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CONFEDERATIONS.                                 2OI
and an awkward way of enforcing them.    Its courts of arbi-
tration were never fully set up.    In short, aside from the gov-
ernments composing it, it was not an organization with self-
defensive and self-perpetuating powers.
Tendencies towards union in Germany are seen in the cus-
Constitution   of  toms-unions which grew up chiefly outside of
l849'                 the diet.    It seems also that Prussia was desir-
ous of a closer union than had been effected. Meanwhile,
democratic opinions grew up in Germany, the revolutionary
spirit of 1848 spread through the states, movements for poli-
tical changes were set on foot outside of its meetings which
it was too weak to oppose ; and a " vorparlement" (March,
1848) and a parliament (May, 1848) having been convened, a
new constitution was framed in 1849. The idea in this in-
strument was that of a bundesstaat with a legislative assembly
of two houses, the lower house to be elected by direct votes,
and a population of 70,000 to return one member. A
chief of the empire was to have international relations in his
hands and a suspensive veto, which three successive resolu-
tions of the reichstag or diet could overthrow. The question
of a chief produced division, and it appeared that some po-
litical men of high character wanted to have a federal union
with no Austria in it. The king of Prussia was elected
emperor, but declined the dignity. After long tinkering and
attempts to put this constitution in a more perfect shape upon
its legs, things went back to the old diet in 1851.*
Meanwhile the difficulties had occurred between Denmark
Difficulties with  and Schleswig-Holstein, the latter of which two
Denmark.            duchies, being German, furnished Germany with
a right of interference, arid a military execution was put in
the hands of Austria and Prussia. In 1864 the king of Den-
mark by treaty renounced his rights over these duchies and
Lauenburg, in favor of the Austrian and Prussian sovereigns
a strange affair with which the confederacy had nothing to
* A succinct account is given of this by A. Nicolson, a secretary
in the British embassy at Berlin, in his Sketch of the Germanic Con-
stitution. (Lond. 1875.)