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From the Editor
April 28, 2011   
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From time to time we refer to history; it’s like delving into our roots or the family photo album. Sometimes we look at such an album with family to recall people or events, and sometimes with friends to tell them something about us or give them a chance to get to know and understand us better. Someone once said that nations without a past have no future. You could add that they might also have problems with the present, because Cicero’s maxim historia magistra vitae est (history is life’s teacher) has not lost its relevance.

Almost every nation is convinced that its history was exceptionally complex and difficult, which only proves that nobody has ever traveled an easy road. Poland’s roads certainly resemble knots more than anything else, or maybe a labyrinth from which we sometimes found the exit and sometimes did not. In 1989 we found a fantastic exit to the free world. Looking back, there are few similar examples. One of them is definitely Nov. 11, 1918 when Poland reappeared on the map of Europe after a 123-year hiatus. Neither is there any doubt that the Constitution adopted by the Polish Sejm on May 3, 1791, 220 years ago, deserves a place on this list.

We return to this unique legal document not just on May 3 but whenever we speak about the Polish state, in political and legal discussions. Back then, at the end of the 18th century, in the face of a huge crisis that ended in disaster, we allowed ourselves to flirt with democracy. The politicians and thinkers of those times sought a life belt for Poland in democracy. Today we find it… in democracy, of course.

Poland’s political system has one institution that firmly guards the constitution: the president. On the 220th anniversary of the May 3rd Constitution, we asked President Bronisław Komorowski a few simple but fundamental questions: about history and the present day, about the state and the law, the constitution, his presidency and parliament, about the political condition of Poland today and, of course, about the future.
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