A constitution is a set of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is governed. These rules together make up, i.e. constitute, what the entity is. When these principles are written down into a single collection or set of legal documents, those documents may be said to comprise a written constitution.
Constitutions concern different levels of organizations, from sovereign states to companies and unincorporated associations. A treaty which establishes an international organization is also its constitution, in that it would define how that organization is constituted. Within states, whether sovereign or federated, a constitution defines the principles upon which the state is based, the procedure in which laws are made and by whom. Some constitutions, especially written constitutions, also act as limiters of state power, by establishing lines which a state's rulers cannot cross, such as fundamental rights.
The Constitution of India is the longest written constitution of any sovereign country in the world, containing 448 articles, 12 schedules and 100 amendments, with 117,369 words in its English language version, while the United States Constitution is the shortest written constitution, at 7 articles and 27 amendments.
Famous quotes containing the word constitution:
“A constitution is the arrangement of magistracies in a state.”
—Aristotle (384323 B.C.)
“Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”
—Benjamin Franklin (17061790)
“Without the Constitution and the Union, we could not have attained the result; but even these, are not the primary cause of our great prosperity. There is something back of these, entwining itself more closely about the human heart. That something, is the principle of Liberty to allMthe principle that clears the path for allgives hope to alland, by consequence, enterprize [sic], and industry to all.”
—Abraham Lincoln (18091865)