National Constitution Day

Person holding a pocket Constitution, dressed in formal attire, standing in front of a historic government building..
National constitution day illustration

Ah, National Constitution Day! A day where we celebrate the incredible document that lays down the rules of our nation, guiding us towards a brighter and more democratic future. So, grab your pocket Constitution and get ready for a deep dive into its fascinating history!

When is Constitution Day?

It's national constitution day on the 17th September.

The Birth of a Constitution

Picture this: It's 1787, and a group of brilliant minds gathers in Philadelphia to create something truly revolutionary. No, I'm not talking about the first-ever taco truck (though that would've been pretty amazing). I'm talking about the birth of the United States Constitution!

After years of living under the Articles of Confederation, our founding fathers realized it was time for an upgrade. They wanted a document that would create a strong central government while still protecting the rights of its citizens. And thus, the Constitution was born.


Did you know that the United States Constitution is the oldest written national constitution still in use? That's right! It's like the George Clooney of governing documents - it just gets better with age.

History behind the term 'Constitution'


Magna Carta: The First Step

In the year 1215, the Magna Carta was established in England as the first significant step towards the concept of a constitution. The Magna Carta, which means 'Great Charter' in Latin, was a document that limited the power of the monarchy and guaranteed certain rights to the English nobility and freemen. While it did not create a formal constitution, it laid the foundation for the idea of a legal framework that protects individual liberties and restricts government authority.


The Magna Carta

In the year 1215, the Magna Carta was created in medieval England. This document, also known as the Great Charter, established certain rights and liberties for the nobility, limiting the power of the king. While not a constitution in the modern sense, it laid the groundwork for the concept of constitutional governance.

450 BCE

The Birth of Codified Law

The term 'constitution' traces its roots back to ancient Greece. In the year 450 BCE, the city-state of Athens introduced the concept of 'nomoi,' meaning laws that governed the city. These laws were the earliest form of written constitution known in history. Athens' constitution aimed to establish principles of equality and justice, making it a seminal development in the evolution of constitutional governance.


United States Constitution: A Landmark Document

The year 1787 marked a major milestone in the evolution of the constitution with the drafting and adoption of the United States Constitution. The framers of this influential document sought to establish a government based on the principles of separation of powers, checks and balances, and individual rights. The U.S. Constitution became the first written constitution to create a stronger federal government while ensuring the protection of fundamental rights and liberties for its citizens.


The United States Constitution

In 1787, the Founding Fathers of the United States gathered in Philadelphia to draft a new constitution. This document, influenced by Enlightenment ideas and the experiences of self-governance during the American Revolution, created a framework for the federal government and outlined the rights of citizens. The United States Constitution is considered one of the most influential and enduring constitutions in modern history.

1215 CE

Magna Carta: A Step Towards Limited Government

In the year 1215 CE, the Magna Carta was signed by King John of England. This historical document limited the power of the monarch and established certain basic rights for the nobles and freemen of England. Although not a complete constitution, the Magna Carta laid the foundation for the idea that the ruler's authority is not absolute and is subject to legal constraints, spreading the concept of constitutionalism.


Bill of Rights: Safeguarding Individual Rights

In 1791, the Bill of Rights was added to the United States Constitution. Comprising the first ten amendments, the Bill of Rights explicitly outlined various individual rights and freedoms, such as freedom of speech, religion, and the right to a fair trial. These amendments were crucial in further solidifying the idea of a constitution as a document that protects citizens' liberties and establishes a framework for government accountability.


The Bill of Rights

In 1791, the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution, collectively known as the Bill of Rights, were ratified. These amendments further protected individual liberties and freedoms, including freedom of speech, religion, and the right to a fair trial. The inclusion of the Bill of Rights solidified the principle of constitutional rights and became a model for other nations.

1787 CE

United States Constitution: A Landmark in Democracy

One of the most significant milestones in the history of constitutions occurred in 1787 CE with the drafting of the United States Constitution. The Founding Fathers of the United States came together in Philadelphia to create a new framework for government. This constitution established the separation of powers, defined the rights of citizens, and introduced the concept of a federal republic. The U.S. Constitution became a model for democratic nations worldwide and continues to shape American governance to this day.


Constitutional Monarchy

In the 1830s, the concept of a constitutional monarchy gained traction across Europe. This system allowed for a monarch to coexist with a constitution, which defined the powers and limitations of the monarch and established rights for the citizens. It represented a significant shift towards the recognition of individual liberties and the rule of law.


Constitutional Revolution in Iran

The year 1906 witnessed a constitutional revolution in Iran. Fueled by demands for a more democratic system, Iranians established a constitution that limited the power of the monarchy and provided a framework for parliamentary governance. This marked a significant development in the spread of constitutionalism beyond Western countries, highlighting the global impact of the concept.

1949 CE

The Bundesrepublik Deutschland Grundgesetz

After the end of World War II, Germany went through a significant political transformation. In 1949 CE, the Federal Republic of Germany (Bundesrepublik Deutschland) adopted the Grundgesetz (Basic Law) as its provisional constitution. This new constitution aimed to create a democratic system in post-war Germany by safeguarding individual rights and establishing a federal structure. The Grundgesetz paved the way for the reunification of Germany in 1990 and remains as the constitution of the unified country.


Weimar Constitution: A Fragile Democracy

Following World War I, Germany adopted the Weimar Constitution in 1919. This constitution established the Weimar Republic and aimed to create a democratic government in the aftermath of the fall of the German Empire. Despite its democratic aspirations, the Weimar Constitution faced challenges, such as economic instability and political extremism, ultimately paving the way for the rise of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime. This example illustrates the fragility of constitutional systems and their vulnerability to external factors.

20th Century

Global Spread of Constitutions

Throughout the 20th century, the idea of written constitutions spread globally. Many newly independent nations sought to establish their own constitutions as a means of defining their governance structures and protecting the rights of their citizens. These constitutions often drew inspiration from various sources, including the United States Constitution, and reflected the values and cultural contexts of each nation.

1996 CE

South Africa's Constitution: A Triumph Over Apartheid

In 1996 CE, South Africa emerged from the era of apartheid and adopted a new constitution that symbolized the country's transition to democracy. The South African Constitution became the first constitution in the world to explicitly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, making it one of the most progressive constitutions ever written. It also enshrined socio-economic rights, access to education, and healthcare. This constitution represents a remarkable achievement in the long struggle for equality and justice in South Africa.


Continued Evolution

In the present day, constitutions continue to evolve and adapt to changing societal needs. Amendments and judicial interpretations shape the interpretation of constitutional rights, ensuring that constitutions remain relevant in the face of emerging challenges. Constitutions serve as a cornerstone of democratic societies, providing a framework for governance and protecting individual rights and freedoms.


The South African Constitution: Transition to Democracy

In 1996, South Africa adopted a new constitution that played a vital role in the country's transition from apartheid to democracy. The South African Constitution was groundbreaking for its inclusive approach, emphasizing human rights, equality, and the protection of minority rights. It stands as an example of a constitution as a tool for societal transformation, striving to rectify historical injustices and promote social cohesion.

Did you know?

Did you know that the United States Constitution is the oldest written national constitution still in use?


awareness history

First identified

2nd April 2015

Most mentioned on

17th September 2015

Total mentions


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