Political institutions, to survive, must be shaped with a view to the society and culture of which they are a part. Laws and constitutions are not like seeds found in a mail-order catalogue. Nevertheless, in governance as in gardening, one learns from the experience of other people. 

The framers of the United States Constitution drew, of course, upon experiences from the public and commercial life of the American colonies. But they looked, as well, to the legacy of British constitutionalism, to the teachings of the Enlightenment, and to the lessons of history. In fact, while preparing for the Philadelphia convention, James Madison made notes on the lessons to be learned from the ancient and modern confederacies.

A. E. Dick Howard, Constitution-Making in Central and Eastern Europe, 28 Suffolk University Law Review, 5–16 (1994).
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