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Reichstag (North German Confederation)

Legislative body of the North German Confederation
Preceded byFederal Convention
Succeeded byImperial Reichstag
Voting systemDirect competitive elections
Last election3 March 1871
Meeting place
Berlin Herrenhaus, Berlin
Inaugural meeting of the Reichstag of the North German Confederation on February 24, 1867

The Reichstag was the Parliament of the North German Confederation German: Norddeutscher Bund, founded after the Austro-Prussian War of 1866 It functioned until the establishment of the German Empire in 1871 Parliamentary sessions were held in the same building as the Upper House of the Prussian Landtag, the Prussian House of Lords, located at 3 Leipziger Straße in Berlin, Germany The same location is now the home of the German Federal Bundesrat


  • 1 Founding
  • 2 Elections of February, 1867
  • 3 Composition
  • 4 End of the parliament
  • 5 References
  • 6 Literature
  • 7 External links


After the draft 1860 Constitution of Otto von Bismarck, based on a design by Lothar Bucher, the Reichstag became the official Parliament of the North German Confederation It was specifically designed to form a counterweight to the monarchy and special interests While the new Reichstag was significantly weaker than other federal institutions, in the Constitution it did have significant powers In contrast to the diets of most of the Member States of Germany, it was not elected according to a census or landholder census German: Zensuswahlrecht, but according to progressive general, equal and secret universal suffrage for men above the age of 25

Elections of February, 1867

Main article: North German federal election, 1867

On the basis of the new Constitution, a constituent parliament was elected on the basis of universal suffrage on 12 February 1867 The area of the North German Confederation was divided into 297 electoral districts, where an absolute majority vote directly elected a Member of Parliament If no candidate reached an absolute majority on the first ballot, a runoff between the top two candidates was conducted Despite considerable criticism of the North German Confederation, especially in areas that Prussia had annexed in 1866, there were no boycotts of the election Overall, the turnout of almost 65% was significantly higher than previous elections to the Prussian Landtag The government tried to influence the elections, but nevertheless the results reflected the political mood of the population A majority was formed by the National Liberal Party, the Progressive Party, and the liberal-conservative Free Conservatives German: Freikonservativen There were also some more liberal-minded MPs Together the block constituted 180 of the 297 seats and formed a major block of potential support to Bismarck's policies This was countered by 63 Old Conservatives, 13 Polish deputies, 18 Particularists and 19 members of the Progressive Party The anti-Prussian democratically-oriented Saxon People's Party was represented by August Bebel and Reinold Schraps


Eduard von Simson, who already held the position of President in the Frankfurt Parliament and later in the Reichstag of the German Empire, became Reichstag President German: Reichstagspräsident August Bebel later wrote in his memoirs that "the elite of the North German political and parliamentary luminaries" had been assembled in the Parliament These included: Rudolf von Bennigsen, Karl Braun of Hessen-Nassau, Hermann Heinrich Becker, Maximilian Franz August von Forckenbeck, Gustav Freytag, Rudolf Gneist, Eduard Lasker, Johannes von Miquel, Gottlieb Planck, Eugen Richter, Eduard von Simson, Maximilian von Schwerin-Putzar, Hermann Schulze-Delitzsch, Karl Twesten, Hans Victor von Unruh, Franz Leo Benedikt Waldeck, Moritz Wiggers and Julius Wiggers, Ludwig Windthorst, Hermann von Mallinckrodt, Georg von Vincke, Hermann Wagener, and Mayer Carl von Rothschild In addition there were Generals selected due to their accomplishments in the Austro-Prussian War of 1866: Eduard Vogel von Falckenstein and Karl Friedrich von Steinmetz

Bebel also described Bismarck as a charismatic orator and ended his diary with an assessment, which was probably shared by the majority of MPs: "The time of idealism is over Politicians must ask themselves, today more than ever, what is achievable over what is desirable"[1]

End of the parliament

In connection with the outcome of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, the Reichstag voted on the accession of the states of Baden, Hesse, Bavaria and Württemberg At the request of the Federal Council and with the consent of the Reichstag, the North German Confederation was renamed Deutsches Reich on 9 December 1870 The Reichstag of the North German Confederation was then replaced by the Reichstag of the German Empire, with new elections scheduled for March 3, 1871


  1. ^ Werner Pöls: Historisches Lesebuch Volume 1: 1815–1871 Frankfurt 1966, p 309–311


  • Klaus Erich Pollmann: Parlamentarismus im Norddeutschen Bund 1867–1870 Düsseldorf: Droste Verlag, 1985 mw-parser-output citecitationmw-parser-output citation qmw-parser-output id-lock-free a,mw-parser-output citation cs1-lock-free amw-parser-output id-lock-limited a,mw-parser-output id-lock-registration a,mw-parser-output citation cs1-lock-limited a,mw-parser-output citation cs1-lock-registration amw-parser-output id-lock-subscription a,mw-parser-output citation cs1-lock-subscription amw-parser-output cs1-subscription,mw-parser-output cs1-registrationmw-parser-output cs1-subscription span,mw-parser-output cs1-registration spanmw-parser-output cs1-ws-icon amw-parser-output codecs1-codemw-parser-output cs1-hidden-errormw-parser-output cs1-visible-errormw-parser-output cs1-maintmw-parser-output cs1-subscription,mw-parser-output cs1-registration,mw-parser-output cs1-formatmw-parser-output cs1-kern-left,mw-parser-output cs1-kern-wl-leftmw-parser-output cs1-kern-right,mw-parser-output cs1-kern-wl-rightmw-parser-output citation mw-selflinkISBN 3-7700-5130-0
  • Wolfram Siemann: Gesellschaft im Aufbruch Deutschland 1848–1871 Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1990 ISBN 3-518-11537-5, pp 287 f Edition Suhrkamp 1537 = NF 537 – Neue historische Bibliothek
  • Hans Fenske: Deutsche Verfassungsgeschichte Vom Norddeutschen Bund bis heute Berlin: Edition Colloquium, 1993 ISBN 3-89166-164-9, pp 13–16
  • Hans-Ulrich Wehler: "Deutsche Gesellschaftsgeschichte, Volume 3", In: Von der „Deutschen Doppelrevolution“ bis zum Beginn des Ersten Weltkrieges 1849–1914 München: Beck, 1944 ISBN 3-406-32263-8, p 303
  • Egbert Weiß: "Corpsstudenten im Reichstag des Norddeutschen Bundes Ein Beitrag zum 130jährigen Jubiläum," in: Einst und Jetzt Volume 42 1997 ISSN 0420-8870, p 9–40
  • Thomas Nipperdey: Deutsche Geschichte 1866–1918 Volume 2: Machtstaat vor der Demokratie München: Beck, 1998 ISBN 3-406-44038-X p 41–48

External links

  • Electoral Law for the Reichstag of the North German Confederation Retrieved 24 February 2012
  • Minutes of the Reichstag of the North German Confederation Retrieved 24 February 2012
  • Constitution of the North German Confederation at wwwdokumentarchivde Retrieved 24 February 2012
  • Valentin Schroeder: Reichstag Elections Retrieved 24 February 2012
    • Detailed Election Results Retrieved 24 February 2012
    • Map 1867 February Retrieved 24 February 2012
    • Map of 1867 August Retrieved 24 February 2012

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