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When did the story of the Constitution begin Some might say it began over 2500 years ago in the city-states of ancient Greece Others might place its beginnings nearly three-quarters of a millennium back in the fields of Runnymede Still others might say the Constitution had its origins three centuries or so ago during the tumultuous years of the seventeenth-century English revolutions Or others more patriotic perhaps might date the beginnings of the Constitution from events in the Western Hemisphere from the Mayflower Compact the Massachusetts Charter of 1629 or from any number of charters and constitutional documents that the colonists resorted to during the first century and a half of American history More likely the story of the Constitution might begin with the imperial crisis and debate of the 1760s It is just possible that the forty years between 1763 and 1803 in America were the greatest era in constitutionalism in modem Western history Not only did Americans establish the modem conception of a constitution as a written document defining and delimiting the powers of government but they also made a number of other significant constitutional contributions to the world including the device of a convention for creating and amending constitutions the process of popular ratification of constitutions and the practice of judicial review by which judges measure ordinary legislation against the fundamental law of the constitution During these brief forty years of great constitutional achievements between 1763 and 1803 the story of the Constitution of 1787 is only a chapter But it is a crucial and significant chapter httpwwwapsanetorgCENnetthisconstitutionwood2cfm Gordon S Wood Noah Webster referred to the constitution as a collection of the wisdom of all ages He is correct in saying this While writing the constitution the writers considered the flaws of previous countries as well as their successes Greece was the first democratic country The writers of the constitution also listened to many of the great philosophers of that time
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