All constitutions involve a balance between preservation and transformation, that is, between retaining some elements of an old order and reaching toward a new one. It is in the first period of constitutional implementation that these tensions are worked out, and in which many constitutions fail. Drawing from the contracting literature, we identify two general sources of constitutional crisis or failure during the first period. We call these deficits of drafting and deficits of implementation: the first involves incomplete or imperfect text, and the second involves problems of political will and cooperation. Both reflect the immanent conflict between those factions and groups that benefit from transformation, and those that seek transformation.