by Russell Kirk
Constitutions are something more than lines written upon parchment. When a written constitution endures—and most written constitutions have not been long for this world—that document has been derived successfully from long-established customs, beliefs, statutes, and interests; it has reflected a political order already accepted, tacitly at least, by the dominant element among a people.
True constitutions are not invented: they grow. The Constitution of the United States has endured for two centuries because it arose from the healthy roots of more than two centuries of colonial experience and of several centuries of British experience. For the most part, the American Constitution expressed formally what already was accepted, practiced, and believed in by the people of the new republic. A constitution without deep roots is no true constitution at all. [Read more...]