« ПредишнаНапред »
Meetings in Baden—The Vor Parlament'-Dissolution of the Diet
Revolts in Baden-Plans for a New Constitution Election of
Tue July revolution of 1830 passed by, as has been said, almost without notice; but in 1848 the long repressed bitterness and discontent found expression. 1818. The first symptoms of the coming revolution in Meetings Germany were visible in Baden, where meetings were held with a view of altering the present Constitution. The demands which were then made, and which were afterwards accepted as the Liberal
programme throughout Germany, were as follows: A German parliament, elected by and from among the whole male population; trial by jury ; freedom of the press ; arming of the people; equality of all religions; abolition of feudal burdens. The Diet at the first rumbling of the storm lost its head completely, and made concession after concession. The smaller States immediately followed its example, and granted all these demands, with the exception of that for a German parliament, which was beyond their powers.
The leaders of the revolutionary move- and proment, Itystein, Gagern, Struve, and others, met and revolution
formed a commission to prepare the way for a national representation. A preliminary parliament (Vor Parlament) was to be called together, formed of members elected from the Assemblies of the different States, to debate upon the best mode of obtaining a National Diet. The Diet endeavoured to anticipate the demands of the people by declaring every German State to be at liberty to abolish the censure; by calling upon the several Governments to depute delegates for a revision of the Constitution on a more national basis; and finally by decreeing elections for a German parliament. All these resolutions merely showed the weakness of the Diet, as the leaders of the new movement steadily pursued their course, and showed themselves perfectly indifferent to the proceedings of that body.
The disturbances which took place simultaneously at Berlin and Vienna forced the Governments of both countries to make the desired concessions, and they attempted to conciliate the popular mind by taking the chíef reformers into their ministries. While, however, the Government of Austria limited their concessions to matters of internal government, the King of Prussia went a step farther, and on March 18, after abolishing the censure and promising to call the Landstag together, he declared himself ready to replace the Confederation by a Federal State. This statement created considerable dissatisfaction and distrust at Vienna and other capitals ; it appeared as if Prussia were taking advantage of
Concessions of Austria and Prussia.
the disturbed state of Germany to further her own
1848. 31, in the Church of St. Paul. The several States the "Vor
Meeting of were most unequally represented. Prussia, for ex- mentample, sent one hundred and forty-one deputies, Austria two, and Hesse Darmstadt eighty-four. The majority were inclined to constitutional monarchical principles, but there was a large and active minority who desired to see a constitution framed on the model of that of the United States of America, introduced into Germany. It was determined that Plan for the Constitution of Germany should consist in a tional chief of the Empire, assisted by a diet composed of a senate and a representative assembly. All the demands made at Badeni were ratified, and it was decided that the future Constitution of the Empire should be settled by the National Assembly about to be elected, without reference to the several Governments. This was placing all power in the hands of the democratic party. The advanced party, led by Hecker and Struve, attempted to have the German Republic declared, and then the
of the · Vor Parlament'voted, but in vain. It was now Separation that the extreme party separated itself entirely from party from Gagern and the moderate reformers, and proceeded reformeis. to acts of overt rebellion, which took some time to suppress. No greater mistake could be made than to suppose that the majority, either in the · Vor Parlament,' or in the Assembly which it called into life,
any way imbued with republican principles. A committee of fifty was appointed to watch over 1848.
the affairs of the Confederation till the meeting of the new Parliament, and the "Vor Parlament' then
dissolved itself. Meeting of The delegates from each State, to the number of summoned seventeen, which the Diet had summoned to prepare
a new Constitution, had in the meanwhile met. But the Diet had practically ceased to live. It lingered on for a few months longer, but on the acceptance
of the office of Administrator of Germany by the Dissolution Archduke John, it resigned its phantom power into
his hands, and died unregretted.
The elections for the new Parliament were now proceeded with, and were aided by the several Governments. The terrible warning these latter had received from the great events in Vienna, Berlin, and elsewhere had convinced them that the only means of salvation was concession. The electoral machinery was simple. One deputy was to be
elected to every 50,000 souls by direct votes. Meeting of On May 18, the new Parliament, consisting of
three hundred and thirty members, met at Frankfort in the Paul's Kirche, and Herr v. Gagern was elected President. The democrats formed but a small party in this. Parliament. Till the Parliament had decided on the prince whom they would select for the head of the empire, it was necessary to appoint a
provisional holder of the office, and after an eight Archduke days' debate the post was offered to Archduke John
of Austria, who accepted it with the title of Administrator of the Empire (Reichsverweser). The Ad
1848. ministrator possessed no real power, and was a mere
pointed Adpuppet : in fact, in some States, such as Limburg and ministrator the Duchies, he was completely ignored.
empire. The new Parliament maintained the resolution Discussions of the · Vor Parlament' that it alone was to decide ment. on the Constitution. The discussions on the fundamental rights of Germans then commenced, and it soon became evident that little practical good was to be expected from this new assembly. Many of the members were professors, and being delighted at having an opportunity to employ their eloquence on abstract questions, they wasted many a valuable hour in hair-splitting, and word-catching. Over the first two words' every German,' in the fundamental law,there were discussions which lasted several hours.
In the meanwhile some active fighting had taken Revolts in place in the country, principally in Baden and its neighbourhood. The revolution which was fanned by Struri and others, and which made for the moment some head in the country, was soon crushed by the soldiery. The efforts of the revolutionary party were too isolated, their plans too hastily conceived and too weakly carried out, the sympathy they received too half-hearted, ever to have allowed their chance of success to be very great; while they afforded an excuse for the reactionary measures which the Governments, when recovered from their terror, afterwards adopted. We shall see that the