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written “hard” constitutions unwritten

Constitution, system of fundamental principles or rules for the government of a nation, society, labor union, or other group that establishes basic guidelines and a framework of orderly procedure. While most Western countries have written constitutions, it is important to distinguish between written and unwritten constitutions. The written constitution of the United States specifically catalogs the powers of the federal government and the rights of the citizens and states. Great Britain has an unwritten constitution in which common law and tradition play a greater part in the framework of the country's political and legal system than any single written document. There are also “hard” and “soft” constitutions. A “hard” constitution is difficult to alter, thus rendering it unresponsive to short-term political change. With a “soft” constitution alteration can be achieved relatively easily, for example, by a simple vote of the legislature. The constitution of the United States is a fairly “hard” document, since constitutional amendments require lengthy and involved procedures.

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