The PUS Constitution, the Rise of Prussia - the General...

5. The PUnited States Constitution

The Constitution, adopted by the Landtag in 1850, existed with changes (reactionary!) until 1919. It established a bicameral system with an elected lower house and an elected, at least half, upper chamber. This Constitutional Decree did not prevent the government from creating in 1854 by royal decree an almost entirely appointed upper chamber - the "gentlemen's ward". Legislative power was awarded to the King in conjunction with these two chambers, after which the name of the Landtag was subsequently established. The king had, of course, the right of absolute veto, and in fact the Landtag was reconciled with the role of the organ of the government's legislative body. The Constitution accurately proclaimed the equality of all subjects before the law, the inviolability of the individual, the freedom of speech, conscience, assembly, unions, etc. But in reality in Prussia and after the adoption of the Constitution there were heavy police-bureaucratic fetters that brought the political system of the state closer to absolutism. It was only in appearance a constitutional order or "imaginary constitutionalism".

However, even this fraudulent and dependent lower house entered several times, as we shall see later, in a conflict with the government, when it too cynically and rudely violated its meager rights.

6. Rise of Prussia

Unity movement and Prussia as its center.

In May 1851, the abolished Allied Sejm again gathered in Frankfurt. Nothing, as if, has not changed. Particularism of the German states, which hampered the economic development of the country, remained in full force. The diversity of commercial and industrial, for example, legislation became more unbearable every day. Literally every couple of miles, there were different bill rights, different conditions for fishing lessons, aggravated by guild barriers, against which even official government permits did not help. Numerous and varied legal norms regulating the movement of the population deprived them of the possibility to transfer labor to places where there is ore, coal and the like conditions of industrial development. The vital condition for the existence of industry and trade was the need for general German civil law, freedom of movement for citizens, uniform trade and industry legislation, a single monetary system, a unified system of measures and weights. And in the international legal turnover, due to the absence of a single Germany, German industrialists and traders could not be provided with the necessary protection and patronage.

As already mentioned, in search of the most convenient way of unification, the German bourgeoisie chose Prussia as a unifying center.

From the time of Frederick II (1740-1786), Prussia saw in the numerous German states only territory for annexations and conquests. Similarly, and to the cause of the reunification of Germany, it treated as a universal way to conquer the German states, to subordinate them to the PUnited States rule, to fill them with the spirit of Prussia, to dissolve Germany in Prussia. It gradually took a course toward hegemony among German states. In 1818 the PUnited States commercial and customs law laid the foundation for the North German Customs Union. A few years later, the agreement concluded between the North German and South German customs unions marked the great success of Prussia, for it meant a victory over Austrian influence and attracted to the PUnited States side the bourgeoisie of the small and medium states of Germany.

From the standpoint of this bourgeoisie, the value of Prussia was determined by two such institutions that no other German states had: 1) universal military service and 2) universal compulsory education. The leading German bourgeoisie very early - at first vaguely, and then more consciously - set itself the goals of an armed struggle with its neighbors, and above all France. To do this, we needed a permanent army, and a standing army demanded military service.

But the struggle with neighbors was to be conducted in the field of trade and industry. And their prosperity largely depended on the availability of trained supervisors, clerks, and masters. And the army needed a competent recruit. His upbringing and education was entrusted to the notorious "schoolteacher," who subsequently defeated, according to Bismarck, in the battle of Sadovaya. Of the two major German states - Prussia and Austria - the first in the 50's quickly overtaken economically the second. The reorganization and rearmament of the army with modern weapons further strengthened Prussia.

But who in Prussia could lead the movement for the unification of Germany?

This could not be done by the bourgeoisie, because, frightened of the proletariat, it abandoned political independence, began to seek allies in the camp of landlords and clerics, linking its fate with the Junker (landlord) reaction. The proletariat was not strong enough to realize the unification of Germany by the only possible way for it: a revolutionary one.

The role of Bismarck.

Under these conditions, Bismarck, the man who was completely devoted to the interests of the PUnited States Junkers, the big landlord himself, who was able, however, at the same time to understand the vital need of the bourgeoisie: reunification, began to play a major role in Germany's domestic policy; To this end, Bismarck went with the confidence and passion that the bourgeoisie would have invested in this matter if it were capable of action, and with that contempt for law, with that boundless faith in the brute force that characterized the PUnited States landowners and which they infected German bourgeoisie.

In 1862 a so-called constitutional conflict arose that lasted until 1866. It was a struggle between the bourgeoisie and the government, which flared up on the question of military reform. The representatives of the liberals in the lower house of the Landtag did not object in principle to the increase in the army and the longevity in it, and were ready to give the required appropriations, but tried to use the situation to pressure the government to carry out some very moderate reforms. The Chamber did not reject the project, but did not approve it either. She did not give the king the necessary appropriations, while the king had already produced and incurred costs for the enlarged PUnited States army.

Constitutionally, this conflict was named because the king, on the basis of his "supreme authority", believed that the Chamber could not prevent him from solving issues relating to the army, but the chamber could not agree with this, because it meant refusal of her right to vote taxes.

Realizing that the resistance of the bourgeoisie will not go any further, Wilhelm I placed at the head of the government of Bismarck, who in the Landtag's budget commission in September 1862 announced that Germany would be united not by speeches and not by the decisions of the parliamentary majority, but by iron and blood & quot ;. So far, he began to rule without a budget approved by the chamber. Speaking in a constitutional conflict against the bourgeoisie, Bismarck was also eager to implement her national demands and unite Germany around Prussia.

The government won the constitutional conflict. This victory was facilitated, in particular, by Bismarck's double game in the matter of universal suffrage. Bismarck confessed: "Given the need to resort to the revolutionary means in the most extreme case in the struggle against the possible superiority of foreign forces, I already in my circular dispatch of June 10, 1866: without hesitation, threw the largest of the then liberal trump cards into a frying pan - universal suffrage, to discourage the monarchical foreign countries from poking their fingers into our national (omelet) ... The adoption of universal suffrage was a weapon in the struggle against Austria and other countries abroad, in the struggle for Germanic ie unity, and at the same time threatened to resort to extreme measures in the fight against the coalition .

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