The constitution is the fundamental law on which a certain state is based with all its legal framework. It establishes the division of powers with its scope, while guaranteeing rights and freedoms.
The power with the capacity to write or modify a constitution is called constituent power.. This power does not originate in any norm but has a political nature with the ability to dictate norms; the most widespread idea is that the people are the holder of this power.
A constitution can be classified according to several criteria: according to its formulation, it can be written or unwritten; according to their origin they can be granted (when a monarch grants them), imposed (when the parliament imposes them on the monarch), agreed (when they are made by consensus) and approved by popular consensus; and finally, according to their possibility of being reformed, they can be rigid or flexible.
The branch of law in charge of the study of constitutional aspects is called constitutional law.. Thus, it deals especially with the formation of the state and its different powers as well as their role vis-à-vis the citizenry.
The basis of the opinion on the rights and obligations of citizens is based on the currents of natural law and law. The iuspositivismo, is precisely the right produced by the State, is written and has the character of law or norm. Meanwhile, natural law (current of natural law) is that which is inherent to every person, beyond the provisions of the State, for example, the right to life. They do not necessarily have to be written, although the State can make them explicit in its constitutional texts. Whether or not they are written, the individual enjoys them. From 1948, they will begin to be called “human rights”.
The appearance of constitutions can be traced as early as the Middle Ages, when small cities had charts that demarcated the rights of citizens. However, the origin of the constitutional forms that can be observed today must be sought in the revolutions produced in the eighteenth century, especially the French and the North American. In the 19th century, other revolutions were added, an aspect that contributed to the concept of constitutionality being considered of great importance. With the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and its acceptance by the constitutions of the world was another important step in the conformation of the current constitutions.
In this sense, we can highlight three relevant "moments" or stages regarding the content of these supreme laws of each nation. First, classical constitutionalism, which was born with the Revolutions that we mentioned earlier (mainly French and US). In them, the rights of citizens were contemplated from objectivity, that is, it granted citizens rights and equality before the law: in any case, this equality was formal, because the State was mainly liberal, that is, it did not It interfered in the question of social equity and markets played a key role. Therefore, equality corresponded to a philosophical conception that had little or no correspondence with reality.
However, it was with the constitution of Mexico and that of Germany that a new form emerged: social constitutionalism, between 1914 and 1917. Hand in hand with the consolidation of the Welfare State, it ensures citizens decent living conditions, in relation to the right to property, labor law, and information begins to be considered a social good. Equality then begins to be raised from a subjective conception, insofar as it is explicit in the constitutions which rights the State attributes to the citizen.
One more step was the consolidation of the so-called “international community” starting in 1945 with the creation of the United Nations, and its Universal Declaration of 1948 where human rights, inherent in every person, are proclaimed. If in a country, its constitution was the supreme law, with this new form of world organization, the Pacts, Treaties and Conventions between nations to which the country adheres have a higher hierarchy than national laws.
During the 20th century, many inhabitants of Latin American countries saw their constitutional rights violated by various coups d'état. It is to avoid situations like this that many constitutions have provisions that prevent them and establish punishments for those responsible..