man. In an aristocracy or oligarchy the rulers are a few people. In a polity or democracy the supremacy lies with the whole body of the citizens. His difference between good and bad is something of interpretation and so this classification is unscientific. The conscious and deliberate wishes of the people are reduced into writing after thorough consideration of all aspects of the matter. It is drawn up by the representatives of the people.
The constitution of the USA was the first written constitution to be drafted by a Constituent Assembly. The constitution of India was enacted by the Constituent Assembly duly elected by the people for the purpose of making the constitution.
The United States Constitution And The Constitution Essay
The written constitution has a date of its commencement. The constitution of India commence on 26 January A written constitution is precise, definite and systematic. In the first place, the written constitution is definite and precise. Since all the powers and functions of the different organs of the government are written down there is no scope of one travelling into the territory of other. A single document constitution has such advantages as greater precision, simplicity and consistency. In the second place, the written constitution guarantees the fundamental rights.
In a written constitution there is not only clear power of the various authorities but the basic rights of the people also. The result is that the government cannot behave arbitrarily and cannot take away the fundamental rights of the people. In the third place, a written constitution is a must in a federal form of government. In a federation the central government and the provincial government both derive their power from the constitution and it is imperative that which power belongs to whom must be clearly laid down in the body of the constitution.
There is no better way of having it than getting all such powers written down in the body of the constitution.
Constitution of the United States of America
So a federation will be unworkable without a written constitution. In the first place, a written constitution has the disadvantage of its too much details and rigidity.
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The constitution of the USA with 7, words is a model of brevity, whereas the constitution of India with Articles and eight Schedules is the wordiest of all national constitutions. The rigidity hampers growth and adjustment to the changing social and economic conditions. And so there is the inherent danger of a revolution or political upheaval under a written constitution. In the second place, a written constitution is a lengthy affair. This unusually lengthiness may lead to disputes and litigations. Experience shows that some written constitutions are too much detailed.
They invite disputes and litigation. In other words, they inject too much rigidity in cases where flexibility is preferable.
Again, since a very long constitution says too many things on too many subjects, it must be amended time and again. This will make the constitution still longer. In the third place, the procedure in a written constitution is difficult and time-consuming. Written constitutions are not only likely to give rise to greater problems of interpretations than un-written ones.
They are also harder to change. The corresponding merits of unwritten constitutions are that they tend to change gradually, continually and often imperceptibly in response to the changing needs. But when a constitution lays down the exact procedures for the election of the President, for relation between the executive and legislative branches, or for defining whether a particular governmental function is to be performed by the federal government or a member province, then the only constitutional way to change these procedures is by means of the procedure provided by the constitution itself or by its own amendment.
This is not only difficult but time-consuming too. In an unwritten constitution there is nothing like an enactment of laws by a Constituent Assembly composed of the representatives of the people. It is mainly a collection of customs, conventions, traditions and some written laws drawn unsystematically at different points of time. It is a growth of historical accidents and chances. It has no date of commencement.
The classic example of the unwritten constitution is the constitution of England. New Zealand and Israel are the other two countries with unwritten constitutions. As to the English constitutions written parts are chiefly the Magna Carta granted by King John in the thirteenth century. The Act of Settlement of and the three Reforms Bills are the other written parts of the British constitution.
The gaps are to be filled up by the customs, traditions and national spirit of the people of England. In the first place, an unwritten constitution has the advantage of adjustability and adaptability. It can change like a branch of tree is pulled out to allow a motor vehicle to pass the tree, a written constitution enables the government to meet any political storm by dint of its flexibility. In the second place, there is little scope for revolt or political turmoil under an unwritten constitution, because there is a lot of flexibility in the constitution.
So it meets an emergency half-way and avoids bloodshed and revolutions. So a government under an unwritten constitution is more durable than that under a written one. For example, there have been rare occasions for England to face any serious political upheaval. In the third place, an unwritten constitution is of special advantage for a developing country.
In a newly developing state such as Israel, the balance of advantage has been found in an un-written or un codified constitution evolving through the growth of customs and modicum of statutes. In the first place, an un-written constitution is indefinite, vague and un-precise. Since nothing is put into writing, there is every likelihood of abuse of powers by the authorities.