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A popular definition of Constitution says it is “a set of fundamental principles and established precedents according to which a state or an organization is governed.” The dictionary says it is “the basic principles and laws of a nation, state or social group that determine the powers and duties of the government and guarantee certain rights to the people in it.” A written constitution refers to “the principles written down into a single set of legal documents.” A legal order on the other hand, is an official document which is created in compliance with the requirements of law. It takes the form of a court or judicial order, like a temporary restraining order (TRO), a traffic regulation order, or any order emanating from or issued by a duly authorized official.
As a set of fundamental principles and laws, the Constitution usually consists of a preamble or introductory statement, and a number of Articles or Sections defining the nation’s national territory, Bill of Rights, Citizenship, Suffrage, the three branches of government, Local Government, Accountability of Public Officers, National Economy and Patrimony, Social Justice and Human Rights, and General and Transitory Provisions.
The Constitution and legal orders can be a subject of study in many legal studies programs in many educational or quasi-educational institutions. The National Center for Constitutional Studies in Washington DC teaches the U.S. Constitution in the tradition of the American Founding Fathers through the curriculums used in many schools. Among the study areas about the Constitution include the Making of America, Catechism on the U.S. Constitution, American Government and the U.S. Constitution, Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, and a 2-hour film about the Founding Fathers of the U.S. Constitution. The Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship of the Hillsdale College in Michigan also teaches the Constitution, the principles that give it meaning, and the debate that appeared to have brought it to life. These teachings take place usually in the form of sponsored programs and lectures for students, public servants, policy-makers and scholars and even ordinary citizens. The National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, which is the only American museum devoted to the U.S. Constitution, offers exhibits and resources for students and non-students who are interested to learn more about the government. The exhibits include a full text of the Constitution as well as the perspectives on it. It also conducts workshops and discussions to give students, teachers and other participant the chance to increase their understanding of constitutional issues affecting day-to-day events.
A legal studies undergraduate program at the University of Wisconsin under the College of Letters and Sciences aims to provide its students with a liberal education in many traditional disciplines that focus on the theory and operation of law and many of the country’s legal institutions. The program consists of five themes, including the legal order and the processes involved in it. The other themes are Legal Institutions, Law and Social Forces, Law and Culture, and Law and Theory, each of which is associated with a group of courses that have bearing on law and legal matters.