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V.

FrancoGerman War.

German

man Con

CHAP. and the other Southern States left to themselves,

this great work would be impeded and delayed.

We are now on the threshold of the great Franco-German War. This war is of such very recent occurrence, the causes which led to it have been so often discussed, that I consider it superfluous to do more than mention the fact of the

declaration of war, and pass on to the moment when The South the representatives of the South German States arrived States ad. in Versailles to negotiate for the admission of these mitted into North Ger- States into the North German Confederation. This federation.

step was a natural one, and it was patent to all that after the successes of the German army it would be impossible for the connection between North and South Germany to rest merely on offensive and defensive alliances. It was from Bavaria that the proposal came to place the Imperial Crown on the head of the King of Prussia, and to secure the succession to his descendants; and she thereby took the position to which she was entitled, of the second Power in Germany. The negotiations with Bavaria alone offered any difficulties, but these were soon conquered, and on November 24, 1870, the treaties were laid before the Reichstag for their approval, the necessary two-thirds majority in the Federal Council having already given their consent. The Reichstag agreed to the treaties; and also to the King of Prussia receiving the title of German Emperor,"?

" It is unfortunate that there is so much carelessness in England with regard to the title to be given to the German Emperor. He 18

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and to the North German Confederation being trans- CHAP. formed into the German Empire.' A deputation of thirty members of the Reichstag was then sent

1866-71. to Versailles to request the King of Prussia to accept the Imperial Crown; and on January 8, 1871, His Majesty solemnly proclaimed at Versailles the reestablishment of the German Imperial Dignity.

The treaties had to be submitted to the Assemblies of the four Southern States, and were agreed to by them. The exchange of ratifications took place with Baden, Hesse, and Wurtemburg before January 1, 1871, and the Bavarian ratifications were exchanged on January 29, 1871; but January 1 is considered as the day on which the new Constitution came into force. Elections for the first German Parliament, on the basis of the electoral law of 1869, were ordered by the Emperor, and the new Parliament met on March 21, 1871.

The first work was to gather into one document the three instruments which contained the Constitution of the new Empire: namely, the Treaty between the North German Confederation and Bavaria, of November 23, 1870; the Treaty between the North German Confederation, Baden and Hesse, of November 15, 1870; and the Treaty between the North German Confederation, Baden and Hesse, on the one side, and Wurtemberg on the other, of November 25,

frequently called Emperor of Germany: this is as absurd as if we talked of the King of Belgium, or the Queen of the English. The Crown Prince of Prussia received the title of Crown Prince of the German Empire.

G

V.

W

CHAP. 1870. A • Project of Law respecting the Constitu

tion of the German Empire,' accompanied by the 1866-71.

Draft of a . Charter of the Constitution of the German Empire,' was laid before the Reichstag by the Chancellor, and received the sanction of that body as well as of the Federal Council. It was published, and came into force on April 16, 1871.

We now leave the German Empire established by law. It apparently possesses most of the necessary conditions of power and durability. Past experience will prevent the hasty surrender of a prize won after a struggle of over half a century. Great successes, gained in common bind men together almost as closely as common suffering under great adversities. The Constitution, further, is not a mere provisional stopgap like that of 1815, nor one based on abstract theories like that of 1849. It was originated and elaborated by men admirably fitted for the task, who had great experience, a well-defined object, and past failures to guide and warn them. Not a session is allowed to pass without some improvement being made, some doubtful point being cleared up, some want supplied. The rivalry of the two great Powers, which had rendered fruitless so many former attempts at unity, had for some time ceased to exist. Undisputed head of Germany, the centre of political life and military power, Prussia could now develop and extend those principles for which she had so long contended. But the path of German statesmen will not be without many difficulties. A

V.

great struggle between the two most powerful adver- CHAP. saries in this world has commenced, and is but yet in its infancy. Social questions, which now move

1866–71. men far more than was the case in past times, are assuming most important dimensions. And is the political machine so perfected, and does it work so harmoniously, that, when the great master mind which at present directs it has passed away, its steady, uniform action will continue uninterruptedly ? Germany has gained her ideal ; has she surrendered nothing for the attainment of it?

CHAPTER VI.

Laws of Central Power-Charter of the Constitution-Presidency of

the Confederation—The Federal Council-Federal Court of Appeal - The Reichstag-Electoral Law-Railways and Finances—The Revenue of the Confederation—The Customs Union—The Constitution of 1871.

VI.

The

Power.

CHAP. THE new Confederation was no longer a Confedera

- tion of States (Staatenbund), but a Federative State

%. (Bundes-staat) composed of nineteen monarchies and 10 Con-. three republics, Bremen, Lubeck, and Hamburg,under 1867.

one Central Power. The Central Power consisted Central 1. Of the King of Prussia, as head of the Confed

eration, and Commander-in-Chief of the Federal Forces ; 2. Of the Federal Council, consisting of fortythree representatives of twenty-two different States ; 3. Of the Reichstag, a parliament elected by direct votes and universal suffrage. The Confedera

tion could not be dissolved; that is, no State of its Scope of own free will could withdraw from it. Obedience to the Central the Confederation and to its decrees and laws was to

be preferred to obedience to the decrees, laws, &c. of any particular State. If any law of any particular State clashed with, or ran counter to, a law issued by the Central Power, the former must be withdrawn.

the laws of

Power.

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