A constituent assembly (also known as a constitutional convention, constitutional congress, or constitutional assembly) is a body assembled for the purpose of drafting or revising a
constitution A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law, it is a rule Rule or ruling may refer to: Human activity * The exercise of political ...

. Members of a constituent assembly may be elected by popular vote, drawn by
sortition In governance Governance is all the processes of interactions be they through the laws Law is a system of rules created and law enforcement, enforced through social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior,Robertson, ''Crim ...
, appointed, or some combination of these methods. Assemblies are typically considered distinct from a regular
legislature A legislature is an deliberative assembly, assembly with the authority to make laws for a Polity, political entity such as a Sovereign state, country or city. They are often contrasted with the Executive (government), executive and Judiciary, ...
, although members of the legislature may compose a significant number of its members. As the fundamental document constituting a state, a constitution cannot normally be modified or amended by the state's normal
legislative A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of collective) who use parliamentary procedure Parliamentary procedure ...
procedures; instead a constitutional convention or a constituent assembly, the rules for which are normally laid down in the constitution, must be set up. A constituent assembly is usually set up for its specific purpose, which it carries out in a relatively short time, after which the assembly is dissolved. A constituent assembly is a form of
representative democracy Representative democracy, also known as indirect democracy, is a type of democracy where elected persons represent Represent may refer to: * Represent (Compton's Most Wanted album), ''Represent'' (Compton's Most Wanted album) or the title song ...
. Unlike forms of constitution-making in which a constitution is unilaterally imposed by a sovereign lawmaker, the constituent assembly creates a constitution through "internally imposed" actions, in that members of the constituent assembly are themselves citizens, but not necessarily the political leaders, of the country for which they are creating a constitution. As described by Columbia University Social Sciences Professor
Jon Elster Jon Elster (; born 22 February 1940, Oslo Oslo ( , also , , rarely ) is the Capital city, capital and List of towns and cities in Norway, most populous city of Norway. It constitutes both a Counties of Norway, county and a Municipalities o ...
: "Constitutions arise in a number of different ways. At the non-democratic extreme of the
spectrum A spectrum (plural ''spectra'' or ''spectrums'') is a condition that is not limited to a specific set of values but can vary, without gaps, across a continuum Continuum may refer to: * Continuum (measurement) Continuum theories or models expla ...
, we may imagine a sovereign lawgiver laying down the constitution for all later generations. At the
democratic extreme
democratic extreme
, we may imagine a constituent assembly elected by
universal suffrage Universal suffrage (also called universal franchise, general suffrage, and common suffrage of the common man) gives the right to vote Suffrage, political franchise, or simply franchise, is the right to vote in public, political elections (a ...
for the sole task of writing a new constitution. And there are all sorts of intermediate arrangements."

By Country


Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, sma ...
held four constitutional conventions, one each in 1891, 1897, 1973, and
1998 1998 was designated as the ''International Year of the Ocean''. Events January * January 2 – Russia begins to Monetary reform in Russia, 1998, circulate new rubles to stem inflation and promote confidence. * January 4 – Wilaya of Reliza ...


As of May 2021 Chile is the most recently elected constitutional assembly. The 155 members of this assembly were elected between 15 and 16 May 2021. The assembly has gender parity (50% females and 50% males) and has 17 seats reserved for people belonging to indigenous peoples. The assembly is granted 12 months to draft a new constitution, which has to be ratified by referendum once written.

Costa Rica

Immediately after the 1948 Costa Rican Civil War that overthrew the
Rafael Angel Calderón
Rafael Angel Calderón
Government, the leaders of the victorious side called for the election of a Constituent Assembly in the same year. The Assembly successfully drafted and approved the current Costa Rican Constitution.


Danish Constituent Assembly Image:Grundlovgivende rigsforsamling - Constantin Hansen.jpg, 300 px, Constantin Hansen: ''The Danish Constituent Assembly'' (1864) The Danish Constituent Assembly (Danish language, Danish: Den Grundlovgivende Rigsforsamling) is the name given to t ...
established the
Constitution of Denmark The Constitutional Act of the Realm of Denmark ( da, Danmarks Riges Grundlov), also known as the Constitutional Act of the Kingdom of Denmark, or simply the Constitution ( da, Grundloven, fo, Grundlógin, kl, Tunngaviusumik inatsit), is the con ...
in 1849.

European Union

The European Convention (2001) drafted the Constitution for Europe for approval by the
European Council The European Council (informally EUCO) is a collegiate body that defines the overall political directions and priorities of the European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of member states that are loc ...
and ratification by the
member states A member state is a state that is a member of an international organization An international organization (also known as an international institution or intergovernmental organization) is a stable set of norms and rules meant to govern the be ...
. This constitution was abandoned after being rejected in French and Dutch referenda, and was replaced by the
Treaty of Lisbon The Treaty of Lisbon (initially known as the Reform Treaty) is an international agreement that amends the two treaties A treaty is a formal, legally binding written agreement between actors in international law International law, als ...
in 2007


During the
French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) was a period of radical political and societal change in France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a spanning and in the and the , and s. Its ...

French Revolution
(from July 1789 to September 1791) a National Constituent Assembly () was formed when representatives assembled at the only location available – a tennis court – and swore the
Tennis Court Oath On 20 June 1789, the members of the French Estates General (France), Third Estate took the Tennis Court Oath (french: Serment du Jeu de Paume), voting "not to separate and to reassemble wherever necessary, until the Constitution of the kingdom is ...
on June 20, 1789, promising that they would not adjourn until they had drafted a new constitution for France.
Louis XVI Louis XVI (Louis-Auguste; ; 23 August 175421 January 1793) was the last King of France The monarchs of the Kingdom of France The Kingdom of France ( fro, Reaume de France, frm, Royaulme de France, french: link=no, Royaume de France) wa ...

Louis XVI
recognized the validity of the National Constituent Assembly on June 27, 1789. See also 1848 French Constituent Assembly election


Parlamentarischer Rat The ''Parlamentarischer Rat'' ( German for "Parliamentary Council") was the West German constituent assembly in Bonn The Federal city of Bonn ( lat, Bonna) is a city on the banks of the Rhine in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, w ...
(Parliamentary Council) (1948) – Drafted the Basic Law of the Federal Republic for ratification by the ''
''. This council was not recognized as legitimate by Soviet-occupied
East Germany East Germany, officially the German Democratic Republic (GDR; german: Deutsche Demokratische Republik, , DDR, ), was a state that existed from 1949 to 1990 in eastern Eastern may refer to: Transportation *China Eastern Airlines, a current ...
, which drafted its own constitution in 1949 and would not accept the Basic Law until
German reunification German reunification (german: Deutsche Wiedervereinigung) was the process in 1990 in which the German Democratic Republic German(s) may refer to: * Germany (of or related to) **Germania (historical use) * Germans, citizens of Germany, peop ...
in 1990.


On 27 November 2010, Iceland held an election for a constitutional assembly, with 522 people competing for 25 delegate seats. The assembly, in session for four months from early April until late July 2011, drafted a new constitution and passed it unanimously with 25 votes and no abstentions. On 20 October 2012 the parliament put the bill to a national referendum, in which 67% of the voters supported the bill. Further, 67% of the voters supported equal voting rights (one person, one vote) and 83% supported national ownership of natural resources, two key provisions of the bill. Parliament has failed to ratify the bill, however, inviting accusations that the political class is trying to thwart the will of the people by disrespecting the result of the 2012 constitutional referendum.


Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel (Great Britain and Ireland), North Channel, the Irish Sea ...

, the government elected in March 2011 has committed to establishing a " constitutional convention" to recommend
constitutional amendments A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law, it is a rule Rule or ruling may refer to: Human activity * The exercise of political ...
on six specified issues and others it may consider; the government has separately promised amendments on five other issues.


The Constituent Assembly of
India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi Hindi (Devanagari: , हिंदी, ISO 15919, ISO: ), or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi (Devanagari: , ISO 15919, ISO: ), is an Indo-Aryan language spoken chiefly in Hindi Belt, ...

was elected to write the
Constitution of India The Constitution of India (IAST The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST) is a transliteration scheme that allows the lossless romanisation Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the sci ...

Constitution of India
, and served as its first
Parliament In modern politics and history, a parliament is a legislative A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of ...

as an independent nation. It was set up as a result of negotiations between the leaders of the
Indian independence movement The Indian independence movement was a series of historic events with the ultimate aim of ending British rule in India The British Raj (; from ''rāj'', literally, "rule" in Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', ...
and members of the British
Cabinet Mission The Cabinet Mission came to India aiming to discuss the transfer of powers from the British government to the Indian leadership, with the aim of preserving India's unity and granting its independence. Formulated at the initiative of Clement Attle ...
. The constituent assembly was elected indirectly by the members of the Provincial legislative assembly, which existed under the
British Raj The British Raj (; from ''rāj'', literally, "rule" in Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the In ...

British Raj
. It first met on December 9, 1946, in
Delhi Delhi (; ''Dillī''; ''Dillī''; ''Dêhlī''), officially the National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi, is a city and a of containing , the capital of India. * * * Straddling the river, but primarily its western or right bank, Delhi ...

. On August 15, 1947, India became an independent nation, and the Constituent Assembly started functioning as India's Parliament.
B. R. Ambedkar Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar (; 14 April 1891 – 6 December 1956), also known as Babasaheb Ambedkar (), was an Indian jurist A jurist is a person with expert knowledge of law; someone who analyses and comments on law. This person is usua ...

B. R. Ambedkar
drafted the Constitution of India in conjunction with the requisite deliberations and debates in the Constituent Assembly. The Assembly approved the Constitution on November 26, 1949 (celebrated as
Constitution Day Constitution Day is a holiday to honor the constitution of a country. Constitution Day is often celebrated on the anniversary of the signing, promulgation or adoption of the constitution, or in some cases, to commemorate the change to constitutio ...
), and it took effect on January 26, 1950 — a day now commemorated as
Republic Day Republic Day is the name of a holiday A holiday is a day set aside by Norm (social), custom or by law on which normal activities, especially business or work including school, are suspended or reduced. Generally, holidays are intended to allow ...

Republic Day
in India. Once the Constitution took effect, the Constituent Assembly became the Provisional Parliament of India.


The Constitutional Assembly of Indonesia was established to draw up a permanent constitution. Its membership was elected in November 1955, and it met for the first time in November 1956. After four sessions, it failed to agree on the fundamental basis for the state. It was dissolved in 1959, and the original constitution imposed by presidential decree.(OTP)


The Constituent Assembly of Italy was established in 1946 in the wake of Fascist Italy's defeat during World War II. It was elected with universal suffrage, simultaneously with a
referendum A referendum (plural: referendums or less commonly referenda) is a direct Direct may refer to: Mathematics * Directed set In mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number th ...

about the adoption of Republic or the continuation of monarchy. Voters chose Republic, and the new assembly had the task to approve the new republic governments, as well as to write a new constitution. This was approved on 22 December 1947. It was dissolved on 31 January 1948, to be replaced by the new
Parliament of Italy The Italian Parliament ( it, Parlamento italiano) is the national parliament of the Italy, Italian Republic. It is the representative body of Italian citizens and is the successor to the Parliament of the Kingdom of Italy (1861–1943), the transi ...


Viceroyalty of New Spain New Spain, officially the Viceroyalty of New Spain ( es, Virreinato de Nueva España, ), or Kingdom of New Spain, was an integral territorial entity of the Spanish Empire The Spanish Empire ( es, link=no, Imperio Español), also known as t ...

Viceroyalty of New Spain
sent deputies to the Cortes of Cadiz, which enacted the 1812 Constitution. By the time this Constitution was enacted, an insurgency fighting for independence from Spain was already established. The first Constituent Congress of independent Mexico, known as the
Congress of Anahuac The Congress of Chilpancingo ( es, Congreso de Chilpancingo), also known as the Congress of Anáhuac, was the first, independent congress that replaced the Assembly of Zitácuaro, formally declaring itself independent from the Spanish crown. It wa ...
, was first gathered in
Chilpancingo Chilpancingo de los Bravo (commonly shortened to Chilpancingo; ; Nahuatl: Chilpantsinko) is the capital and second-largest city of the state of Guerrero, Mexico Mexico ( es, México ; Nahuan languages: ), officially the United Mexican S ...

whilst the war of independence was still ongoing. During the opening of Congress,
José María Morelos José María Teclo Morelos Pérez y Pavón () (30 September 1765 – 22 December 1815) was a Mexican priest and revolutionary rebel leader who led the movement, assuming its leadership after the execution of in 1811. Morelos and are credite ...
outlined its program in a document called ''
Sentimientos de la Nación
Sentimientos de la Nación
'' (Feelings of the Nation), which was the first antecedent of the varios Constitutions of Mexico. Being persecuted by
royalist A royalist supports a particular monarch A monarch is a head of stateWebster's II New College DictionarMonarch Houghton Mifflin. Boston. 2001. p. 707. Life tenure, for life or until abdication, and therefore the head of state of a monarchy. ...
troops, the Congress fled Chilpancingo and gathered in
Apatzingán Apatzingán (in full, Apatzingán de la Constitución) is a city and its surrounding municipalities of Mexico, municipality, in the west-central region of the political divisions of Mexico, Mexican state of Michoacán. Geography The Municipality o ...
. On October 22, 1814, the Congress enacted the Constitutional Decree for the Liberty of Mexican America (''Decreto Constitucional para la Libertad de la América Mexicana''), known as the Constitution of Apatzingán. The 1814 Constitution entered into force in the territories dominated by the insurgents, but as the war continued and the first insurgent leaders (like Morelos) were defeated, it was largely forgotten. After independence was consummated on September 27, 1821, and based on the ''
Plan de Iguala The Plan of Iguala, also known as The Plan of the Three Guarantees ("Plan Trigarante") or Act of Independence of North America, was a revolutionary proclamation promulgated on 24 February 1821, in the final stage of the Mexican War of Independence ...
'' and the
Treaty of Córdoba The Treaty of Córdoba established Mexican independence from Spain , * gl, Reino de España, * oc, Reiaume d'Espanha, , , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = ...
, the Provisional Governing Junta was stablished. The Junta proclaimed the Act of Independence of the Mexican Empire and acted as a ''de facto'' legislative assembly until February 24, 1822, when the Constituent Congress was gathered. On May 19, 1822, the Constituent Congress proclaimed
Agustín de Iturbide Agustín Cosme Damián de Iturbide y Arámburu (; 27 September 178319 July 1824), also known as Augustine of Mexico, was a Mexican army The Mexican Army ( es, Ejército Mexicano) is the combined land Land is the solid surface of the Eart ...

Agustín de Iturbide
as Emperor. The relations between Emperor and Congress were always problematic, a situation that led to the dissolution of Congress by Iturbide on October 31, 1822, without a formal Constitution being enacted. After the dissolution of Congress, Iturbide created the National Instituent Junta, which enacted the Provisional Political Bylaws of the Mexican Empire on December 18, 1822. The dissolution of Congress had resulted in an armed revolution under the ''Plan de Casa Mata'', which called for the establishment of a Federal Republic and for the restoration of the Constituent Congress. Iturbide was forced to abdicate and he reinstalled the Constituent Congress. The Congress then created a provisional government, called the
Triumvirate A triumvirate ( la, triumvirātus) or a triarchy is a political regime ruled or dominated by three powerful individuals known as triumvirs ( la, triumviri). The arrangement can be formal or informal. Though the three are notionally equal, this ...
, and enacted the Constituent Act of the Mexican Federation, by which the former Provinces of Mexico were transformed into free and sovereign States. After this, a Constituent Congress was formed with the participation of the States and it enacted the
1824 Constitution The Federal Constitution of the United Mexican States (1824–1864), United Mexican States of 1824 ( es, Constitución Federal de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos de 1824) was enacted on October 4 of 1824, after the overthrow of the First Mexican Empi ...
. Many disputes aroused between federalists and centralists, which resulted in political instability and in 1836 the ''
Siete Leyes ''Las Siete Leyes'' (, or Seven Laws were a series of constitutional changes that fundamentally altered the organizational structure of Mexico, ending the First Mexican Republic, first federal period and creating a unitary republic, the Centralis ...
'' (Seven Laws) were enacted. The ''Siete Leyes'' dissolved the federation and created a unitary republic, but that ended in 1846 when the Constitutive and Reforms Act was enacted and the 1824 Constitution, and thus the federation, was restored. On October 16, 1854, President
Juan Álvarez
Juan Álvarez
, under the '' Plan de Ayutla'', decreed the formation of another Constituent Congress, which met in 1856. During the presidency of
Ignacio Comonfort Ignacio Gregorio Comonfort de los Ríos (; 12 March 1812 – 13 November 1863), known as Ignacio Comonfort, was a Mexican politician and soldier. He became President of Mexico in 1855 after the outbreak of the Plan of Ayutla, Revolution of Ayutla ...

Ignacio Comonfort
, the Constituent Congress enacted the 1857 Constitution, which was liberal in character. The Constitution was not well-received by the church and Mexican conservatives, and the ''Plan de Tacubaya'' called for its derogation. This events led to the
Reform War The War of Reform ( es, Guerra de Reforma) in Mexico Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any gro ...
, which the liberals won, then restoring the 1857 Constitution and adding to it the
Reform Laws The Reform laws were a set of anticlerical laws enacted in Mexico between 1855 and 1863, during the governments of Juan Alvarez, Ignacio Comonfort and Benito Juárez that were intended to limit the privileges (''fueros'') of the Roman Catholic C ...
. After the
Porfiriato The Porfiriato is a term given to the period when General Porfirio Díaz ruled Mexico Mexico ( es, México ; Nahuan languages: ), officially the United Mexican States (; EUM ), is a List of sovereign states, country in the southern port ...
, and whilst the
Mexican Revolution The Mexican Revolution ( es, Revolución Mexicana, 1910–1920) was a major revolution In political science Political science is the scientific study of politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated w ...
was still being fought, President
Venustiano Carranza José Venustiano Carranza De La Garza (; 29 December 1859 – 21 May 1920) was one of the main leaders of the Mexican Revolution, whose victorious northern revolutionary Constitutional Army, Constitutionalist Army defeated the counter-revolution ...

Venustiano Carranza
formed a Constituent Congress, which met in
Querétaro Querétaro (), officially the Free and Sovereign State of Querétaro ( es, Estado Libre y Soberano de Querétaro, links=no; Otomi language, Otomi: ''Hyodi Ndämxei''), is one of the Political divisions of Mexico, 32 federal entities of Mexico. I ...
and enacted the still-current Political Constitution of the United Mexican States of 1917.


Nepal had two
Constituent assemblies Constituent or constituency may refer to: In politics * Electoral district or constituency * ''Constituent'', an individual voting, voter within an electoral district (constituency) * Advocacy group or constituency * Constituent assembly * Entity ...

Constituent assemblies
, the last one being elected after its
failed to deliver a constitution, despite multiple extensions. It also served as the country's parliament. Finally Nepal had made constitution with 89% majority. Nepal has adopted Federalism since.


The Great Sejm (also known as ''Four-Year Sejm'') was held between 1788 and 1792. Its principal aim became to restore sovereignty to, and reform, the
Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth politically and economically. These attempts were made by writing
Constitution of 3 May 1791 The Constitution of 3 May 1791 ( pl, Konstytucja 3 maja; Belarusian: ''Канстытуцыя 3 мая'', transcription: ''Kanstytucyja 3 maja''; Balerusian Taraškievica: ''Канстытуцыя 3 траўня'', transcription: ''Kansty ...
that was designed to redress long-standing political defects of the Commonwealth and its system of
Golden Liberties Golden Liberty ( la, Aurea Libertas; pl, Złota Wolność, lt, Auksinė laisvė), sometimes referred to as Golden Freedoms, Nobles' Democracy or Nobles' Commonwealth ( pl, Rzeczpospolita szlachta, Szlachecka or ''Złota wolność szlachecka'') wa ...
. The constitution did not go into effect because of the Polish-Russian War of 1792 and the
Third Partition of Poland The Third Partition of Poland (1795) was the last in a series of the Partitions of Poland The Partitions of Poland were three partition (politics), partitions of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth that took place toward the end of the 18th cen ...


The Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas or ''Filipinas'' ), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas), * bik, Republika kan Filipinas * ceb, Republika sa Pilipinas * cbk, República de Filipinas * hil, Republik ...

The Philippines
has had several conventions: * 1898 - drafted the 1898
Malolos Constitution The Political Constitution of 1899 ( es, Constitución Política de 1899), informally known as the Malolos Constitution, was the constitution of the First Philippine Republic. It was written by Felipe Calderón y Roca and Felipe Buencamino as a ...
, the basic law of the
First Philippine Republic The Philippine Republic ( es, República Filipina), more commonly known by historians as the First Philippine Republic or the Malolos Republic, was a polity in the Philippines. It was established by the promulgation of the Malolos Constitutio ...
, the first constitutional republic in Asia. The drafted constitution was written by Felipe Calderón y Roca and Felipe Buencamino as an alternative to a pair of proposals to the
Malolos Congress , officially the ( tl, Lungsod ng ), is a and capital of the province A province is almost always an administrative division within a country or state. The term derives from the ancient Roman '' provincia'', which was the major territor ...

Malolos Congress
by Apolinario Mabini and Pedro Paterno. After a lengthy debate in the latter part of 1898, it was enacted on 21 January 1899. * 1935 – to draft a constitution to create the autonomous Commonwealth of the Philippines under the U.S. Tydings–McDuffie Act. The constitution was also used in the 3rd Republic (1946) until the passage of the 1973 constitution. Members were elected through the 1934 Philippine Constitutional Convention election * 1971 – to draft a revised constitution to replace the old U.S. 1935 Philippine Constitution, 1935 Philippine constitution. Members were elected through the 1970 Philippine Constitutional Convention election. The system of government changed from presidential to parliamentary to presidential-parliamentary (in 1984 amendment). The constitution lasted until the downfall of Ferdinand Marcos in 1986 and Corazon Aquino appointed members to draft the 1987 Constitution through a Constitutional Commission.


The Russian Constituent Assembly was established in Russia in the wake of the October Revolution of 1917 to form a new constitution after the overthrow of the Russian Provisional Government.

Sri Lanka

The Sri Lankan Parliament approved the creation of a Sri Lankan Constitutional Assembly on March 9, 2016 proposed by Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe. The assembly will draft a new constitution for Sri Lanka.


Constituent Assembly of Turkey was established in 1961 after the 1960 Turkish coup d'état to prepare a democratic Turkish Constitution of 1961, constitution. The constitution was prepared and approved by the voters in a referendum of 1961.

United States


The Philadelphia Convention, U.S. Constitutional Convention drafted the still-current United States Constitution in 1787. Its delegates were appointed by the states, not directly elected, and not all states sent delegates; moreover, the Convention was originally charged with drafting amendments to the Articles of Confederation rather than a new constitution. The US Constitution contains no provision for its own replacement (and because of the presence of entrenched clauses it cannot be revoked through an amendment). Article Five of the United States Constitution, Article V of the Constitution does permit Congress to appoint a Convention to propose amendments to the United States Constitution, national constitutional convention to propose amendments but it has never done so. While Congress has the option to submit both its own proposals for amendments and those of a national convention to State ratifying conventions, state conventions rather than the state legislatures for ratification; this process has been used only once (for the Twenty-first Amendment to the United States Constitution, Twenty-first Amendment).


A long tradition in the use of constituent assemblies exists at the state level of Constitutionalism. In fact, constituent assemblies met in the states before the formation of the Federal Constitution in 1787 as well as after its ratification. Since 1776 nearly 150 state constitutional conventions have met to draft or revise state constitutions. These early state constitutional conventions frequently did not use procedural steps like popular ratification that became commonplace in the mid-19th century. Yet they were considered to be constituent assemblies that exercised their authority as that of the people. As ''American Sovereigns: The People and America's Constitutional Tradition Before the Civil War'' by Christian G. Fritz notes:.
"A legitimate constitution depended on whether the sovereign people authorized it, not whether a particular procedure was used or whether revolutionary conventions were free of other responsibilities, such as passing ordinary legislation. It was the people as the sovereign who authorized drafting those first [state] constitutions that gave them their legitimacy, not whether they used procedures that matched what was later understood to be necessary to create fundamental law."
American state constituent assemblies in the 19th and 20th centuries reflected many qualities of a citizen's movement. From the start of state American constitution-making, delegates to constitutional conventions studied earlier state models of constitutions. They often self-consciously "borrow[ed]" constitutional text and provisions from other states. They often used in their drafting and debates compact and pocket-sized compilations of all the existing American constitutions, so that the constituent's assembly could draw upon the latest in constitutional design. The powers of these state constituent assemblies were also highly contested, with some claiming that they had unlimited legal power and others claiming that they must operate within the pre-existing legal landscape. In the end, a common law of constituent power emerged which held that elected constituent assemblies had limited powers. Several U.S. state, U.S. states have held multiple conventions over the years to change their particular State constitution (United States), state's constitutions. * Missouri has held four, in 1820, 1865, 1875 and 1945. * Michigan has held four, in 1835, 1850, 1908 and 1963. * Massachusetts has held six, in Massachusetts Constitutional Convention of 1778, 1778, Massachusetts Constitutional Convention of 1779–1780, 1779–80, 1820–21, Massachusetts Constitutional Convention of 1853, 1853, 1917–18, and most recently 2016. * The Constitution of New York has been amended, or re-established de novo, through nine Constitutional Conventions: in 1776–1777, 1801, 1821, 1846, 1867–1868, 1894, 1915, 1938, and 1967; a Constitutional Commission in 1872–1873; and a Judicial Convention in 1921. * Vermont's Constitution of Vermont (1777), first constitution was drafted by a convention that met in July 1777 and revised by a convention that met in 1786, both of these conventions occurring when Vermont was still independent of the United States. Vermont was Admission to the Union, admitted into the United States in 1791 and its government continued to function under the 1786 constitution. Two years later in 1793 held another convention to bring some provisions of its constitution into line with the Constitution of the United States. * Virginia Conventions have included six unlimited meetings. Constitutions were promulgated by fiat in 1776, 1864 and 1901–02, and ratified by referendum in 1829–30, 1850, and 1868. Limited Conventions and Constitutional Commissions resulting in revisions were held in 1927, 1945, 1956 and 1968. Subsequently, the state legislature proposes amendments that are ratified in popular referendum.Dinan, John. "The Virginia State Constitution: a reference guide", , 2006, pp. 8–24.

Countries without an entrenched constitution

A few countries do not have an Constitution#Entrenchment, entrenched constitution which can be amended by normal legislative procedures; the Constitution of the United Kingdom, United Kingdom, Constitution of New Zealand, New Zealand and Basic Laws of Israel, Israel are examples. In these countries there is no need to call constituent assemblies, and no provision to do so, as the legislature can effectively modify the constitution. Although is lacks a written constitution, the United Kingdom has had several conventions at the subnational level including: * Northern Ireland Constitutional Convention (1975–1976) – a failed attempt to find a solution to the status of Northern Ireland. * Scottish Constitutional Convention (1989) – produced a plan for Scottish Devolution in the United Kingdom, devolution. The constitution of New Zealand consists of a collection of statutes (Acts of Parliament), Treaties, Orders-in-Council, Letters Patent, decisions of the Courts and unwritten constitutional conventions. Because it is not supreme law, the constitution is comparatively easy to reform, requiring only a majority of Members of Parliament to amend it. The constitutional law of Israel is determined by the Knesset which, since 1949, serves as the country's ongoing constituent assembly. The Knesset has the power to create Basic Laws of Israel, laws which are entrenched legislation and will become part of a "future" constitution of Israel, as well as "regular" statutory legislation.

See also

*List of constituent assemblies *Convention Parliament (England), Convention parliament *Constituent Cortes *National Constituent Assembly (disambiguation) *Third Dáil, also called the Constituent Assembly


{{Authority control
Constituent assemblies,