Monarchical Sovereignty and the Legacy of the Revolution: Constitutionalism in Post-Napoleonic Germany

Markus J. Prutsch


Could monarchical claims for personal government be realistically reconciled with the legacy of the Revolution? This dilemma of the post-Napoleonic age gave rise to the concept of a genuinely ‘monarchical’ form of constitutional rule in Europe, which distinguished itself not only from absolutism and revolutionary constitutionalism, but also British parliamentarianism. Focusing on Germany and the states of Bavaria and Baden in particular, this article examines constitutional debates after 1814, and especially the role of the French Charte constitutionnelle as the prototype of ‘constitutional monarchism’. Its role in the making of post-1814 German constitutions is highlighted with a view to assessing the Charte’s actual significance vis-à-vis other potential models, and identifying parallels as well as dissimilarities between the constitutional systems in France and the German states. In result, the paradigmatic role of the Charte for (Southern) German constitutionalism is confirmed; yet at the same time, fundamental differences are discernible with regard not only to the role monarchical-constitutional orders played in different national contexts, but also their status within long-term political developments in different countries.

Fecha de envío / Submission Date: 23/12/2014
Fecha de aceptación / Acceptance Date: 4/02/2015

Palabras clave

Monarchy; legitimacy; (monarchical) sovereignty; Germany; France; Bavaria; Baden

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