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Revolution, Constitutionalism, and Democracy The German Weimar Republic Peter Caldwell [“Carl”] Rice University, Houston, Texas, USA.

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Presentation on theme: "Revolution, Constitutionalism, and Democracy The German Weimar Republic Peter Caldwell [“Carl”] Rice University, Houston, Texas, USA."— Presentation transcript:

1 Revolution, Constitutionalism, and Democracy The German Weimar Republic Peter Caldwell [“Carl”] Rice University, Houston, Texas, USA

2 The Revolutionary United States

3

4 "When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another...":

5 “The unanimous Declaration of the united States of America…”

6 “We the People of the United States of America…”

7 Representation in the U.S. Constitution People Senate (six years, elected by state) President (chosen by electoral college—selected elites—for four years) House (two years, elected by local constituents)

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10 Abbé Sieyès, “What Is the Third Estate?”

11 Abbé Sieyès “The Third Estate is the Nation.”

12 Abbé Sieyès “The Third Estate is the Nation.” “In every free nation (and every nation ought to be free) there is only one way to put an end to differences about the constitution. If we lack a constitution, then a constitution must be made, and the Nation alone has the right to do so.”

13 King Louis XVI

14 Abbé Sieyès “…the privileged orders have shown themselves to be…an enemy of the common order.”

15 Robespierre “Louis must die, that the nation may live.”

16 French Revolution: Committee of Public Safety trumps constitution; Terror deemed necessary to suppress the enemy.

17 The Russian Revolution Disastrous war Tsar impedes organization for the war, alienates most of the nation February Revolution replaces Tsar with a new Provisional Government Task: to complete the war, and then to devise a new constitution

18 Dual Power Provisional Government Petrograd Soviet

19 Lenin, State and Revolution

20 Revolution carried out by classes—in this case, “the proletariat organized as the ruling class,” to suppress “the exploiting class, the bourgeoisie.”

21 Lenin, State and Revolution “Marxism educates the vanguard of the proletariat, which is capable of assuming power and of leading the whole people to socialism…”

22 Trotsky on the Red Terror The Red Terror is a weapon utilized against a class, doomed to destruction, which does not wish to perish.

23 American Revolution French RevolutionBolshevik Revolution Revolution1776: directed against British in name of national liberation; acts of terror against British sympathizers during Revolutionary War 1789: starts with aristocratic revolt; spreads to revolt of commoners against aristocrats; spreads to revolt against King and enemies; , turns against many revolutionaries, during the Terror 1917: breaks with the February Revolution in the name of direct rule by the Proletariat; exclusion of other parties; civil war and Red Terror; consolidation of institutions of direct rule and Red Terror over the 1920s ConstitutionFirst constitution too weak; second constitution (1787) stabilizes authority by creating new power— but states remain Multiple attempts to create constitution from 1790 on; constitutions trumped by emergency action against enemy, the “terror” Party claims position above law, as motive force of revolution; constitution can be suspended by Party in interest of the revolution Representation (who is the people? Or: What is democracy?) Complex form of representation at federal level; tension between states and federal government National Assembly at first; Committee of Public Safety, speaking in the name of the entire Nation Party, speaking in the name of the Proletariat, which claims to embody the entire Nation

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25 Monarch Army and Bureaucracy Assembly Budget/Taxes “Kommandogewalt” “Budgetrecht”

26 Unified Germany

27 “The Proclamation of the German Empire on January 18, 1871, in the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles”

28 The political system of the Empire Individual states’ monarchs or assemblies Bundesrat Reichstag All German men 25 years or older Kaiser Chancellor Prussian Minister- President Legislation, budget, information Army =

29 Otto von Bismarck “If it has to be revolution, then we would rather make it ourselves than suffer it.”

30 The political system of the Empire Individual states’ monarchs or assemblies Bundesrat Reichstag All German men 25 years or older Kaiser Chancellor Prussian Minister- President Legislation, budget, information Army =

31 The Kulturkampf

32 German Reichstag Elections,


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