In 1639, the citizens of Connecticut, which consisted at the time of the three river settlements of Windsor, Hartford, and Wethersfield, adopted a document known as the Fundamental Orders as the source of their government. Although some modern historians have argued otherwise, the orders are considered by many to be the world’s first written constitution, thus earning Connecticut the nickname "The Constitution State." The document consists of a preamble and 11 orders covering everything from the establishment of a general assembly to the government’s right to levy and collect taxes. The preamble itself has been praised as an exposition of political principles worthy of comparison with the Magna Carta and the Declaration of Independence.
Whether the Fundamental Orders fulfill the requirements of a modern constitution has been a matter of some debate. Some have argued that because they contain no provision for their amendment, they cannot be considered a constitution. Others argue that any document that defines and limits a government is a constitution and that the Fundamental Orders did just that. But most have concluded that the Fundamental Orders did indeed do all the things that modern constitutions do, and that under them, for the first time ever, a people had created a government for themselves that conformed to the words they had written.
For more, see:
The Fundamental Orders of Connecticut and American Constitutionalism, Christopher Collier 21 Conn. L. Rev. 863 (1988)
Were the Fundamental Orders a Constitution? Albert Carlos Bates 10 Conn. Bar J. 43 (1936)
Connecticut’s First Constitution, E. F. Humphrey 13 Conn. Bar J. 44 (1939)
The Birth of a Liberal State: Connecticut’s Fundamental Orders, Hubert J. Santos 1 Conn. L. Rev. 386 (1968)