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==Overview==
 
==Overview==
The Constitution was produced at the dawn of the Empire, by the First Empress and her supporters. It is a set of axioms which dictate how the Empire can be governed and the rights of the nations of the Empire and their citizens. Although it is possible to change the Constitution, it is intentionally difficult to do so and impossible until The Throne is occupied. Even then, the NPCs of the [[Scrutiny#Constitutional_Court|Constitutional Court]] must ratify any changes to the constitution or to the way it is interpreted.
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The Constitution was produced at the dawn of the Empire, by the [[First Empress]] and her supporters. It is a set of axioms which dictate how the Empire can be governed and the rights of the nations of the Empire and their citizens. Although it is possible to change the Constitution, it is intentionally difficult to do so and impossible until The Throne is occupied. Even then, the NPCs of the [[Scrutiny#Constitutional_Court|Constitutional Court]] must ratify any changes to the constitution or to the way it is interpreted.
  
 
==Purpose==
 
==Purpose==

Latest revision as of 10:43, 3 August 2020

Overview

The Constitution was produced at the dawn of the Empire, by the First Empress and her supporters. It is a set of axioms which dictate how the Empire can be governed and the rights of the nations of the Empire and their citizens. Although it is possible to change the Constitution, it is intentionally difficult to do so and impossible until The Throne is occupied. Even then, the NPCs of the Constitutional Court must ratify any changes to the constitution or to the way it is interpreted.

Purpose

The point of the Constitution is to ensure that Empire remains an enjoyable game to play. Senators have wide ranging powers to change the laws of the Empire, but the Constitution exists to reduce the chance that they use these powers to make the game less enjoyable. It inhibits players from reducing the complexity of the political system and tries to prevent them using undue power in the Senate to punitively victimize disenfranchised groups. Ultimately the Constitution limits the powers of players in the interest of keeping the game fun. Any attempt to change the constitution which we believe will adversely affect the enjoyment of the game will not be ratified by the Constitutional Court .

The Imperial Constitution

In concord with the representatives of our great nations, we declare the founding of our Empire(24). Let us be joined together by common destiny; to build a great Empire; to serve and protect its people; to let them prosper and achieve greatness and spread across the face of Creation together in unity.

Let this constitution set out the strong principles upon which our Empire will be founded; to serve as the solid base upon which we will build our glorious undertaking; and to mandate the responsibilities and duties of our people, our nations and our Imperial future.

By signing these accords of Empire we(1) agree to be joined in a single union to be governed in accordance with the principles of this constitution.

We shall be united in law and policy, but free to maintain the traditions that have made each of us strong. The nations of our Empire will be embodied by the spirit of an egregore, created to preserve its essential character. Our Empire will recognize as citizens those whose oath to accept the culture of a nation; to honour the virtues of the Way, and to support the laws of the Empire(2), is accepted by those egregore.

To these citizens we will guarantee dignity(3), freedom(4), and prosperity(5). Each citizen that owns land or property will tithe annually wealth equal to a single crown(6) to be used in service of the Empire that protects them. Citizens shall not hold more than one high office at a time and must exercise their powers in person(7); those whose virtue causes them to be offered numerous Imperial titles must choose between them. In this way no citizen shall accumulate so much responsibility that they consider themselves better than their fellows.

The Throne shall lead the Empire and represent her in all things. It shall be a beacon to her people and a terror to her enemies. Whenever the Throne sits in the great councils laid out in this constitution, then their voice shall carry the greatest weight(8).

The Civil Service shall serve The Throne and the people, and be bound in oaths of loyalty to the Empire(9). They will be civil in their dealings and treat each citizen by their virtues, without prejudice or favour regardless of wealth, nationality or title. They will choose amongst them those who will serve as magistrates, to ensure the law is a friend to no-one but instead the servant and the master of all.

The Senate shall ensure the good governance of the Empire. The Senate will assume responsibility for relations with other nations, for the creation of just laws and for the allocation of Imperial taxes as the Senate sees fit, by majority vote. The confirmation of the Empress's(10) right to occupy the Throne requires the approval of the greater majority of senators(11). Matters of similar weight(12) require similar consideration and the approval of the Throne and must be ratified by the magistrates to ensure that this constitution is protected(13).

Each territory of the Empire(14) will elect a single senator to participate in the Senate, according to the traditions of the nation that claims it. Territorial nationality shall be decided by vote of the existing Senate, where it is legitimately disputed(15).

The Military Council shall ensure the rigorous defence of the Empire. Each nation in the Empire will raise armies as directed by the Senate. The Senate will appoint a general for each army, but only where the will of the nation in this matter is not clear(16). The Military Council will execute the strategy of war without interference from the Senate. If the Throne finds complaint with the worst of their number then she may carry the burden of their office until an acceptable replacement may be found.

The Civil Service will ensure that those who soldier to defend our Empire will be equipped and provisioned to meet this challenge. Citizens who render two year's service to the Military Council will receive 50 acres of land or equivalent wealth or property if land is not to be had.

The Synod shall ensure the virtuous behaviour of the Empire. The Synod will remove from Imperial office those whose behaviour is deemed unvirtuous whether they sit upon the Throne; serve the people in the Senate or on the Military Council or in the Civil Service; or serve within the councils of the Synod itself.(17) The Synod will ensure the behaviour of individual citizens does not debase the Empire.

Those who stand in the Synod shall express the views of their congregation. The Synod will establish assemblies that each may know their virtue and select the most virtuous amongst them to lead. Voting in the Synod will be performed by such assemblies as are rightfully able to weigh the virtue of an action or individual, in accord with their nationality and authority. The civil service will render to these priests such liao as is needed to minister to their congregation. The Throne and those amongst them with the greatest virtue will be given True Liao to distribute as they see fit, excepting one dose which shall be rendered to whichever citizen has demonstrated the greatest prosperity, in service of the Synod.

The Conclave(18) shall ensure the fit and proper use of magic in the service of the Empire. They will identify those arcane practitioners whose arts work against the Empire, so that they may be condemned. The Conclave will accord a voice to those citizens who demonstrate command of magic and demonstrate the necessary commitment to the authority of the Conclave. The Conclave will appoint leaders who will assist in the allocation of such resources as are needed to further its aims; it shall be guided by fraternities of magicians under the general aegis of the Senate, and without interference from the Synod(19).

The Bourse(20) shall control access to those resources that are essential to the prosperity of any great empire. Appointment to the Bourse shall be established by auction and shall be free of all interference of the Senate, or from the Synod(21). Such resources as are already controlled by the Imperial nations shall remain in the careful custody of those Nations; those that are discovered or conquered after the founding of the Empire may be eligible to any Imperial citizens. The funds raised by the Bourse through distribution of its estates will remit what profit they can support to the Senate(22).

No coin may be accepted that has not been produced in the Mint(23) and which does not bear the rightful stamp of The Throne.

By these principles, councils, and virtues we agree to be governed in perpetuity; not as chains of unchanging servitude, but as inspiration to exalt us and drive our great endeavour.

Commentary on the constitution

  1. One copy of the Imperial Constitution was created for each of the eight nations present at the creation of the Empire. Further copies were created when Urizen and later the Imperial Orcs joined the Empire. All original copies of the constitution are stored in the capital in Highguard.

  2. The wording to “support the laws” rather than simply uphold or obey the laws is used to justify the requirement for all citizens to render all reasonable service to a magistrate when required.

  3. The guarantee of citizens' “dignity” is always invoked when citizens or senators attempt to propose motions or laws that would restrict or require particular dress codes or speech. It is occasionally seen as a rebuke for individuals who are perceived to be wasting the Senate's time with frivolous motions.

  4. The guarantee of citizens' “freedom” ensures that slavery of Imperial citizens is illegal throughout the Empire, but it also prevents incarceration for crimes committed, a punishment common in some foreign nations. The guarantees originally only extended to Imperial citizens, but the joining of the Imperial Orcs to the Empire was conditional on this protection being extended to all ‘people’. It required a constitutional vote of the Senate to change the interpretation of the Constitution such that that guarantee of “freedom” was taken to outlaw all slavery. In Winter 382 the constitution was amended as part of the Liberty Pact to define hylje and daeva as people.

  5. The guarantee of citizens' “prosperity” is presented by nations like the League and the Brass Coast as proof that the Empress intended citizens to be able to pursue their own wealth and prosperity without consideration for the Empire itself. It has been used countless times to rule unconstitutional motions and laws intended to raise additional taxes for the Senate or to seize control of the estates of the Bourse. As a result taxation remains fixed at levels laid out in the constitution.

  6. In the original document this amount was rendered as “a measure of silver coin” but was amended when Emperor Giovanni founded the Imperial Mint and the Empire moved to the modern currency of rings, crowns and thrones.

  7. “No citizen shall hold more than one high office at a time” expresses the clear restriction that no citizen can hold two offices of state at one time. All attempts to define individual Imperial titles and positions as outside this restriction have always been ruled to be unconstitutional.

  8. The phrase “their voice shall carry the greatest weight” has changed interpretation twice since the beginning of the Empire. In the Senate and the Military Council The Throne may veto any motion or vote that has just passed. They may vote normally in the Assembly of Nine but are able to cast an additional deciding vote in the event of any tie.

    The Throne has never held a position in the Conclave or the Bourse, which allegedly reflects the lesser status of these bodies compared with the Senate, Military Council and Synod. The Bourse does not take decisions as a body, but the Conclave categorically does. Critics of the current situation claim that The Throne's absence from The Conclave reflects the fact that the First Empress possessed no magical abilities; but this raises the prospect of how any occupant of The Throne who did not possess magical abilities might sit in council there. In theory The Throne might nominate a magician to sit in their place, but scholars point out that this would run counter to the spirit of the constitution which requires a citizen be present if they wish to act in their name.

    In all cases the clause that The Throne must be present to exert their powers remains pivotal. Emperors and Empresses have regularly been forced to choose in which council they will sit; although their power is considerable, it cannot be used after the fact.

  9. “Oaths of loyalty to the Empire” - this paragraph establishes the role of the Civil Service. These oaths are rarely spoken of in public, but they are believed to include powerful hearth magic that guarantees the probity of those who serve.

  10. Although the wording is the same on all copies of the constitution, citizens of any gender are able to assume the Throne.

  11. Most motions before the Senate are decided by majority vote of those Senators present. The “greater majority of Senators” requires the support of two-thirds of all the senators of the Empire, whether or not they are present or have even been elected.

  12. “Matters of similar weight” is taken to indicate any law or ruling that would change the constitution or its interpretation, or change the balance of powers between the different bodies of the Empire. The practical implication of this is that while the constitution can be changed, the Senate may only do so by a vote of the greater majority (commonly referred to as a constitutional vote).

  13. “Founding principles are protected” empowers the Magistrates to refuse to allow changes to the law and the constitution which are deemed to not be in accordance with the founding principles of the Empire. There have been three attempts by the Senate and the Throne to force through the implementation of laws that were deemed unconstitutional since the founding of the Empire; two attempts to increase taxation in the Empire and one attempt to limit the power of the Synod. All three attempts were firmly rebuffed by the Civil Service and were ultimately abandoned.

  14. The Civil Service use a combination of magic and essential geographic features like rivers and mountain ranges to identify a territory. These are divided into regions. The civil service define a “territory of the Empire” as any territory where the majority of the regions in the territory are under Imperial control. Any territory where the majority of regions are not under Imperial control does not receive representation in the Senate.

  15. The nationality of a conquered territory has only been disputed once in the history of the Empire, when the city of Holberg surrendered to the League, after the surrounding regions were conquered by Dawnish forces. The ensuing Senate vote confirmed that Holberg would be treated as a League territory. Attempts by Dawnish senators to introduce a motion to over-turn this decision in Dawn's favour were ruled to be unconstitutional, due to the absence of any factors that meant that Holberg's status was “legitimately disputed”.

  16. The “will of the Nation” is taken to mean the unanimous decision of the senators appointed to represent that nation in the Senate. Only where a unanimous decision cannot be reached does the appointment of the generals fall to a majority vote of the whole Senate.

  17. The Synod have in the past removed senators, generals, cardinals, civil servants and even an empress. They do not have the ability to remove the officers of the Conclave; neither do they have the ability to remove citizens from seats on the Bourse.

  18. These provisions regarding the Conclave were added during the reign of Emperor Giovanni the Peacemaker. Previous references to the Conclave were aspirational - “We shall establish a body of magicians to use magic to strengthen and protect the Empire.” It was not until Giovanni brought the Urizen into the Empire that the Conclave in its current form took shape.

  19. The Orders of the Conclave are created and dissolved by the Senate, rather than the Synod. The magicians who helped to form the Conclave were adamant in their belief that they should serve the Empire, not the Synod. In theory, a constitutional change could be used to grant the Synod powers over the Conclave, but to date no such attempts have been successful.

  20. These provisions regarding the Bourse were added during the reign of Emperor Giovanni the Peacemaker. Previous references to the Bourse were aspirational - “We shall establish a market to protect the economic interest of the citizens from those who would exploit or tax them in the name of good government.” The restriction on access to the resources is interpreted to mean access to the mines, forests and other resources which produce mithril, weirwood, white granite and ilium in large quantities, not the actual materials themselves. There are no legal restrictions on the purchase and sale of such materials in the Empire.

  21. Although the Bourse enjoys immunity from revocation (like the Conclave), its members are still subject to excommunication, as this power is considered to be used against the individual - not the office they hold.

  22. The paragraph about resources was added during the reign of Empress Mariika, who oversaw an extensive modification of the role and responsibility of the Bourse. She ensured that the profits raised by auctions in the Bourse went to the Senatorial treasury.

  23. In the original document this amount was rendered as “a measure of silver coin” but was amended when Emperor Giovanni founded the Imperial Mint and the Empire moved to the modern currency of rings, crowns and thrones.

  24. In the original document this wording was "In concord with the representatives of the great nation of humanity, we declare the founding of our Empire." It was amended by a constitutional vote in Spring 381.