For over 200 years the United States and Poland have been bound by shared values and commitment to the principles of democracy, human liberty and the rule of law. The American Constitution of 1789 and the Polish Constitution of 1791 are enduring symbols of this special bond, which survived even duration of the long periods when Poland’s independence and liberty were denied (Joined Declaration by Presidents George Bush and Lech Wałęsa in 1991).
The US was the first country to adopt a modern and written constitution and Poland was the first such country in Europe to do so (with France being the third one).
Marian A. Korniłowicz, Esq. and Elizabeth M. Zechenter, J.D., Ph.D. delivered a lecture dealing with these Two First Modern Constitutions and their historical significance. The lecture discussed the principles of modern democracy and of JLS itizens’ rights as established by the US and Polish constitutions and explained the historical legal context in which the Polish constitution arose. While both countries had distinct historical roots and underlying legal and constitutional traditions, their written constitutions were grounded in several shared legal principles, many of which survive to this day. The lecture also examined Polish constitutional thought and showcased the Polish contribution to the modern international law.