The Guide to Drafting a Successful Constitution


Nov 15, 2005
Drawing Board
Title: The Guide to Drafting a Successful Constitution

Author: Wejer, a.k.a. Martin Lundqvist

Date: 29th December 2009

About this guide

This guide will make an in-depth analysis on the options available when drafting a constitution. It includes both criticism and praise of each choice, as well as game-play tips & strategies that best utilize the available options.


This guide is *not* intended to be used outside of the game of Civilization IV: Colonization, and will not discuss whatever the constitutional options below are moral, just or in anyway desirable in a real-life constitution.


After ringing enough liberty bells in the town halls, and making sure the event is published in plenty of newspapers, you will most likely eventually attain 50% rebel sentiment, after which you have the option of Declaring Your Independence. At the same time, you also have the chance of writing your very own Constitution.

There are five (5) areas on which your Constitution will settle the future of your newborn country. These are on the topics of:

• Slavery
• Land Security
• Elections
• Natives
• Religion

Specifically, the choices are between:

• ”All Men Are Free” & “Slavery”
• ”Right to Bear Arms” & “Controlled Arms”
• ”Elections” & “Monarchy”
• ”Manifest Destiny” & “Native Rights”
• ”Separation of Church and State" & "Theocracy”

The Analysis

Stance on Slavery

The choices are between “All Men Are Free” & “Slavery”

“All Men Are Free” gives you +2 Indentured Servants in each & every one of your settlements on the map. This is supposed to symbolise the appearance of happy former slaves that are now free of the bonds of tyranny. Ideally, they should be equipped with Muskets & Horses and sent to the front lines along with everyone else.

Do note that “each & every one of your settlements” means exactly that: if you have a settlement with just one (1) colonist in it, then after passing this stance that settlement will now have a population of three (3)! The obvious approach to capitalise on this is to, just before declaring your independence; send out a number of ‘settlers’ in order to found a number of bogus-settlements that are not useful for much except giving those extra manpower. Naturally, when you have your Indentured Servants, you can ‘switch’ one of them with the original settler – that way you keep your investment, as well as the additional bonus of having one free Indentured Servant - of which you can do as you please.

“Slavery” gives you a +25% boost to raw material production, including: food, lumber, ore, cotton, tobacco, fur, sugar & silver. With patch v.1.01, there is also a +25% bonus on hammers, as well. This may seem like a substantial bonus; however there are some things to keep in mind.

First, since you have already declared independence you will have a 100% rebel sentiment in ALL of your cities – this automatically gives you a +50% bonus to everything you produce, including crosses, liberty bells, raw materials, manufactured goods, etc. Thus, the Slavery stance will really at best only increase raw material production by 16.7%. And as we can see, this is not very much when you look at it: in an average Farmed field, Lodged forest or Mined hill, which produces 4 food/cotton/tobacco, 6 lumber 4 fur and 4 ore respectively, you will only get an increase in production of one (1) unit per turn. Of course, if you have planned your game well, this can be increased with access to Expert Colonists to +2 food, +3 lumber & +2 Ore. However, you probably shall ask yourself how essential those extra pieces of trade goods really are, when you instead have the possibility of gaining an Indentured Servant that you can turn into a Soldier or Dragoon.

Stance on Land Security

The choices are between “Right to Bear Arms” & “Controlled Arms”

“Right to Bear Arms” makes all units with the “Colonist” profession gain +1 combat rating, resulting in a combat rating of three (3). Taken at face value, this stance may seem deceptively powerful: after all, how nice isn’t it with a “Colonist” that has the same combat rating as a “Soldier” but without the muskets required? However, when we think about it more closely, a totally different picture arises.

First, consider the fact that “Colonists” can Only Defend – that is, they cannot go on the offensive. Thus they are very much lacking when trying to engage the REF, since they have substantial attack bonuses against when attacking the cities you are trying to defend. The “Artillery”-unit is especially nasty, having a combat rating of 4 as well as a whopping +150% City Attack modifier. Even if your Colonist is fully fortified (+25% bonus), it is still 10 vs. 3.75 – hopeless odds. Having a +150% Fortress as well will not stop them either: their Artillery will simply bombard it to dust, after which it ceases to effectively function.

Of course, you do not need to have defensive Colonists in your cities: you can instead put them on forested hill-tops (+75% defence) in order to protect your powerful Dragoons, which do not receive any defensive bonuses. However, because of a rather insidious bug (of which I have heard of no fix at this date), this is of limited effectiveness – it is so that if a pile of two or more “Colonists” is attacked, only the first one will effectively stand up and fight. An example in game terms: if an enemy Dragoon attacks the first of three Colonists on the same tile on a grassy field & wins, the Dragoon will not only kill the Colonist he was fighting: he will also in the same sweep automatically assassinate the rest of the stack and neatly occupy the freshly conquered tile. Why this is so beats me – it is a bug after all. You have been warned!

Also, do note that Colonists are considered “Melee Units”, in contrast with Soldiers who are “Gunpowder Units”. This is an essential distinction when it comes to Military-Founding Fathers: Hernando De Soto, Paul Chomeday de Maissoneuve, Ethan Allan and Dom Pedro the First do NOT give bonuses to Melee Units, thus further marginalizing their effective deployment.

Actually I can only find one possible combination that makes this stance even passable: start by getting the Political FF known as “Chief Powhattan”: he gives a +50% Combat Modifier for all Converted Natives. Thus, if you have a couple of Converted Native Colonists, they will have a strength rating not of 3, but of 4.5, which is a clear improvement. Ideally, in order to get a lot of Converted Natives, you will want to play as the French Leader Samuel de Champlain (+100% Conversion Rate for Missionaries), as well as keep on good terms with the Natives in general & avoid wars. Getting other FF that boost relations and/or increase Conversion % will help you, here are some examples: Pocahontas (Political, gives +4 in Relations), Bartolome de las Casas (Religious, Conversion Rate +50%) and Roger Williams (Religious, Conversion Rate +25% & gives +3 in Relations). Also getting Paul Chomeday de Maissoneuve (Military, +1 Movement for Converted Native) may be a good idea.
Obviously, since Converted Natives cannot become Soldiers or Dragoons anyway, you will need to take adapt your strategy thereafter if you still want to use them in combat in the cases when you have a lot of them.

“Controlled Arms” gives you simply a +50% Liberty Bells production increase. This bonus is, of course, additive, similar to already discussed stance “Slavery”. Although you already have 100% rebel sentiment, thanks to your Declaration of Independence, having a steady supply of Liberty Bells will do wonders for your Political Points generation: by default, each Liberty Bell will give you five (5) Political Points. If you happen to have three (3) Elder Statesmen working in one city (and the chances are good that you do), generating 18 Liberty Bells by themselves, with the help of this stance, they will now generate 27 Liberty Bells – not bad! Of course, since you probably have a newspaper there already (+100% production), the increase is not as dramatic: from 36 Bells to 45 Bells. Still, 9 Bells for a city equals 45 PP: it is equal to 15 Hammers, if you instead had used the Hammers-to-PP-conversion option!

Of course the question is: what are you supposed to do with all the PP? One very reasonable use is to invest them into Military-Founding Fathers such as: Hernando De Soto (Free Grenadier I promotion), Paul Chomeday de Maissoneuve (Free Formation promotion), Ethan Allan (Free Ranger I & Mountaineer I promotions) and Dom Pedro the First (Free Veteran I & Minuteman I promotions, and +50% Great General Emergence). Obviously, getting your hands on those wonderful FF is better the sooner you get them, and will help a lot of turning the tide in your favour.

Also, do remember that Liberty Bells do NOT add troops to the Royal Expeditionary Force AFTER the Declaration of Independence, so there is no need to worry about that extra bit of liberty.

Stance on Elections

The choices are between “Elections” and “Monarchy”

“Elections” gives you a +100% bonus on FF point production, be it Political, Trade, Religion, Military or Exploration. Thus, instead of 20 Military Points per XP, you will get 40! And instead of getting 5 PP per Liberty Bell, you will get 10 PP! Thus my above example equalling 45 PP to 15 Hammers would be instead, with the “Elections”-stance, 90 PP or 30 Hammers – incredible! Obviously, the synergy with “Controlled Arms” above is huge to say the least, and if you choose one of them you would do well to pick the other as well.

There is not much more to say but: Wow! Needless to say, this stance is warmly recommended; even more so if your leader's name is "John Adams" (thanks to his +25% production of Liberty Bells)

“Monarchy” allow you to keep on trading with Europe after your Declaration of Independence – if you instead choose “Elections” above you would not have that option. However, before contemplating choosing this stance, you would do well to first check your tax rate %, as well as your list of “Boston Tea Party” non-tradeables. Chances are that in this late stage of the game, your tax rate is so high (50% +) that selling your goods to Europe simply is not worth the effort anymore. The one (possible) exception would be the Dutch Colonies’ Adriaen van der Donck, with his Charismatic Trait, which gives a +100% increase in time between taxation. Obviously, boot-licking and ring-kissing as Herr Adriaen is paramount if you want to continue having profitable selling ventures in Europe.

However, selling goods is not the only option there is: you can also BUY goods from Europe. Guns, Horses and Tools are all very cheap goods to buy in Europe, and much cheaper than if you produced them at home. Although, one may ask, if you so desperately needed war-equipment, WHY you did not buy those essential supplies BEFORE you issued your Declaration of Independence…

Stance on Natives

The choices are between “Manifest Destiny” and “Native Rights”

“Manifest Destiny” gives you a whopping +50% combat bonus versus Natives of all kinds, as well as the ability to ‘dominate native borders’, which I am not exactly sure what it is – although my guess is that all native settlements within your borders are instantly razed and abandoned, similar to when the native chief ‘gifts’ you one of his settlements if your borders grow too large. Nonetheless, if you are the warlike type, and see Native braves as little more than XP caches for your Dragoons, you are obviously going to enjoy smashing the natives with even more ease than before, all the while raking up those promotions so important in fighting off the REF.

This stance is especially effective playing Jose de San Martin of the Spanish Colonies: his Spanish “Conquistador” trait already gives him +25% against Natives, and his unique Resourceful trait (-50% XP for promotion) makes sure that his armies level up with stunning speed.

“Native Rights” helps you by ‘Strengthening Relations with the Natives’ – in other words, you gain a +5 attitude modifier for the better with all the remaining Native Chiefs.

The biggest reason why you would want to improve relations is to avoid uncomfortable two-front wars. For example: you may not want your far-western outposts to be raided by an “Annoyed” Native Chief using Armed Mounted Braves. However, such situations are rare: most of the time, you should welcome a bit of warring with the natives as a way to gain easy promotions for your Dragoons & Soldiers, before heading into battle with the REF – in that light, this stance pales in comparison with Manifest Destiny above.

Stance on Religion

The choices are between “Separation of Church and State” and “Theocracy”

“Separation of Church and State” converts all of your Crosses into Liberty Bells. This makes all your Churches into Town Halls and all your Cathedrals into Super-Town Halls! Adding Firebrand Preachers will naturally speed up this process.
Obviously, if you already have “Elections” and “Controlled Arms”, you will most likely choose this one, because of the synergy.

“Theocracy” converts all of your Crosses into Hammers. Hammers should primarily be used in building Cannon – building ships is just a waste, since the Man-O-War is so ridiculously strong that every attempt at sinking it will result in either complete destruction or, at best, a Pyrrhic victory. By comparison, Cannon gets a +100% bonus attacking cities, giving it a combat rating of 6, thus pretty much decimating any REF that dares conquer one of yours.

Do you need more Cannon, or that extra Military FF? It depends on your situation: analyze first before rationally acting on the situation.

If you have the patch v.1.01 of Slavery that gives +25% extra hammers, then obviously that will work nicely with Theocracy. Also, Dutch Colonies' Peter Stuyvesent's trait "Industrious" also gives +25% production for Hammers that will do quite well too.


Some apparent synergies emerge through analyzing the stances:

• “Elections”, “Separation of Church and State” & “Controlled Arms” do together generate an immense amount of FF-points, especially PP.
• “Monarchy” & “Slavery” allows generation of increased raw materials that one can sell in Europe, either directly or as manufactured goods.
• “Theocracy” & “Slavery” (v.1.01) allows high levels of Hammer Generation.
• “All Men Are Free” & “Right to Bear Arms” allows for newly-freed slaves to turn into cheap cannon fodder.
• “Manifest Destiny” & “Right to Bear Arms” makes sure that attacking Natives will never again raze your Settlements, regardless of the presence of Soldiers or Dragoons.

On feedback

Please post your feedback below or send it to my e-mail:

Naturally, in both cases I would expect your criticism to be civil in nature – otherwise, I will ignore it. However, all rational feedback is welcome.
Here is the Microsoft Word-document for those interested. It is the same text as above, only difference is that you may download it & read it anytime you want.


  • Guide to Drafting a Succesful Constitution.doc
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A very well considered guide. Do you have a fixed list of freedoms that you choose every time or does it depend on the game you are playing?

My regular selections are:

'All Men are Free' - and immediately convert the extra units into Dragoons

'Controlled Arms' - the extra Liberty Bells quickly push my global rebel sentiment towards 100% and a combat advantage of 50%.

'Monarchy' - I prefer to play a trading game right to the end, even where gold is no longer required. I also enjoy beating the King's blockade. Once you declare independence all European boycotts are lifted. The alternative ('Elections') is of little use to me as I will have already taken all the available FF.

'Native Rights' - this takes the natives out of the picture and allows me to concentrate on the REF.

'Separation of Church and State' - more liberty bells, especially as I build a lot of Churches and Cathedrals.
A very well considered guide. Do you have a fixed list of freedoms that you choose every time or does it depend on the game you are playing?

I actually play using mods, so these options aren't as relevant to me :blush:

But I reckon that if I would revert to using the original, then most of the time I would choose AMAF/CA/Elections/MD/SoC&S.

'Controlled Arms' - the extra Liberty Bells quickly push my global rebel sentiment towards 100% and a combat advantage of 50%.

Combat advantage - is that really so beneficial? I would prefer to either battle the REF out in the fields or when they have already garrisoned in the city (especially powerful if I have acces to Cannon!). Really, Artillery & Man-O-Wars have a nasty tendency to bombard defence bonuses to oblivion, and then attack with +150% city bonus! thus what one accomplishes in the end is just slowing the REF down - which isn't the best of tactics when Europe victory is eminent!

'Monarchy' - I prefer to play a trading game right to the end, even where gold is no longer required. I also enjoy beating the King's blockade. Once you declare independence all European boycotts are lifted. The alternative ('Elections') is of little use to me as I will have already taken all the available FF.

Of course, that depends on what you actually do in Europe. If you buy horses/tools/guns with indian gold, then this could *perhaps* be useful to some extent. Otherwise, you are just wasting your time with sky-high taxes.

'Native Rights' - this takes the natives out of the picture and allows me to concentrate on the REF.

I prefer easier XP for my Dragoons - unless you are playing the french and want to keep those converted natives coming.

TBH in many of my games I have already wiped out all the natives by the time I declare independence, so the choice between Manifest Destiny & Native Rights is mostly not relevant to me :D
...‘dominate native borders’, which I am not exactly sure what it is...

This simply means that any tile with a native cultural border (easily seen in the world builder, less so in the game) that gains some of your culture will be yours regardless of the culture ratio on the tile. Useful for preventing hostile natives (or REF units traveling overland for some reason) from approaching your cities undetected or on neutral roads. Probably increases the chance of a native settlement surrendering as well, as you suggest.

Hammers should primarily be used in building Cannon – building ships is just a waste, since the Man-O-War is so ridiculously strong that every attempt at sinking it will result in either complete destruction or, at best, a Pyrrhic victory

I couldn't disagree more. I'm new at Colonization, with only 2 games complete so far (one Dutch pilgrim, one Spanish explorer, now on my third as an English conquistador), but both of those have been revolution victories by eliminating all of the king's ships, leaving 20-30 units stranded in Europe.

The key is the rebel sentiment bonus. With the first wave, my ships of the line typically have 25-30% odds against the men-o-war, meaning the first one dies and the second kills the cripple, almost every time. By the second wave, the victors have generally healed up, and sentiment is higher, so odds go up to around 40-65%. By the end, with 100% sentiment, your brand new ships will have 50% odds against incoming men-of-war. Build a large enough fleet before independence, and that 2:1 kill ratio will win the war every time.
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