Thursday, December 17, 2015

Mirow on Latin American Constitutions, Part 5

I see the Constitution of Cádiz as the foundation of Latin American constitutionalism. The Constitution sought to perpetuate monarchy when forms of absolutism were being challenged. It sought to maintain imperial structures as empires were giving way to the pressures of new political thought. The Constitution advanced popular representation and national sovereignty in the name of a king. It established a perpetual confessional Roman Catholic state as it espoused liberal ideas and institutions including representative electoral bodies at different levels of government, imposed restrictions on the power of the king, and mandated rights for the criminally accused. It sought the creation of codes that would be applied equally in courts of general jurisdiction without regard to individual status. Thus, the Constitution of Cádiz is properly viewed as an early and important text in the Age of Democratic Revolutions when constitutionalism and national sovereignty challenged absolutism. Here are some articles of the Constitution of Cádiz you might find interesting:
Article 1. The Spanish Nation is the reunion of all Spaniards of both hemispheres.
Article 2. The Spanish Nation is free and independent, and is not able to be the patrimony of any family or person.
Article 3. Sovereignty resides essentially in the Nation, and by the same, the right to establish its fundamental laws belongs exclusively to it.
Article 4. The Nation is obliged to preserve and protect by wise and just laws, civil liberty, property, and the other legitimate rights of all the individuals who make up the Nation.
Article 12. The religion of the Spanish Nation is and shall always be the Catholic, apostolic, Roman, the only true religion. The Nation protects it by wise and just laws and prohibits the exercise of any other religion.
Article 13. The purpose of the Government is the happiness of the Nation, since the end of all political society is no other than the well-being of the individuals who make up the Nation.
Article 258. Civil, criminal, and commercial codes shall be the same for all the Monarchy, without prejudicing variations that the Cortes shall make in particular circumstances.
I look forward to writing about the “individuals who make up the Nation” in my next post.