As Constitution Daily announced eight months ago, 2012 marks the 225th anniversary of the United States Constitution, which was signed into law on September 17, 1787. This landmark year may not seem all that impressive when one considers, for a moment, the Roman and British Empires, which each lasted for hundreds of years and had huge geographical spheres of influence. Interestingly, though, both empires lacked any sort of written constitution. Rome did have the “Twelve Tables,” but those were closer to legal practices than an explanation of its government. Britain’s Magna Carta outlined important rights of mankind, but, again, the empire lacked anything like the United States has today. And where are they now? Rome’s glory has long since faded, and the United Kingdom, while still an influential nation, is no longer the imperial giant of the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries.
The United States, on the other hand, has codified its specific governmental structures and laid out basic rights for all of its citizens into one document that has been changed only twenty-seven times in the country’s entire 225 years of existence. Its citizens know how their government is supposed to function and what rights their country grants them; if they feel a violation has occurred, there is a court system in place to ensure that the highest law of the land is being followed. Yes, at times it may seem that the Constitution is idolized or glorified to an unhealthy extent, but there is something to be said for having the country’s key beliefs and government functions spelled out and written down.
Think of it this way… if Rome and Britain lasted as long as they did without written constitutions, our constitution’s 225th anniversary means that the United States will be around for many years to come.