Constitutional convention (political meeting)
Overview
 
A constitutional convention is now a gathering for the purpose of writing a new constitution
Constitution
A constitution is a set of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is governed. These rules together make up, i.e. constitute, what the entity is...

 or revising an existing constitution. A general constitutional convention is called to create the first constitution of a political unit or to entirely replace an existing constitution. An unlimited constitutional convention is called to revise an existing constitution to the extent that it deems to be proper, whereas a limited constitutional convention is restricted to revising only the areas of the current constitution named in the convention's call, the legal mandate establishing the convention.
Examples of constitutional conventions include:
  • United States: Annapolis Convention (1786)
    Annapolis Convention (1786)
    The Annapolis Convention was a meeting in 1786 at Annapolis, Maryland, of 12 delegates from five states that unanimously called for a constitutional convention. The formal title of the meeting was a Meeting of Commissioners to Remedy Defects of the Federal Government...

    , which proposed what became the Philadelphia Convention
    Philadelphia Convention
    The Constitutional Convention took place from May 14 to September 17, 1787, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to address problems in governing the United States of America, which had been operating under the Articles of Confederation following independence from...

     (1787) – Drafted the United States Constitution
    United States Constitution
    The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. It is the framework for the organization of the United States government and for the relationship of the federal government with the states, citizens, and all people within the United States.The first three...

     for ratification by the states.
Encyclopedia
A constitutional convention is now a gathering for the purpose of writing a new constitution
Constitution
A constitution is a set of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is governed. These rules together make up, i.e. constitute, what the entity is...

 or revising an existing constitution. A general constitutional convention is called to create the first constitution of a political unit or to entirely replace an existing constitution. An unlimited constitutional convention is called to revise an existing constitution to the extent that it deems to be proper, whereas a limited constitutional convention is restricted to revising only the areas of the current constitution named in the convention's call, the legal mandate establishing the convention.
Examples of constitutional conventions include:
  • United States: Annapolis Convention (1786)
    Annapolis Convention (1786)
    The Annapolis Convention was a meeting in 1786 at Annapolis, Maryland, of 12 delegates from five states that unanimously called for a constitutional convention. The formal title of the meeting was a Meeting of Commissioners to Remedy Defects of the Federal Government...

    , which proposed what became the Philadelphia Convention
    Philadelphia Convention
    The Constitutional Convention took place from May 14 to September 17, 1787, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to address problems in governing the United States of America, which had been operating under the Articles of Confederation following independence from...

     (1787) – Drafted the United States Constitution
    United States Constitution
    The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. It is the framework for the organization of the United States government and for the relationship of the federal government with the states, citizens, and all people within the United States.The first three...

     for ratification by the states. Article V
    Article Five of the United States Constitution
    Article Five of the United States Constitution describes the process whereby the Constitution may be altered. Altering the Constitution consists of proposing an amendment and subsequent ratification....

     of the constitution sets forth a mechanism whereby future constitutional conventions can be held. The constitution has been amended several times since the Philadelphia Convention, but never (as of 2011) by this method.
  • France: The National Convention of 1792
    National Convention
    During the French Revolution, the National Convention or Convention, in France, comprised the constitutional and legislative assembly which sat from 20 September 1792 to 26 October 1795 . It held executive power in France during the first years of the French First Republic...

     (commonly referred to as The Convention) convened during The French Revolution on September 20 with the purpose of writing a Republican Constitution following the suspension of the French Monarchy. The monarchy was officially abolished on September 21 by The Convention.
  • Missouri Constitutional Convention (1861-63)
    Missouri Constitutional Convention (1861-63)
    The Missouri Constitutional Convention was a constitutional convention held in the state of Missouri during the American Civil War. The convention was elected in early 1861, and voted against secession...

    , established Missouri's provisional government during the American Civil War
    American Civil War
    The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

  • Canada: (1864), Quebec Conference, 1864
    Quebec Conference, 1864
    The Quebec Conference was the second meeting held in 1864 to discuss Canadian Confederation.The 16 delegates from the Province of Canada, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island had agreed at the close of the Charlottetown Conference to meet again at Quebec City October 1864...

    , and London Conference of 1866
    London Conference of 1866
    The London Conference was held in the United Kingdom and began on 4 December 1866, and it was the final in a series of conferences or debates that led to Canadian confederation in 1867. Sixteen delegates from the Province of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick gathered with officials of the...

    .
  • Australian constitutional convention
    Constitutional Convention (Australia)
    In Australian history, the term Constitutional Convention refers to four distinct gatherings.-1891 convention:The 1891 Constitutional Convention was held in Sydney in March 1891 to consider a draft Constitution for the proposed federation of the British colonies in Australia and New Zealand. There...

    s – 1891, 1897, 1973 and 1998.
  • Germany: Parlamentarischer Rat
    Parlamentarischer Rat
    The Parlamentarischer Rat was the West German constitutional convention that created the current constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany...

     (Parliamentary Council) (1948) – Drafted the Basic Law of the Federal Republic for ratification by the Länder
    States of Germany
    Germany is made up of sixteen which are partly sovereign constituent states of the Federal Republic of Germany. Land literally translates as "country", and constitutionally speaking, they are constituent countries...

    .
  • Northern Ireland Constitutional Convention
    Northern Ireland Constitutional Convention
    The Northern Ireland Constitutional Convention was an elected body set up in 1975 by the UK Labour government of Harold Wilson as an attempt to deal with constitutional issues surrounding the status of Northern Ireland....

     (1975–1976) – a failed attempt to find a solution to the status of Northern Ireland
    Northern Ireland
    Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

    .
  • Scottish Constitutional Convention
    Scottish Constitutional Convention
    The Scottish Constitutional Convention was an association of Scottish political parties, churches and other civic groups, that developed a framework for a Scottish devolution. It is credited as having paved the way for the establishment of the Scottish Parliament in 1999.The Convention was...

     (1989) – produced a plan for Scottish devolution
    Devolution
    Devolution is the statutory granting of powers from the central government of a sovereign state to government at a subnational level, such as a regional, local, or state level. Devolution can be mainly financial, e.g. giving areas a budget which was formerly administered by central government...

    .
  • European Convention (2001) – Drafted the Constitution for Europe
    Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe
    The Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe , , was an unratified international treaty intended to create a consolidated constitution for the European Union...

     for approval by the European Council
    European Council
    The European Council is an institution of the European Union. It comprises the heads of state or government of the EU member states, along with the President of the European Commission and the President of the European Council, currently Herman Van Rompuy...

     and ratification by the member states.
  • Philippine Constitutional Convention
    Constitutional Convention (Philippines)
    Constitutional convention or “con-con” is one of the three modes in which the "Constitution of the Philippines could be amended or revised. The other two modes are via a People's Initiative or "PI" and Constituent Assembly or "Con-Ass"....

    • 1935 – to draft a constitution to create the autonomous Commonwealth of the Philippines
      Commonwealth of the Philippines
      The Commonwealth of the Philippines was a designation of the Philippines from 1935 to 1946 when the country was a commonwealth of the United States. The Commonwealth was created by the Tydings-McDuffie Act, which was passed by the U.S. Congress in 1934. When Manuel L...

       under the U.S. Tydings-McDuffie Act
      Tydings-McDuffie Act
      The Tydings-McDuffie Act approved on March 24, 1934 was a United States federal law which provided for self-government of the Philippines and for Filipino independence after a period of ten years. It was authored by Maryland Senator Millard E...

      . The constitution was also used in the 3rd Republic (1946) until the passage of the 1973 constitution. Members were elected through the Philippine Constitutional Convention election, 1934
      Philippine Constitutional Convention election, 1934
      In accordance to the Tydings-McDuffie Law, election of delegates to the 1934 Constitutional Convention was held on July 10, 1934.-Results:-See also:*Commission on Elections*Politics of the Philippines*Philippine elections*Philippine Constitution...

    • 1971 – to draft a revised constitution to replace the old U.S. customed 1935 Philippine constitution. Members were elected through the Philippine Constitutional Convention election, 1970
      Philippine Constitutional Convention election, 1970
      The Constitutional Convention of 1970 was called to change the existing Philippine Constitution which was made during the Commonwealth of the Philippines. Special elections for the CON-CON Delegates who will represent the various provinces of the country on November 10, 1970...

      . The system of government changed from Presidentitial to Parliamentary to Presidentital-Parliamentary (in 1984 amendment). The constitution lasted until the downfall of Ferdinand Marcos
      Ferdinand Marcos
      Ferdinand Emmanuel Edralin Marcos, Sr. was a Filipino leader and an authoritarian President of the Philippines from 1965 to 1986. He was a lawyer, member of the Philippine House of Representatives and a member of the Philippine Senate...

       in 1986 and Corazon Aquino
      Corazon Aquino
      Maria Corazon Sumulong Cojuangco-Aquino was the 11th President of the Philippines and the first woman to hold that office in Philippine history. She is best remembered for leading the 1986 People Power Revolution, which toppled Ferdinand Marcos and restored democracy in the Philippines...

       appointed members to draft the 1987 Constitution through a Constitutional Commission
      Constitutional Commission
      Many entities have been called a Constitutional Commission with the general purpose of reviewing a constitution, or planning to create one.-Afghanistan:*Afghan Constitution Commission**Timeline of the War in Afghanistan...

      .


Constitutional conventions have also been used by constituent states of federations — such as the individual state
U.S. state
A U.S. state is any one of the 50 federated states of the United States of America that share sovereignty with the federal government. Because of this shared sovereignty, an American is a citizen both of the federal entity and of his or her state of domicile. Four states use the official title of...

s of the United States — to create, replace, or revise their own constitutions
State constitution (United States)
In the United States, each state has its own constitution.Usually, they are longer than the 7,500-word federal Constitution and are more detailed regarding the day-to-day relationships between government and the people. The shortest is the Constitution of Vermont, adopted in 1793 and currently...

. Though the several states have never held a national constitutional convention for the purpose of proposing amendments, the 21st Amendment to the US Constitution
Twenty-first Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Twenty-first Amendment to the United States Constitution repealed the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which had mandated nationwide Prohibition...

 was ratified not by the state legislatures, but by state level conventions after it was passed by Congress, as described as an alternate method of ratification in Article V of the US Constitution.

Several American academics have criticized the United States Constitution
United States Constitution
The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. It is the framework for the organization of the United States government and for the relationship of the federal government with the states, citizens, and all people within the United States.The first three...

 for specific shortcomings and have called for a Second Constitutional Convention, including University of Texas constitutional law expert Sanford Levinson
Sanford Levinson
Sanford Victor Levinson is a prominent American liberal law professor and acknowledged expert on Constitutional law and legal scholar and professor of government at the University of Texas Law School...

, University of Virginia
University of Virginia
The University of Virginia is a public research university located in Charlottesville, Virginia, United States, founded by Thomas Jefferson...

 professor Larry Sabato
Larry Sabato
Larry Joseph Sabato is an American political scientist and analyst. He is the Robert Kent Gooch Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia, and director of its Center for Politics. He founded Sabato's Crystal Ball, an online newsletter and website that provides free political analysis and...

, University of Kentucky
University of Kentucky
The University of Kentucky, also known as UK, is a public co-educational university and is one of the state's two land-grant universities, located in Lexington, Kentucky...

 professor Richard Labunski
Richard Labunski
Richard Labunski is a journalism professor at the University of Kentucky and newspaper columnist who is notable for being an outspoken advocate for reforming the United States Constitution in his book The Second Constitutional Convention. He has been a prominent critic of voter apathy, low voter...

, Vanderbilt University
Vanderbilt University
Vanderbilt University is a private research university located in Nashville, Tennessee, United States. Founded in 1873, the university is named for shipping and rail magnate "Commodore" Cornelius Vanderbilt, who provided Vanderbilt its initial $1 million endowment despite having never been to the...

 professor Dana D. Nelson
Dana D. Nelson
Dana D. Nelson is a professor of English at Vanderbilt University and a prominent progressive advocate for citizenship and democracy. She is notable for her criticism in her books such as Bad for Democracy of excessive presidential power and for exposing a tendency by Americans to neglect basic...

, and Yale University
Yale University
Yale University is a private, Ivy League university located in New Haven, Connecticut, United States. Founded in 1701 in the Colony of Connecticut, the university is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States...

 professor Robert A. Dahl
Robert A. Dahl
Robert Alan Dahl , is the Sterling Professor emeritus of political science at Yale University, where he earned his Ph.D. in political science in 1940. He is past president of the American Political Science Association...

, although professor Dahl believes there is no real hope that such a Convention might ever happen.

In the Republic of Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

, the government elected in March 2011
Government of the 31st Dáil
The Government of the 31st Dáil is the present Government of Ireland, formed after the 2011 general election to Dáil Éireann on 25 February 2011. Fine Gael entered into discussions with the Labour Party which culminated in a joint programme for government. The 31st Dáil first met on 9 March 2011...

 has committed to establishing a "constitutional convention" to recommend constitutional amendments
Amendments to the Constitution of Ireland
An amendment may be made to any part of the Constitution of Ireland but only by referendum. An amendment must first be approved by both Houses of the Oireachtas , then submitted to a referendum, and finally signed into law by the President....

 on six specified issues and others it may consider; the government has separately promised amendments on five other issues.

See also

  • Constituent assembly
    Constituent assembly
    A constituent assembly is a body composed for the purpose of drafting or adopting a constitution...

  • Convention parliament
  • Constitutional commission
    Constitutional Commission
    Many entities have been called a Constitutional Commission with the general purpose of reviewing a constitution, or planning to create one.-Afghanistan:*Afghan Constitution Commission**Timeline of the War in Afghanistan...

  • Independence Convention
    Independence Convention
    The Independence Convention is a new umbrella grouping for supporters of Scottish independence, also known as Interim Forum for an Independence Convention...

  • Article V convention
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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