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Friday, November 23, 2007

 
Mark Steyn Is Thankful

For this:

"The New World" is one of the oldest settled constitutional democracies on earth, to a degree "the Old World" can barely comprehend. Where it counts, Americans are traditionalists. We know Eastern Europe was a totalitarian prison until the Nineties, but we forget that Mediterranean Europe (Greece, Spain, Portugal) has democratic roots going all the way back until, oh, the mid-Seventies; France and Germany's constitutions date back barely half a century, Italy's only to the 1940s, and Belgium's goes back about 20 minutes, and currently it's not clear whether even that latest rewrite remains operative. The U.S. Constitution is not only older than France's, Germany's, Italy's or Spain's constitution, it's older than all of them put together.

Read the whole thing.

Update: Not mentioned is non-continental Europe - the United Kingdom, Ireland and Iceland. Britain grew into the mold of an established democracy gradually, so pinning an exact date of birth is tricky. After reading Wikipedia's history on Parliament, I would place that date at the early 20th century, when the House of Commons had wrested supremacy over Parliament from the House of Lords. The UK does not have a constitution.

Iceland didn't even gain full sovereignty - from Denmark - until 1918; its current constitution was drafted June 17, 1944. Ireland became independt from the UK in 1921; its constitution dates to 1937.

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