Constitution

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Constitution

The basic law of a polity. The constitution states how the polity governs itself and usually enshrines the rights that its citizens have. For example, a constitution may state how often legislative elections occur and indicate the limits of legislative purview. It also may guarantee rights such as freedom of religion and the right to vote for the candidate of one's choosing. See also: Bill of rights.
References in classic literature ?
The desire of society for the statesman's advice is taken for granted, Plato in the Republic says that a good constitution is only possible when the ruler does not want to rule; where men contend for power, where they have not learnt to distinguish between the art of getting hold of the helm of state and the art of steering, which alone is statesmanship, true politics is impossible.
Further, the belief that the constitution of a state is only the outward expression of the common aspirations and beliefs of its members, explains the paramount political importance which Aristotle assigns to education.
This latter conception is the principle on which the mixed constitution is based.
The same idea, tracing the arguments to their consequences, is held out in several of the late publications against the new Constitution.
It is seventy-two years since the first inauguration of a President under our national Constitution.
I hold that, in contemplation of universal law and of the Constitution, the Union of these States is perpetual.
And, finally, in 1787 one of the declared objects for ordaining and establishing the Constitution was "TO FORM A MORE PERFECT UNION.
But if the destruction of the Union by one or by a part only of the States be lawfully possible, the Union is LESS perfect than before the Constitution, having lost the vital element of perpetuity.
The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority;--to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls;--to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction;--to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party;--to Controversies between two or more States;--between a State and Citizens of another State;--between Citizens of different States; --between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.
The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State.
All Debts contracted and Engagements entered into, before the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation.
It is a matter both of wonder and regret, that those who raise so many objections against the new Constitution should never call to mind the defects of that which is to be exchanged for it.