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Explain the Success and Failure of Constitutions.

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Explain the Success and Failure of Constitutions Constitutions can be defined in a variety of different ways. Duchacek , in 1970 described constitutions as "power maps", in which the formal powers of the state are described and distributed. A more explicit definition can be gauged from Robertson , who describes the constitution as, "a set of rights, powers and procedures regulating the structure of, and relationships among the public authorities and between the public authorities and the citizens." This long definition is condensed by Watson , who describes constitutions as the "rules of the political game" and "the laws that govern the governors." Constitutions usually have come into existence to facilitate a "fresh start" following the demise of the past regime via revolution, independence, or a change in society. Constitutions are not infallible and can fail if the conditions are right; those conditions will be discussed in this essay. ...read more.


Even supposedly rigid, written constitutions can respond to changes in society, an important property if that constitution is to succeed. In the United States, judicial constitutional interpretation plays an important part in placing a constitution written over two hundred years ago into the context of the modern day. Chief Justice Hughes' statement; "We live under a constitution. But the constitution is what the judges say it is." This may not be wholly accurate, but judicial interpretation has been an important factor in the continual evolution of the American Constitution, which encouraging its success. Finally, the success of constitutions can be attributed to the economic factors within the state. Germany and Japan have for the past fifty years possessed successful constitutions, which can, to a degree be attributed to their very strong economies. Following the Second World War, the allies, by buoying up the economies of these two nations, prevented them from falling to the short-term problems, such as nationalism and communism. ...read more.


Many of the fledgling governments fell, as single rulers, often helped by the military filled the vacuum. Countries whose democratic governments survived, for example India and Pakistan experienced the move toward strong centrally controlled government, undermining the democracy the constitution represented. It is often not the constitution that fails, but the regime that facilitates the change because it is weak, and cannot remain in office for too long a period. The constitution may succeed in providing the checks and balances of power, but if the regime lost the support of the military, there would then be scope for change Constitutions are not always liable to succeed; the above examples indicate that. A successful one allows change, can be interpreted by the judiciary and is assisted by a healthy economic climate. A failure is doomed to be ineffective because it is too restrained, and not allowed to change as society develops. Explanations for the success and failure of constitutions can be diverse, particularly in today's global society; the reasons above are only a selection of what can constitute a constitutional success or failiure. ...read more.

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