The Polish Constitution, adopted in 1791, was based on ideals of the Age of Enlightenment and established Poland's move toward a parliamentary system and rule of law. The Polish Constitution was the first modern, codified constitution in Europe and only the second one in the world, preceded by that of the United States. The constitution instituted the world's first Constitutional Monarchy, meaning that the king keeps his status as head of state, but it still subject to the law's rules. It also abolished the "Liberum Veto" (Latin for "I freely forbid), which allowed any one nobleman to veto the decision come to by the Nobleman's Assembly led by the king.
The Polish Constitution was retained for a year but fell when the king joined the Targowica Confederation, and Poland was divided between Russia, Prussia, and Austria. 125 years later, Poland finally regained is sovereignty and constitution. May 3rd was even banned as a holiday several times, but it was restored in 1989 after the fall of communism. Even though it went back and forth as a legal holiday, Constitution Day was always honored as a celebration of hope and inspiration for the Polish people.
The President of America, Barack Obama, released a statement yesterday wishing the Polish well on their celebration of Constitution day. He says, "Even today, fledgling democratic movements look to Poland as an example and guide."
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