Questions tagged [constitution]

A document or documents which set the fundamental principles and rules to which a state, or organisation agrees to govern itself.

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What was the constitutional status of Finland within Russian Empire?

I am currently reading and translating a book into my own language. There are several sentences that must be interpreted historically for me to be possible to translate. All of these sentences have to ...
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Could the leader of the Soviet Union have been removed legally?

The list of Soviet Union's leaders shows that usually leaders remained in office until their death, I'd like to know: What was the legal status of the Soviet Union's leader? How was he elected or ...
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Why did the French constitution of 1791 not extend its effect to the colonies?

The French Constitution of 1791, which was accepted during the Revolution and followed the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (1789), contained such a provision that stated that The ...
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1 answer
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In the US Constitution, did the Three-Fifths Compromise apply to Native Americans?

In the U.S. Constitution, the Three-Fifths Compromise is part of Article 1, Section 2, clause 3. It says: Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be ...
3 votes
1 answer
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Do the Federalist papers ever mention the Native Americans in any substantative way?

The Federalist Papers were written by Madison, Jay and Hamilton to support the then proposed constitution of the USA starting in October 1787 in response to articles critical of the constitution. A ...
3 votes
2 answers
563 views

How did the United Kingdom government come to be responsible for defence of the Channel Islands?

The government of the United Kingdom is responsible for the defence of, and foreign relations of, the Channel Islands. How did this arrangement come about? Was there a specific agreement/decision/...
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1 answer
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Besides Massachusetts and Rhode Island, have any other U.S. states changed their names?

In 1781 the State of Massachusetts Bay became the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In 2020 the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations became the State of Rhode Island (when most people who ...
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Were ordinary people aware of the US Constitution when it all started?

I read somewhere long ago that even ordinary people knew the content of the US Constitution well enough when it was adopted. Many people, not only rich and well-educated, knew what it was about. Now I ...
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Was the Protectorate's Instrument of Government influenced by other near-contemporary European constitutions?

John Lambert drafted the Instrument of Government, the constitution of the Protectorate, in 1653. How much was Lambert influenced by—or even aware of—the relatively recent near-contemporary European ...
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Why was the wording on war in Japan's postwar constitution so much stronger than in Germany's or Italy's?

From Hathway and Shapiro (2017): The Allies supervised the drafting of new constitutions for each of the Axis powers and enshrined the prohibition on war into each state’s own governing documents. ...
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9 votes
2 answers
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Was the Bundesbrief a forgery?

Steinberg (2015, Why Switzerland?) writes: The famous Bundesbrief of 1291 is one of many ‘Fälschungen’ – forgeries which carbon-dating has shown to be from a later period. But briefly googling, it ...
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3 votes
2 answers
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Why wasn't England/Britain officially an empire (as a form of monarchy)?

An overwhelming article does not answer my question: Why perhaps since Elizabeth I was England not officially an empire and its head of state an emperor/empress? I mean, it is said that the British ...
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Was the issue of women's suffrage debated during the drafting of the 1809 Instruments of Government?

The Kingdom of Sweden had a limited vote for women between 1718 and 1772, during the Age of Liberty, which was based on the 1719 Instruments of Government. This was only the case in two of the four ...
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Did James Madison sign all copies of the Bill of Rights?

I'm aware that James Madison wrote the Bill of Rights but then 13 copies were distributed to the 13 original colonies to review and edit. Is it James Madison's signature on the copies that were sent ...
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What did Harry Truman think about the 25th Amendment to the US Constitution?

The American Presidential succession process is interesting in that it starts off in the executive branch (with the VP), moves to the legislative branch (Speaker of the House, then President Pro Tem), ...
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Was the United States meant to be a confederation of states?

I read the Constitution, and, if I recall correctly, no members of the Federal government were to be elected by the common people according to the original documents. Governors, however, were elected ...
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3 answers
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What was the goal behind the 9 state approval of the United States constitution?

My US History textbook states the following: But since absent Rhode Island was certain to veto the Constitution, the delegates boldly adopted a different scheme. They stipulated that when nine ...
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1 answer
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What were the founding fathers' views on Native Americans? [closed]

What were the founding fathers' views on Native Americans? Did the founding fathers have a lack of respect for the natives, or were they accounted for positively in the enacting of the constitution? ...
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6 votes
2 answers
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What unknown laws were mentioned in earlier Coronation Oaths of England?

In 1688, the English Parliament passed the Coronation Oath Act, establishing a new Coronation Oath for monarchs of England. This Coronation Oath, with some modifications, is still used in the United ...
11 votes
1 answer
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Is there any documentation on the creation of Article 1 Section II of the US constitution

I'm doing some personal research on the electoral college as it has been becoming more and more relevant in modern US elections. I've seen tons of people talking about how it was designed to protect ...
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1 answer
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Organizing the 1788 presidential and congressional elections

In 1788 the new Constitution of the United States went into effect in the states that had ratified it, and that meant elections had to be organized for representatives in Congress and for members of ...
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1 answer
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Virginia's ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment

A footnote on page 30 of this document says that the date of Virginia's ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment (which abolished slavery) was on the 9th of February, 1865. (If I recall correctly, ...
53 votes
10 answers
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What was the historical context of the 2nd amendment to the US Constitution?

The 2nd amendment states: A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. There is a lot of ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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History of the 1793 revision of the constitution of Vermont

Is there any account of the politics of the revisions of Vermont's constitution in 1793? When Vermont was admitted to the Union on March 4, 1791, it continued to function under the constitution of ...
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1 answer
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Why was Schuyler Colfax not present at the vote to reconsider the 13th amendment?

According to this question about the thirteenth amendment and by extension this source it references, both say that Schuyler Colfax, the speaker at the time did not vote on the motion to reconsider ...
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Why was the Congressional Apportionment Amendment opposed?

The Congressional Apportionment Amendment only established a principal for congressional apportionment, which was followed out of custom for many years after the adoption of the constitution. If these ...
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1 answer
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Why was the Titles of Nobility Amendment proposed?

Why is it that the Titles of Nobility Amendment was proposed in congress? Were there instances of Americans accepting foreign noble titles?
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1 answer
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History of ways of choosing members of the electoral college

The Constitution of the United States Article II, Section 1, second paragraph, says: Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to ...
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2 answers
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What was the original process for becoming a US citizen?

So it's 1789 and the US constitution has just come into force. Who is now a citizen of this new government? Were some granted citizenship automatically, or were there also forms to fill out and ...
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Are there records of federal courts under the Articles of Confederation?

The Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union were the agreement among the thirteen United States of America to unite under a federal government consisting of a Continental Congress. They were ...
4 votes
1 answer
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What "other property" was considered for representation at the Constitutional Convention?

In the Wikipedia article on the US Constitutional Convention, it states that: The most contentious disputes revolved around the composition and election of the Senate, how "proportional ...
2 votes
1 answer
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Governors' veto power

If I'm not mistaken, governors in the thirteen colonies, appointed by the king, had veto power over acts of colonial legislatures. In 1996, I was living in North Carolina. At that time NC was the ...
12 votes
1 answer
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How were new states admitted to the Union?

Admission of new states into the United States must be consistent with Article IV, Section 3 of the Constitution, but that leaves some discretion to Congress in a number of matters. What were the ...
6 votes
3 answers
4k views

What was the earliest known written constitution?

I was reading Wikipedia today, specifically the Constitution of Medina article and it states: This was the first written constitution in the history of the world. With two book references (that I'...
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1 answer
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Primary sources for ratification of Constitutional amendments

How would I know that Constitutional amendments were ratified on certain dates? What evidence would I have? For example, a search result from the Library of Congress website states that the 15th ...
8 votes
1 answer
276 views

How was the lower chamber of the Japanese Imperial Diet elected under the Meiji constitution?

During the period 1868-1945, Japan was ruled under the "constitution of the empire of Japan" better known as the "Meiji constitution". Under this constitution, the Imperial Diet was the legislature ...
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12 votes
2 answers
550 views

Why did 1906 Iranian constitutionalists use the Belgian constitution as inspiration?

The Constitutional Revolution of Iran in 1906 resulted in a constitution that established a parliament and a constitutional monarchy. Interestingly, it was based on the Belgian constitution. Was ...
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3 votes
2 answers
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Why was a gold standard not stipulated in the U.S. Constitution? [closed]

It is a known fact that some of the founding fathers wanted to limit the power of the federal government. I have heard it said on the History Channel that one of the ways they did this was by ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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Were the doors kept open for the entire Pennsylvania Ratifying Convention?

On November 20, 1787, the fourth day of the Pennsylvania Ratifying Convention, before any debates had taken place, it was "Ordered, That the doors of the Convention be left open during the session" ...
11 votes
3 answers
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How did the Alien and Sedition acts pass?

The Alien and Sedition acts, passed in 1798, are said to have been an attempt by the Federalist Party to suppress opposition. In Chapter 74 Section 2, the law seems to put restrictions on freedom of ...
1 vote
3 answers
297 views

What is the oldest regulation in the world regarding a head of state?

With a regulation I mean something akin to a constituional codex. It doesn't have to be a constitution per se, but it should outline the head of state's limitations or privileges. The oldest I have ...
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1 answer
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How did Lincoln legitimize the constitutionality of his Emancipation Proclamation? [closed]

How did he convince the south to legitimize the emancipation proclamation?
2 votes
1 answer
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Voting enfranchisement in the USA in the 18th century

It is frequently asserted that when the US constitution was ratified in 1788, it was a very progressive piece of legislation because it gave everyone the right to vote, making the US the first modern ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Are there notes by the Founding Fathers which indicate why DC citizens were denied a vote in Congress?

Are there any records from the Constitutional Convention that establish why the District of Columbia was denied voting representation in the Senate and the House? Was there even any expression of ...
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1 answer
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Framers and Criminal Voting Rights

At the time of the drafting of the Constitution, who can and cannot vote was left up to the states. Despite leaving it up to the states to decide, did any of the Framers view that criminals, either in ...
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Did the U.S Constitution revoke or merely amend the the Articles of Confederation?

This may seem like a silly question, but I only ask because of a U.S. Supreme Court case that actually cited the Articles of Confederation. After the civil war, there is this case called Texas_v....
9 votes
2 answers
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What did the word 'unconstitutional' mean to Americans prior to the Revolution?

I'm reading about the Townshend Acts on Wikipedia, and it says that the American colonists rejected any taxation because it was unconstitutional. Were they referring to a specific document, like the ...
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Contemporary objections to the Bill of Rights's 1st Amendment / Declaration of the Rights of Man, art. 10? [closed]

What were the objections to the Bill of Rights's 1st Amendment when it was first published? Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise ...
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6 answers
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Did the Founding Fathers believe that states had the right to secede?

This question is a follow-up to the Founding Fathers and the Civil War question. Although the Constitution dictates how a state may join the Union, there is no written provision for secession. Did ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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Were NC, IL, and VA's latest concurrent constitutions' effective dates coincidental?

The latest Constitutions of North Carolina, Illinois, and Virginia all became effective on the same day (July 1, 1971). Was this coincidental, or was there some coordination going on? If so, why did ...