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Tuesday, August 16, 2005

World's First Constitution

Someone asked me if the Constitution of the United States of America, framed in 1787 and ratified in 1789, was the first constitution.

The word constitution originates from the Latin word "constitutio" meaning system. The Roman Republic created their constitution in the year 509 B.C. so it certainly predates the U.S. constitution and actually played a significant role in the creation of the U.S. constitution as both are based upon the concept of a Republic.

Although the U.S. was fighting to be free of English rule England actually had a constitution before the United States. England underwent a revolution in the years leading up to King Charles' beheading in 1649 and Oliver Cromwell becomming Lord Protector in 1653. Oliver Cromwell installed a modified constitution which ended up being worse than the original as it was basically a military dictatorship, however, there already was a Monarchical constitution before Cromwell's.

Oliver Cromwell died in 1658 from a reoccurring bout of Malaria and his eldest Son, Richard, succeeded him briefly before fleeing the country as the royalty was reinstated as Charles' son Charles II was restored to the throne in 1660 due to wide spread dissatisfaction with the puritanical excesses of the Protectorate and its military backers.

Amazon has many books available on the topics of the constitution and also about The English Civil War and Oliver Cromwell.

Have you ever seen the United States Constitution?

History is a very interesting subject, if you have any comments please let me know and if you have any other questions which you'd like me to answer for free please send them to Ben Dash at


Anonymous Anonymous said...

So?.. Finally,was the US constitution the first one?... And I have a good question,The wish one was the 2nd nation in the world that did his own constitution wright after the US???

Thank you.


12:53 AM  
Blogger Ben Dash said...

No, as I said above, the US Constitution was predated by many others including the English and Roman.

9:02 AM  
Blogger Jorge Ariel said...

What about the very first democratic constitution? There was Solon's Athenian Politeia back in 594 B.C. And Licurgo's in Sparta which it is said to have lasted over 700 years, based in a so called Megale Rhetra or the Great Clause, a democratic clause which eventhough didn'd make the spartanian regime not so democratic, but a military one? Rosa Maria de la Peña. Mexico

6:02 AM  
Blogger Ben Dash said...

Quite right, Lycurgus of Sparta predates the Romans, if indeed he was a historical figure and not merely a mythological one.

10:11 AM  
Anonymous David said...

Even before the greek one there may be others. Depending on what is considered a ''constitution''...

Hammurabis code has a laws code / civil code predates all those for a long time...

11:20 AM  

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