A constitution is a set of laws that a set of people have made and agreed upon for government—often as a written document—that enumerates and limits the powers and functions of a political entity. These rules together make up, i.e. constitute, what the entity is. In the case of countries and autonomous regions of federal countries the term refers specifically to a constitution defining the fundamental political principles, and establishing the structure, procedures, powers and duties, of a government. By limiting the government's own reach, most constitutions guarantee certain rights to the people. The term constitution can be applied to any overall system of law that defines the functioning of a government, including several uncodified historical constitutions that existed before the development of modern codified constitutions.
Constitutions concern different levels of political organization. They exist at national (e.g., codified Indian Constitution, uncodified Constitution of the United Kingdom), regional (e.g., the Massachusetts Constitution), and sometimes lower levels. They also define many political and other groups, such as political parties, pressure groups, and trade unions. A supranational constitution is possible (e.g., proposed European Union constitution) but not always probable, depending on the structure of government to be laid out. The traditional absolute sovereignty of modern nations assumed in a constitution is often limited by binding international treaties such as the American Convention on Human Rights which binds the 24 American countries that have ratified it, and the European Convention on Human Rights which binds the 47 member countries of the Council of Europe.
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