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politics and government of Poland
|Constitutions and major statutes of Poland|
The Constitution of the Kingdom of Poland (Polish : Konstytucja Królestwa Polskiego) was granted to the 'Congress' Kingdom of Poland by King of Poland Alexander I of Russia in 1815, who was obliged to issue a constitution to the newly recreated Polish state under his domain as specified by the Congress of Vienna. It was considered among the most liberal constitutions of its time; however, it was never fully respected by the government. It was modified during the November Uprising by the revolutionary government and discarded afterwards by the victorious Russian authorities in 1832.
The Congress of Vienna obliged Emperor Alexander I of Russia, in his role as King of Poland, to issue a constitution to the newly recreated Polish state under Russian domination.The new state would be one of the smallest Polish states ever, smaller than the preceding Duchy of Warsaw and much smaller than the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. Because it was the Congress of Vienna which de facto created the Kingdom of Poland, it became unofficially known as the Congress Poland (Kongresówka).
It was signed on November 27, 1815 by the Tsar. It was a constitution octroyée: given by the ruler and not voted upon by a parliament.
A significant contributor to the constitution was Prince Adam Czartoryski, although the text was edited by the Emperor himself and his advisors.The constitution, promising freedom of speech and religious tolerance, among other freedoms, was considered to be among the most liberal in contemporary Europe, reflecting much of the thought of the Polish and Russian Enlightenments. Compared to the Constitution of the Duchy of Warsaw, the document which governed the lands that became part of the Kingdom of Poland during their time as the Duchy of Warsaw, it however prioritized the nobility ( szlachta ) and revoked some rights given to the Polish Jews and peasants. It was never fully respected by the Russian authorities, and increasingly its liberal but ambiguous provisions became manipulated, avoided and violated by the government. The parliament was supposed to have been called into session every two years, but after it became the scene of many clashes between liberal deputies and conservative government officials, it was in fact called only four times (1818, 1820, 1826, and 1830, with the last two sessions being secret). This disregard for the promised rights, among other factors, led to increasing discontent within Poland, eventually culminating in the failed November Uprising in 1830. The constitution was modified during the uprising, and in its aftermath, the constitution was superseded on 26 February 1832 by the much more conservative Organic Statute of the Kingdom of Poland granted by Tsar Nicholas I of Russia and never actually implemented.
The Constitution had 165 articles in seven titles.
The Kingdom of Poland was a constitutional monarchy in a personal union with the Russian Empire, with a common foreign policy. Each Emperor of Russia was also King of Poland. The parliament, military, administration and judiciary remained separate.
The King was the head of all three branches (executive, legislative and judicial). He:
Composed of five ministers and other people nominated by the king, headed by namestnik, it:
Composed of the ministers, councilors, secretary of the state, referendars and other people nominated by the king, it had the followed prerogatives:
Parliament was composed of the king, the upper house (Senate) and the lower house (Chamber of Deputies or Sejm). Deputies numbering 128 were chosen for six years, with one-third of them chosen every two years. They had legal immunity. Voting was open to all persons of 21 years or older. Candidates for deputy had to be able to read, write and have a certain amount of wealth. Military personnel had no right to vote. Parliaments were called every two years for a period of 30 days. Sejm had the right to vote on civil, administrative and legal issues. With permission from the king, it could vote on matters related to the fiscal system and the military. It had the right to control government officials and file petitions. A Senate numbering 64 was composed of nine bishops, voivodes and castellans and Russian "princes of the blood." It acted as the Parliament Court, had the right to control citizens' books, and similar legislative rights as the Chamber of Deputies.
The Sejm, officially known as the Sejm of the Republic of Poland, is the lower house of the bicameral parliament of Poland.
The Partitions of Poland were three partitions of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth that took place toward the end of the 18th century and ended the existence of the state, resulting in the elimination of sovereign Poland and Lithuania for 123 years. The partitions were conducted by the Habsburg Monarchy, the Kingdom of Prussia, and the Russian Empire, which divided up the Commonwealth lands among themselves progressively in the process of territorial seizures and annexations.
Stanisław II August, known also by his regal Latin name Stanislaus II Augustus, was King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1764 to 1795, and the last monarch of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth.
Congress Poland or Russian Poland, formally known as the Kingdom of Poland, was a polity created in 1815 by the Congress of Vienna as a semi-autonomous Polish state and successor to Napoleon's Duchy of Warsaw. It was established in the ethnically Polish lands ceded by the French to the Russian Empire following Napoleon's defeat. In 1915, during World War I, it was replaced by the German-controlled nominal Regency Kingdom until Poland regained independence in 1918.
The Crown of the Kingdom of Poland, known also as the Polish Crown, is the common name for the historic Late Middle Ages territorial possessions of the King of Poland, including the Kingdom of Poland proper. The Polish Crown was at the helm of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth from 1569 to 1795.
The Constitution of 3 May 1791, titled the Governance Act, was a constitution adopted by the Great Sejm for the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, a dual monarchy comprising the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The Constitution was designed to correct the Commonwealth's political flaws. It had been preceded by a period of agitation for—and gradual introduction of—reforms, beginning with the Convocation Sejm of 1764 and the ensuing election that year of Stanisław August Poniatowski, the Commonwealth's last king.
The Great Sejm, also known as the Four-Year Sejm was a Sejm (parliament) of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth that was held in Warsaw between 1788 and 1792. Its principal aim became to restore sovereignty to, and reform, the Commonwealth politically and economically.
Vistula Land or Vistula Country was the name applied to the lands of Congress Poland from 1867, following the defeats of the November Uprising (1830–31) and January Uprising (1863–1864) as it was increasingly stripped of autonomy and incorporated into Imperial Russia. It also continued to be formally known as Congress Poland and Russian Poland during the Russian partition.
Marszałek was one of the highest officials in the Polish royal court since the 13th century and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania since the 15th century. He was the oldest-ranking of all court officials and was considered the most important advisor to the King of Poland.
The General Sejm was the bicameral parliament of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. It was established by the Union of Lublin in 1569 from the merger of the Sejm of the Kingdom of Poland and the Seimas of Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Ruthenia and Samogitia. It was one of the primary elements of the democratic governance in the Commonwealth. The sejm was a powerful political institution and the king could not pass laws without the approval of that body.
Ambassadors and envoys from Russia to Poland–Lithuania in the years 1763–1794 were among the most important characters in the politics of Poland. Their powers went far beyond those of most diplomats and can be compared to those of viceroys in the colonies of Spanish Empire, or Roman Republic's proconsuls in Roman provinces. During most of that period ambassadors and envoys from the Russian Empire, acting on the instructions from Saint Petersburg, held a de facto position superior to that of the Polish king, Stanisław August Poniatowski. Backed by the presence of the Russian army within the borders of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, and leveraging the immense wealth of the Russian Empire, they were able to influence both the king and the Polish parliament, the Sejm. According to their demands, the king dispensed the Commonwealth offices among the Russian supporters, and the Sejm, bribed or threatened, voted as the Russians dictated. The agenda of the Permanent Council was edited and approved by the Russian ambassador, and the members of the council were approved by him.
The Partition Sejm was a Sejm lasting from 1773 to 1775 in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, convened by its three neighbours in order to legalize their First Partition of Poland. During its first days in session, that Sejm was the site of Tadeusz Rejtan's famous gesture of protest against Partition. The Sejm also passed other legislation, notably establishing the Permanent Council and the Commission of National Education. Cardinal Laws were confirmed.
Council of State Polish: Rada Stanu of Congress Kingdom of Poland was an important state institution of Poland that existed in the 19th century. It was also known as Council of State of Kingdom of Poland.
Bonawentura Niemojowski was a Polish lawyer, writer and politician. He was one of the leaders of Polish National Government during the November Uprising.
Łaski's Statute(s), of 1505, was the first codification of law published in the Kingdom of Poland. The printing in 1506 was the first illustrated printing in Poland.
The Zgromadzenie Przyjaciół Konstytucji Rządowej was the first modern Polish political party, formed in May 1791, shortly after the adoption of the Constitution of 3 May 1791, by the efforts of the Patriotic Party. The purpose of the Friends of the Constitution was to defend the reformed political system and to introduce further reforms.
Sejm of the Duchy of Warsaw was the parliament of the Duchy of Warsaw. It was created in 1807 by Napoleon, who granted a new constitution to the recently created Duchy. It had limited competences, including having no legislative initiative. It met three times: for regular sessions in 1809 and 1811, and for an extraordinary session in 1812. In the history of Polish parliament, it succeeded the Sejm of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and was followed by the Sejm of the Congress Poland.
The Sejm of Congress Poland was the parliament in the 19th century Kingdom of Poland, colloquially known as Congress Poland. It existed from 1815 to 1831. In the history of the Polish parliament, it succeeded the Sejm of the Duchy of Warsaw.
Army of the Congress Poland refers to the military forces of the Kingdom of Poland that existed in the period 1815–1831.
The General Sejm was the parliament of the Kingdom of Poland. It had evolved from the earlier institution of Curia Regis and was one of the primary elements of democratic governance in the Polish dominion.
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