Hi all, thought I would share some fascinating history on the national day of Poland, which is today!
It is a little known fact that the Polish Constitution of 3rd of May 1791 was Europe's first and the world's second modern written national constitution, after the United States Constitution that had come into effect in 1789. The Polish 3rd May Constitution combined a monarchical republic with a clear division of executive, legislative, and judiciary powers.
The Polish Constitution of 3rd of May was inspired by the ideals of the American Independence War, as many Poles had fought in that war and became war heroes, and then returned to Poland to help implement these political advancements in their home country, namely among them was Tadeusz Kościuszko. A close friend of Thomas Jefferson's, with whom he shared ideals of human rights, Kościuszko wrote a will in 1798, dedicating his U.S. assets to the education and freedom of the U.S. enslaved peoples.
The Polish Constitution extended personal security—neminem captivabimus, the Polish version of habeas corpus protection—to the bourgeoisie and minorities including Jews. Unfortunately the Polish Constitution of 3rd May did not last long as the reactionary powers of Prussia, Russia, and Austria soon partitioned Poland and dissolved the Constitution.
The 3rd May anniversary of its adoption has been observed as Poland's most important civil holiday since Poland regained her independence in 1918. Its importance for the Polish people has been compared to that of 4 July to the Americans.
Happy Święto Narodowe Trzeciego Maja!