Countries that have been led by an individual (through a declaration, revolution, war, ...) have constitutions heavily influenced by that leader, for better or worse.

History has shown that simply running elections is not sufficient, because often the party winning the very first elections would in effect write the constitution. After that, there is the potential that every party winning subsequent elections would be inclined to annul it and write another.

How have countries that have had grassroots revolutions (such as the current upheaval in the Middle East) reached a consensus when faced with having to write a Constitution? Are there any specific examples of countries that have recently undergone similar turmoil and successfully emerged with something that others would consider a reasonably fair and impartial constitution? If so, what made their process unique enough to be successful?

  • 1
    I'm not really sure what exactly you're asking. Some sort of temporal government is necessary to adopt a constitution, for a historical example of a constitution born from revolution you can look at the Greek Constitution of 1822, adopted at a time when Greece was not a recognized state. – yannis Nov 28 '12 at 17:12
  • Let's say you were one of a million who spontaneously ran down to the streets to protest against your leader. After a day or a hundred, and after one death or a thousand, the leader gives in, steps down, and agrees to be exiled. The state and its borders are well defined, but there is a power vacuum. The current constitution is unacceptable since it would lead to future dictators, just like the one displaced. How would you agree with the rest of the million who marched on a new constitution? – Calaf Nov 28 '12 at 17:17
  • 3
    I don't think History.SE is the more suitable site for rhetorical questions. – yannis Nov 28 '12 at 17:18
  • On the assumption that you, Yannis Rizos, down-voted, would it not have been fair for you to have waited until I respond to your question before you do? – Calaf Nov 28 '12 at 17:19
  • 1
    How about I mention that while Washington was at the Constitutional Convention he was not the writer of the US Constitution which was written by committee and with the contributions of others that exceeded Washington's. With that said, many countries write Constitutions in a manner to keep power or to prevent those who were toppled from regaining power. It takes time to write a Constitution after a revolution, and usually that time is not peaceful. – MichaelF Nov 28 '12 at 18:45

The main process was: create the best constitution in the world, with the most freedom and other nice things... and forget it and never use it.

It is impossible to make a good an working constitutions in a pair of years after a revolution. I mean, in the situation, described by you - when some body/party has all the power. Or in another situation - when there are some centers of the power, but they are enemies, connected only by the common struggle against the old regime

On the contrary, when there are many at least relatively friendly, but different centers of power, they will create some working agreement with high probability. (USA, India )


Each constitution usually reflects a certain ideology. Even if there were several parties behind its proclamation, they usually share the same ideology and upon ideology change the constitution usually rewritten.

Among other factors that influence the creation of constitution are usually foreign examples and national legal traditions.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.