Germany Unification

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GERMANY UNIFICATION

FRANKFURT PARLIAMENTTheFrankfurt Parliament(German:Frankfurter Nationalversammlung, literally Frankfurt National Assembly) was the first freely electedparliament for all of Germany elected on 1 May 1848 (seeGerman federal election, 1848The session was held from 18 May 1848 to 31 May 1849, in thePaulskirche at Frankfurt am Main. Its existence was both part of and the result of the"March Revolution in the states of theGerman Confederation.After long and controversial debates, the assembly produced the so-calledFrankfurt Constitution(Paulskirchenverfassung or Paulskirche Constitution, actually Verfassung des Deutschen Reiches) which proclaimed a German Empire based on the principles ofparliamentary democracy Thisconstitutionfulfilled the main demands of theliberalandnationalistmovementsof theVormrzand provided a foundation ofbasic rights, both of which stood inoppositiontoMetternich'ssystem of Restoration. The parliament also proposed aconstitutional monarchy headed by ahereditary emperor(Kaiser).ThePrussiankingFriedrich Wilhelm IV refused to accept the office of emperor when it was offered to him on the grounds that such a constitution and such an offer were an abridgment of the rights of the princes of the individual German states. In the 20th century, however, major elements of the Frankfurt constitution became models for theWeimar Constitutionof 1919 and theBasic Law for the Federal Republic of Germanyof 1949.

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