The Constitution and the Pursuit of American Happiness

We the People, Constitutional Ideals and the American Experience: A Bicentennial Perspective, symposium hosted by Angelo State University, 1987.


There are, as I count them, 164 countries in the world, and of these all but six (Great Britain, New Zealand, and Israel; Oman, Saudi Arabia, and Libya) have written constitutions. In that respect the United States is not unique. However, our Constitution is now 200 years old, and in this respect, we are very unique indeed. Of the remaining 157 written constitutions, over half have been written since 1974, a mere thirteen years ago. In a world where constitutions come and go with almost seasonal regularity, Americans have cause to wonder why ours should have lasted so long. To what can we attribute our good fortune?

Angelo State University