Constitutional Preambles

More Than Just a Narration of History

While often overlooked as a mere introduction to a country’s constitution, a preamble may provide insight into certain issues that the framers were unable to work into the articled provisions. In many countries, these preambles are actually binding from a legal perspective and play a role in constitutional interpretation. This Article explores the language and content of five countries’ constitutions, beginning with the Untied States and France and moving on to highlight three other constitutions (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, and India) where the preamble has become of utmost importance. Preambles do not simply contain flowery introductory language, but are present to remind the reader why the constitution was approved in the first place.

The full text of this Symposium is available to download as a PDF.