Frankfurt Parliament


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Frankfurt Parliament

Frankfurt Parliament, 1848–49, national assembly convened at Frankfurt on May 18, 1848, as a result of the liberal revolution that swept the German states early in 1848. The parliament was called by a preliminary assembly of German liberals in Mar., 1848, and its members were elected by direct manhood suffrage. They represented the entire political spectrum and included the foremost German figures of the time. The president of the parliament was Heinrich von Gagern. Its purpose was to plan the unification of Germany. Having suspended (June, 1848) the diet of the German Confederation, the assembly appointed Archduke John of Austria regent of Germany and head of the provisional (and virtually nonexistent) executive power. While the parliament was lengthily debating various schemes of union, it was diverted from its purpose by the war with Denmark over the Schleswig-Holstein question; the parliament commissioned Prussia to send troops to aid the duchies, but finally accepted (Sept., 1848) an armistice. It resumed deliberations on unification, but conflict among the traditionally separate German states, notably Austria and Prussia, made progress difficult. In the meantime the revolutionary movement was suppressed, and the very basis of the Frankfurt assembly destroyed. At last, in Mar., 1849, the parliament adopted a federal constitution of the German states, excluding Austria, with a parliamentary government and a hereditary emperor. Frederick William IV of Prussia was chosen emperor but refused to accept the crown from a popularly elected assembly and the entire scheme foundered. Most of the representatives withdrew and the remainder were dispersed. Frederick William attempted to substitute a union scheme of his own, but his efforts were smothered by Austria through the Treaty of Olmütz (1850), which restored the German Confederation. The constitution drafted by the Frankfurt Parliament influenced that of the North German Confederation in 1866, particularly in providing direct suffrage.
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He then spent much of the 1850s at the Frankfurt Parliament carving out a separate path from those that guided his foray into politics.
The Frankfurt parliament even went so far as to advertise itself in three European languages (English, German, and French), which Rapport regards as the first awakening of the European community.
In 1847 her father died, her revered revolutionary thinker and theology student Theodor Althaus left, and in 1848 her attempts to witness the Frankfurt parliament were frustrated.
Yet governments seemed ever sensitive to the popular hostility to the Jews that habitually manifested itself in times of economic crisis or when, as in 1848 during the Frankfurt Parliament, liberals seemed on the verge of realizing this most symbolic of all their aims.
The Frankfurt parliament had failed although, considering its own internal divisions, the powerful forces opposing unity both within and beyond Germany, and popular indifference, it perhaps always had little prospect of success.
This chronology implicitly relativizes the significance of the Frankfurt Parliament and of the attempts to create a national state.

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