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Why do we need a constitution - Teachoo.png

  • To understand why we need a constitution and what to do with it , we can take the example of South Africa to understand.
  • In this new democracy , the oppressor and the oppressed were planning to live together as equals .
  • It would not be easy for them to trust each other , they had their fears , and both sides wanted to safeguard their interests .
  • The Black majority wanted to secure the democratic principle of the majority rule was not compromised .
  • They wanted substantial social and economic rights .
  • On the other hand, the white minority wanted to protect its privileges and property .
  • Through negotiations , both parties agree to a compromise .
  • The whites agreed to the principle of the majority rule and that of one person one vote . They also agreed to some basic rights for the poor and workers .
  • The black agreed that the majority rule will not be absolute and the majority would not take away the properties of the white minority .
  • This compromise was not easy.
  • The only way to build and maintain trust was to write down some rules of the game that everyone would abide by.
  • These rules lay down how rulers are to be chosen in the future.
  • It also determines what the elected governments are allowed and not allowed to do.
  • These rules will also determine the rights of the citizens.
  • These rules will work only if the winners cannot change them very easily and that’s what South Africans did.
  • They agreed on some basic rules
  • In addition, they agreed that no government would be able to ignore these rules.
  • This set of basic rules is called a constitution .
  • Every country in this world has diverse groups of people .
  • People all over the world have differences of opinion and interests .
  • Most countries in this world have these basic rules .
  • The constitution of a country is a set of rules that are accepted by all people living together in that country .
  • The constitution as the supreme law determines the relationship between the people living in that territory (called citizens ) and the relationship between the government and the people .
  • The constitution accomplishes the following: 
    • it fosters trust and coordination among various types of people who live together .
    • It specifies how the government will be constituted , and who will have the power to take which decisions .
    • It lays down limits on the powers of the government and tells us what the rights of the citizens are .
    • It expresses the aspirations of the people about creating a good society
  • All countries that have constitutions are not necessarily democracies but all democratic countries have constitutions .
  • The Americans adopted a constitution after the war of independence against Great Britain .
  • The French People approved a democratic constitution after the revolution .
  • Since then, it has become common practice in all democracies to have a written constitution .



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Davneet Singh

Davneet Singh has done his B.Tech from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. He has been teaching from the past 13 years. He provides courses for Maths, Science, Social Science, Physics, Chemistry, Computer Science at Teachoo.