To what extent did the Reichstag impact on German regional and social divisions between 1871 and 1879?

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  • Created by: becky.65
  • Created on: 29-03-18 12:16

The nature of democracy in 1871:

  • The constitution created the Reichstag; elected through a popular vote of all German man aged 25 or above
  • Bismarck believed allowing a democratic vote would help minimise more liberal influences and encourage continued support for the monarchy 
  • The Reichstag was a superficial form of democracy 
  • Bismarck legislated that Reichstag members would receive no payment; made it difficult for those of less privileged classes to run for election
  • It had to pass all legislation but it had restricted powers to initiate legislation; responded to legislation presented to it by the Reich government or the Budesrat
  • The Budesrat could veto all the legistlation it did pass
  • The Chancellor, military chiefs, nor the Kaiser had any responsibility to the Reichstag
  • If the Reichstag rejected legislation that the government wanted passed, the Kaiser could dissolve it and call new elections
  • Restricted and insincere form of democracy 

Tensions arising from regional divisions and a multinational Reich:

  • Regional divisions largely impacted the political parties within the Reichstag
  • The National Liberal Party - supported the German Empire; based in the north
  • The German's People Party - opposed unification; based in the south
  • Centre Party - represented Catholic interests; support was strongest in the south, Baravia and Baden, Rhineland, Silesia and the Polish population of east Prussia
  • The German Conservative Party - represented the interets of land owning Junkers of Prussia
  • The…

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