why have a constitution ?
Most countries have a codified constitution because of a large historical event such as war, political crisis or a declaration of independence.
America’s reason for adopting a codified constitution is in 1787, was their declaration of independence from Britain, they felt the need to create a constitution that would be fair, just and protective of its citizens.
France has had two different constitutions the reasons for this are
1. in 1791 the French Revolution which was the revolt against the monarchy and 2. again in 1958 with the collapse of the French Fourth Republic, following the Algerian War, military revolt, and the failure of the French Parliament.
In Germany their reason for having a codified constitution is their defeat in World War II and to avoid a recurrence of totalitarian style of government which was characterised by Nazi rule.
In 1993 in Russia the national economic crisis between the President and the Parliament, which ended the dissolution and the Russian Parliament.
The law and politics
An the examples above suggest that major events in a country’s history spark a new constitution this is because it reflects a new start to the country both legally and politically. Legally, because it establishes and populates the key institutions without which the country on its own could not function. It also defines boundaries, such as preventing the original tyranny that led to the new constitution. the constitution gives the people a legal mechanism with which to restrain, and ultimately remove, their leaders.
In the case of Bundesverfassungsgericht an act was passed which would prevented the destruction of the World Trade Centre in the USA, but it was held that the act was incompatible with the German Basic Constitution and therefore was found invalid. By having entrenchment in countries such as Germany this shows that the constitution is not just a document but part of the national and cultural identity.
A codified constitution embodies a higher law which are elated above other standard laws, this is done by making it much harder to get rid of this is known as entrenchment The constitution establishes a special Supreme Court, or Constitutional Court, to police and enforce these higher laws.
By having entrenchment in countries such as Germany this shows that the constitution is not just a document but part of the national and cultural identity. Therefore, a constitution is a legal and political document as high ranking officials have to swear on it i.e. the President of the USA.