The First Constitution

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Background[edit]

In the two centuries after the coup d'etat by Clan Craig of Laphraoig that ousted Clan Douglass from the monarchy, Caledon's fortunes ebbed; the principality's social and economic dynamism was supplanted by pointless court intrigues that occasionally broke out into armed hostilities.

In the aftermath of the coup, the Mourhead sect of Clan Douglass fled to start Grand Duchy of Douglass, and rumors abounded that other nobles were thinking of trying their luck outside the Caledonian umbrella.

The Concord and the MacArthur Dynasty[edit]

Prince Simon I, who had ruled for over 23 years, had always been a mediocre ruler - which was several steps improved from his elder brothers, Bruce, Laurence and Roger, who had ruled among them for 14 of the most dissipated, corrupt years in the history of the Principality.

Simon had brought some order to the clan's workings - but he looked at his own children, and saw the extent to which they were a group of bickering bobbleheads, and realized that Caledon needed a major change.

He approached his regent, Colin MacArthur, and formulated a plan to usher the corrupt Derwent and Clyde branches of the Douglass clans into retirement (with a large land grant and a charter for several Douglass-owned enterprises to keep the relatives busy), the negotiation of a treaty with his long-estranged distant relatives in the Mourhead clan on the Grand Duchy of Douglass bringing those three systems into the Principality, and the turning of the monarchy over to Clan MacArthur of Inverloch.

It was not an easy process - it involved the careful delegation of power to a coalition of several clans in support of the MacArthurs (the Stuarts of Sutherland, Andrews of Leith and Adamsons of Dunfermline), but in the end it led to a successful turnover of power. Simon was broadly derided by the parts of the nobility that had been supporting one branch or another of Clan Douglass - but history has been kinder, christening Simon "Simon the Wise" not long after his death in 108.

Prince Colin VII has gone down in history as "Colin The Fair".

Stuart IV and the Tuiarn of Meirechoiad[edit]

Colin's son, Stuart, was 33 when he acceded to the throne. A graduate of "The Cloisters" at the Royal University of Caledon, he was among the first intellectuals, rather than warriors, to serve as Sovereign Prince (although like all Sovereign Princes, he'd served his customary term as an officer, in his case in the Marines) - and unlike earlier ones, like his uncle Laurence and great-uncle Robert II, he had an excellent sense for the practical in governing.

He'd also had extensive training in economics, and while not a "businessman" per se, had extensive contacts in the business community.

And Stuart realized that Caledon's chaotic laws and occasionally bumptious and power-hungry nobility did nothing for the economic or moral well-being of the Principality.

Before acceding to the throne, he'd written a seminal book, "On The Government", which stated a case for the need for a formal constitution. And a year after acceding, he called the "Tuiarn of Meirechoiad" - a gathering of key leaders from the nobility, business, the military and the various system parliaments, on Meirechoiad Island on Stirling.

While the nobles objected to the idea of a formally written constitution primarily on grounds of custom - it smacked of a lack of trust in the honor of nobles - Stuart (with help from his regent, Garrick Murdo) painstakingly engineered an agreement over the course of 45 days of meetings.

Those involved agreed to a three-part government:

  • The Monarchy, which would wield executive power and enforce the laws.
  • The Parliament, consisting of three chambers:
    • The House of Delegates, a popularly-elected body that enacts all spending
    • The Grand Senate, a deliberative minoritarian body that ratifies all treaties
    • The House of Lords, a body of nobles with a veto role.
  • A Crown Court, which became the repository of common law that made up the Constitution.

The legal proclamation of the First Constitution took place on 156-111.

Aftermath[edit]

The Constitution served to make government in the Principality regular, strictly limited, and predictable. This had immediate consquences for commerce; with the government focused on doing its job, and functional civil courts to enforce contracts, business started booming in the second decade of the 100s.

The MacArthur dynasty died out after 167 - but the legacy of a largely peaceful, orderly, fair and (by monarchy standards) free society had sweeping effects.

This article was copied or excerpted from the following copyrighted sources and used under license from Far Future Enterprises or by permission of the author.