• GERMANIC MIGRATIONS AND
  • FRANKISH KINGDOM
  • JOHANNES REUCHLIN
  • THE WEIMAR CONSTITUTION
  • W
  • INFLATION, REPARATIONS, AND
  • THE STRESEMANN ERA, 19231929
  • STABILIZATION AND LOCARNO,
  • CULTURE AND SOCIETY
  • ROAD TO DICTATORSHIP,
  • T
  • CONSOLIDATION OF POWER
  • THE NAZI TOTAL STATE
  • ULRICH VON HUTTEN
  • PERSECUTION OF THE JEWS
  • RELIGION AND THE CHURCHES
  • FOREIGN POLICY
  • W
  • THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN
  • INVASION OF RUSSIA
  • HITLERS PLANS FOR EUROPE
  • TURNING OF THE TIDE,
  • THE HOME FRONT
  • THE RESISTANCE
  • PHILIP MELANCHTHON
  • D-DAY TO DEFEAT NAZI GERMANY
  • THE HOLOCAUST
  • A
  • ALLIED PLANS AND CONFERENCES
  • DENAZIFICATION
  • POLITICAL PARTIES AND TRADE
  • LOCAL STATE FORMATION
  • PARLIAMENTARY COUNCIL AND THE
  • ECONOMIC RECONSTRUCTION
  • T
  • ERASMUS OF ROTTERDAM
  • BUNDESTAG ELECTION AND
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  • TRANSITIONAL YEARS AND
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  • OSTPOLITIK (FOREIGN POLICY
  • CULTURE AND SOCIETY
  • SOCIAL STRUCTURE
  • SCHMIDT ERA: SOCIAL UNREST,
  • PRINTING AND MEDICINE
  • THE KOHL ERA, 19821998
  • T
  • UPRISING OF JUNE 17, 1953
  • ECONOMIC SYSTEM
  • SOCIETY, EDUCATION, AND
  • RELATIONS WITH THE FEDERAL
  • R
  • CONSEQUENCES AND PROBLEMS OF
  • ECONOMIC UNIFICATION,
  • P
  • RENAISSANCE ART
  • UNIFICATION POLITICS AND ITS
  • FOREIGN POLICY
  • GOVERNMENT AND ELECTIONS,
  • HISTORICAL DICTIONARY A
  • A
  • Abwehr
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  • Allied Control Council
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  • Anabaptists
  • P
  • Anglo-German Naval Treaty
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  • Armed Forces (Wehrmacht)
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  • Army (Prussian to 1860)
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  • autarchy
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  • B
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  • Bavaria
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  • ANABAPTISM AND MÜNTZER
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  • Bismarck, Otto Eduard Leopold
  • blank check
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  • CHARLES V AND THE REFORMATION
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  • C
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  • Braun, Wernher von
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  • Breslau
  • The Bridge
  • THE THIRTY YEARS WAR
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  • Bundesrat
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  • C
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  • canton system
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  • Christian Democratic Union
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  • LITERATURE
  • Civil Code, German (Revised
  • Clausewitz, Carl von
  • Concordat of 1933
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  • cultured elites
  • D
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  • Diplomatic Revolution of 1756
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  • GOTTFRIED WILHELM VON LEIBNIZ
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  • Dual Alliance
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  • Düsseldorf
  • E
  • Edict of Toleration
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  • PIETISM
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  • A
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  • euthanasia
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  • F
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  • feminism, 18151945
  • feminism, 19452005
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  • G
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  • JOSEPH II AND REFORM
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  • R
  • FREDERICK III
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  • FREDERICK THE GREAT
  • SEVEN YEARS WAR
  • S
  • ECONOMY
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  • O
  • THE DANISH WAR, 1864
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  • I
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  • ART AND ARCHITECTURE
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  • T
  • THE QUESTION OF
  • LATE MEDIEVAL CULTURE
  • CONDUCT OF THE WAR
  • PEACE RESOLUTION, REFORM, AND
  • AN UNPLANNED REVOLUTION
  • N
  • POLITICAL PARTIES UNPREPARED
  • A REVOLUTIONARY PATTERN
  • WORKERS AND SOLDIERS
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  • A REPUBLIC PROCLAIMED
  • A SEVERE ARMISTICE
  • T
  • ESTABLISHMENT OF A REVOLUTIONARY
  • EBERT MAKES A DEAL WITH THE
  • THE SPARTACISTS
  • INTERPRETATION OF THE
  • A VENGEFUL PEACE
  • V
  • THE GOALS OF THE PEACEMAKERS
  • TERMS OF THE TREATY
  • WAR GUILT AND REPARATIONS
  • DENUNCIATION AND RELUCTANT
  • GERMANIC MIGRATIONS AND
  • Frankfurt Parliament

    lang=EN-US style='font-size:10.5pt;font-family:"Meridien-Medium","serif"; color:black'>(1848)

    The Constituent National Assembly that met in

    Frankfurt am Main during the REVOLUTION OF

    1848 formulated the first German constitution

    for a united and parliamentary state.

    The Frankfurt Parliament or National Assembly

    met on May 18, 1848, and lasted until March

    1849. The mass protests throughout the German

    states for constitutional change in response to

    the February Revolutions in France resulted in

    the appointment of a committee of 17 by the

    Diet of the GERMAN CONFEDERATION to prepare

    a revision of its constitution. At the end of

    March 1848 a preliminary parliament (Vorparlament)

    was established under the leadership of

    Heinrich von GAGERN, a government official of

    Hesse-Darmstadt and a former member of the

    Burschenschaft. A committee of 50 representatives

    from the different German states discussed

    the ways and means of establishing both national

    384 Frankfurt am Main

    unity and constitutional liberty for Germany.

    These liberal leaders then called for the election

    of a National Assembly. The Federal Diet (Bundestag)

    of the German Confederation then

    ceased to function.

    The Frankfurt Parliament opened its sessions

    on May 18, 1848, in St. Pauls Church under

    the presidency of Heinrich von Gagern. The

    member states of the old confederation were

    represented, and independent male citizens

    over age 24 were eligible to vote. A minority of

    non-German members (Danes, Italians, Poles)

    were also present. Among the more than 600

    members were Germanys most illustrious cultural

    leaders, most of them professors. They

    had the intelligence and enthusiasm to confront

    the issues that had divided Germans for

    such a long time: religious and cultural antagonisms,

    the rivalry between PRUSSIA and AUSTRIA,

    and the differences that divided those

    who favored a greater Germany that proposed

    to include Austria and those who favored a

    smaller Germany excluding Austria and under

    Prussian leadership.

    While Heinrich von Gagern was a leading

    advocate of a united Germany under Prussian

    leadership, the parliament also elected the Austrian

    archduke, John, as imperial administrator

    and executive head of the new nation. The

    archduke also had liberal sympathies and had

    married a commoner. But the main obstacle

    was that any change in the constitution of the

    confederation had to be approved by both Prussia

    and Austria, which was very unlikely. From

    late autumn 1848 the parliament was divided

    between the greater and smaller German solutions

    to national unity. Complicating the

    debates was the rebellion that occurred in the

    duchies of Schleswig and Holstein. While Danish

    nationalists wanted to make the duchies part

    of Denmark, the German nationalists wanted

    them to be included in the German Confederation.

    A Danish victory occurred, but the duchies

    were to remain semiautonomous according to

    the Treaty of London (1852). The struggle,

    however, demonstrated that the Frankfurt Parliament

    was powerless in foreign affairs.

    The constitution drawn up by the Frankfurt

    Parliament was a skillful compromise. The draft

    provided for a constitutional monarchy, a mixed

    form of government in which all the good features

    of monarchical, aristocratic, and democratic

    rule were present. The democratic feature

    was that the representatives were to be chosen

    by universal, equal, direct, and secret ballot. The

    German Liberals had drawn from the experiences

    of France, England, Switzerland, and especially

    from the United States. The federal

    structure of the constitution combined national

    unity and regionalism.

    Two principal obstacles defeated this attempt

    at unification. The structure of the new state was

    to be a compromise, a larger federal state to

    include German Austria and a smaller federal

    state under Prussia. This did not satisfy the Austrians

    because Prince Swarzenberg, who was the

    head of the Austrian government, decided in

    March 1849 to include all of the Austrian Empire

    into the new German state. This resulted in a

    modified constitution that provided for a hereditary

    emperor, direct elections, a ministry responsible

    to Parliament, and an Imperial Diet

    (Reichstag) consisting of an upper and lower

    house. The king of Prussia, FREDERICKWILLIAM IV,

    was elected emperor by the assembly, but he

    rejected the crown, declaring that he could accept

    it only from the princes. Then Austria and Prussia

    withdrew their representatives, which was followed

    by other states. Mainly the republican left

    remained, and they were locked out. Moving to

    Stuttgart, fresh uprisings occurred in BADEN, the

    Palatinate, and SAXONY. The Prussian king then

    sent two army corps to suppress the rebellion.

    The German Confederation was restored.

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