• Democratic elections did not take place until 1918Democratic elections did not take place until 1918
  • Chancellor Bismarck rejected the concept of sovereignty and democracyChancellor Bismarck rejected the concept of sovereignty and democracy
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While during the failed revolution of 1848/49 civil delegates negotiated in St. Paul’s churchcustomin 1848 the St Paul's Church in Frankfurt had become the seat of the Frankfurt Parliament, the first publicly and freely-elected German legislative body, Frankfurt, monarchs and sovereigns dominated the Foundation of the German Reich in Versailles. As Reich Chancellor Bismarck rejected the concept of sovereignty of the people and thus opposed the demands of all Liberals, democratic elections did not take place until 1918.  The 25 individual states were sovereign; however they still had to adept to the Prussian constitution1.

The government’s composition

The new government was composed of the federal assembly and the ReichstagcustomThe Reichstag was the Parliament of Germany from 1871 to 1918. It had no formal right to appoint or dismiss governments. Laws passed in the Reichstag required the federal assembly’s approval. The emperor could nominate and dismiss the Reich Chancellor. Furthermore Bismarck, acting as Reich Chancellor and politician in foreign affairs, assumed and important role as every draft law had to be signed by him and he significantly influenced Germany’s international worth. Civil rights had not been passed in the German empire2.

Landtag of Prussia

As Prussia was the biggest country in the empire it reigned with a particular constitution. Politicians were voted into the Landtag of Prussia by a three-class franchisecustomThe Prussian three-class franchise system was introduced on May 30, 1849. Eligible to vote were men aged over 24, divided by their direct tax revenue into three classes, in which voters were split into three different categories according to their tax revenue. According to contemporary witnesses those elections were conducted in a rather undemocratic fashion, as there often was no election rival and election results were forged. Thus the German empire remained a conservative major power due to Prussia’s supremacy.

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1871 - 1918