¡Feliz Dia de la Constitución de la República Dominicana! Happy Constitution Day for the Dominican Republic. This holiday celebrated yearly on the 6th of November commemorates the signing of the Dominican constitution but, what is the significance of having a constitution day in the first place?
The signing of the constitution however came after a long list of historical events that defined Dominican culture. Prior to the island becoming home to two separate nations it was under the imperial rule of Spain and France (specifically, Spain having control over the eastern area and France having control over the western side), a split made to ease the tension of conflicts that could have arised from the race to claim land in the new world.
During Spanish rule over the Dominican Republic came the harsh colonialist practices like that of slavery. The year 1822, exactly 22 years before their constitution, saw independence from Spanish control over Hispaniola and the abolishment of slavery. This moment set the spark for what would later become a celebrated event.
This three-day-long celebration commemorates the Dominican Republic’s independence from its island neighbor Haiti in 1844. The history of the holiday takes place near the capital Santo Domingo in the town of San Cristobal which is said to be the birthplace of the Constitution.
Creatively enough, it was said to have been influenced by the American Constitution signed in 1789. Featuring components like making the country democratic and following a large liberal lean.
Every year following the signing in 1844 celebrated it as the country’s constitution day.
That question is then raised by why have a constitution in the first place? For starters a constitution is more than just a signed piece of paper. Rather it is one of the most significant documents any country can have. The usual structuring of a constitution is common across the board in several aspects but can definitely vary from document to document.
Constitutions although what some might regard as an upholding of older ways of thinking plays an important role in the society that it is over. If it has this ability to be changed or adjusted in any formal process it can be considered to be a living document. Time and traditions can change and the constitution can change alongside time.
These amendments serve to reshore the credibility of the document for the country that it is to uphold a lawful standard by.
Uniquely this constitution had not only stood the test of time but also that of a regime change when it went from a Presidential form of government to a Directorship in 1930. Usually when there is a change in the type of government system comes the establishment of a new founding doctrine so to amend the original to fit another cause is an unusual courtesy.
One of the most important components of any constitution is its framework. This is the listed outline of why in which the given system of government is to properly function. In Article 2 of the Dominican Constitution it outlines the position of popular sovereignty stating, “Sovereignty resides exclusively with the people, from whom flow all of the powers, which they exercise through their representatives or directly in the terms established by this Constitution and the law.” Meaning that this part of the constitution is outlining that the power of this document comes from the Dominican citizens.
Another part is in the endowment of rights to individuals which can be found in their Bill of Rights. These are specific to the citizens of that country and are designed to act as a sort of safe guard to stop the development of an oppressive government. Looking at the Dominican Constitution it endows rights applying to citizenship, human dignity, and right to equality to name a few.
In summary, a constitution is more than just some old signed piece of paper but rather a critical backbone needed to ensure a successful and prosperous government. So long as it stands the rights of its citizens will remain legally protected.