Mentions of „Democracy“ in Constitutions around the World

Schöne Untersuchung von Xavier Marquez von der Uni Wellington in Neuseeland. Der Mann hat historische und aktuelle Verfassungen von Staaten aus aller Welt auf die Erwähnung des Wortes „Demokratie“ untersucht, dabei gab's ein paar Überraschungen. Dass Frankreich und die Schweiz die beiden ersten Staaten waren, die sich das Wort in ihre Verfassung geschrieben haben, dürfte nach der Revolution 1789 nicht weiter verwundern, dass als nächstes dann Staaten aus Latein-Amerika und der Karibik (Kolumbien, Nicaragua, DomRep, Peru, Venezuela etc.) und dem europäischen Osten (Russland, Litauen, Estland, Tschechien) nachzogen allerdings schon.

Noch erstaunlicher: Nord Korea hatte das Wort vor Deutschland und – ich habe die Liste jetzt dreimal gelesen – Amerika, die Wahrer des Friedens und Weltmeister im Demokratie-Export, erwähnen weder die Worte „Demokratie“ noch das Wort „demokratisch“ in ihrer Verfassung. Erstaunlich.

The earliest mentions of the word “democracy” or “democratic” in a constitutional document occurred in Switzerland and France in 1848, as far as I can tell.[1] Participatory Switzerland and revolutionary France look like obvious candidates for being the first countries to embrace the “democratic” self-description; yet the next set of countries to embrace this self-description (until the outbreak of WWI) might seem more surprising: they are all Latin American or Caribbean (Haiti), followed by countries in Eastern Europe (various bits and pieces of the Austro-Hungarian empire), Southern Europe (Portugal, Spain), Russia, and Cuba.

Indeed, most “core” countries in the global system did not mention democracy in their constitutions until much later, if at all, despite many of them having long constitutional histories; even French constitutions after the fall of the Second Republic in 1851 did not mention “democracy” until after WWII. In other words, the idea of democracy as a value to be publicly affirmed seems to have caught on first not in the metropolis but in the periphery. Democracy is the post-imperial and post-revolutionary public value par excellence, asserted after national liberation (as in most of the countries that became independent after WWII) or revolutions against hated monarchs (e.g., Egypt 1956, Iran 1979, both of them the first mentions of democracy in these countries but not their first constitutions).

Today only 16 countries have ever failed to mention their “democratic” character in their constitutional documents (Australia, Brunei, Denmark, Japan, Jordan, Malaysia, Monaco, Nauru, Oman, Samoa, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Tonga, the United Kingdom, the USA, and Vatican City).

The Age of Democracy (via Hacker News), die ganze Grafik dazu nach dem Klick: