Apie pirmąsias konstitucijas ir jų reikšmę.
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In this article the author analyzes the first written constitutions adopted at the end of the eighteenth century (the Constitution of the United States of 1787, the Constitution of Polish – Lithuanian State and the Constitution of France of 1791). These constitutional acts mark the beginning of the era of constitutionalism. These are the constitutions of the first phase (‘wave’) of constitutional development, which laid the foundations for the further establishment of constitutionalism in the world. The history of the first modern constitutions confirms that the nations adopt constitutions in order to protect individuals from possible abuses of state power. The essence of constitutional regulation is the restriction of this power. The three countries differ in many ways, but all had certain tradition of the restriction of powers. The first modern constitutions established the separation of powers and protected classical individual rights. They have become an example for the authors of later constitutions. These constitutions propose legal standards for constitutional development. Each of these constitutions is an original system of principles and norms. The purpose of the author of the present article is to expose the legal regulation of the first constitutions, their common and individual attributes, to reveal the essence of each constitutional system. The fate of these constitutions is different. The Constitution of the United States of 1787 is still valid and has a direct influence on the development of constitutionalism in the world for two centuries; the Polish – Lithuanian Constitution of 1791 as well as the French Constitution of 1791, on the contrary, were short-acting and their influence on modern constitutional processes is indirect—they remain as a historical example and in this way may influence the subsequent constitutional regulation. The author of the article makes several conclusions. Firstly, a comparison between the first constitutional acts and modern constitutions shows that since the eighteenth century the conception of a constitution remains—a constitution is still understood as an act of the supreme power of the state, which limits government powers and protects individual rights. Secondly, the first constitutions established the standards of democracy and personal freedoms and, furthermore, began the process of constitutional expansionism. These constitutions proposed the constitutional regulatory minimum, without which a constitution cannot be called a constitution.
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