Active citizens

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Active citizen denotes or referred to citizens in different states and at different times who had rights such as active and passive voting rights or who were generally active in the state.

Constitutional law

The legal term is used in constitutional law and general political theory . An active citizen is any member of the people of the state who is entitled in democratic states to participate in the expression of the will of the people and in state life by casting votes in elections and / or votes as well as through the right to hold public office. The term active citizenship is used to distinguish it from citizens who are not entitled to vote ( Section 12 of the Federal Election Act ) ( Article 116 of the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany ) and from non-citizens of a state.

Germany from 1949

In Germany, anyone who has the right to vote in elections to the German Bundestag is an active citizen at the federal level . The totality of active citizens, the active citizenship , is a constitutional body because the German people exercise state power in elections and votes in accordance with Article 20, Paragraph 2, Clause 1 and 2 of the Basic Law (principle of popular sovereignty ).

The active citizenship is valid in a democracy, although as a constitutional body, but is Organstreit proceedings before the Federal Constitutional Court is not a party to , because it is not organized capacity to act as such ( § 63 BVerfGG ). Since no popular lawsuit is planned before the Federal Constitutional Court , the individual active citizen cannot assert the rights of the state people through litigation .

French Constitution of 1791

In the French constitution of 1791 (Section 2, Art. 2 and Art. 5), all men are designated as active citizens ( citoyens actifs ) who:

  1. were born as French or became French,
  2. had reached the age of 25,
  3. have been resident in a city or canton for a period stipulated by law,
  4. pay a direct tax in any place (at least the value of three working days, initially about 3 livres ),
  5. are enrolled in the list of the National Guard ,
  6. have taken the citizenship oath.

When the constitution came into force in 1791, France had 4,298,360 active citizens. They represented 61% of the men and 15% of the general population. According to the census suffrage established in the constitution , active citizens with a tax revenue of up to ten working days had the active and passive right to vote for the municipal council and the office of justice of the peace; In addition, they had the active right to vote for the representative body (National Assembly / National Convention). However, the rights of active citizens were divided according to the amount of their tax revenue. Those who possessed own assets and paid taxes in the amount of at least ten working days, were able to be electors ( électeurs ) can be set up in the national elections; According to the constitution, 100 active citizens appointed an elector (for 151 to 200 active citizens there were 2 electors, etc.). This ultimately decided on the 745 members of parliament ( représentants ), who each had to be able to provide evidence of at least 100 daily tax rates (depending on size of place of residence and type of income).

The people's assembly should re-determine the relevant daily tax rates every six years. Only active citizens with more than 10 tax daily rates had the active and passive right to vote for the district parliaments ( conseil de district ) and the district court. Ordinary servants ( domestics / lackeys ), bankrupts or those against whom a court had brought charges were excluded from exercising active citizenship .

The term active citizen was a specific feature of the constitution of 1791. The French constitution of 1793 (which did not come into force) only knew citizens ( citoyens ) and granted all men aged 21 and over (provided they made their own living) the unlimited right to vote and stand for election . Later constitutions also only used the term citizen, but re-established a census right to vote. It was not until the French Constitution of 1848 that all French men over the age of 21 were finally guaranteed full voting rights in the Second Republic ; under the presidential dictatorship and the subsequent empire of Louis Napoleon Bonaparte ( Napoleon III ), however, it could not be freely exercised. Women did not get the right to vote until 1944 through the Provisional Government of the French Republic .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Reinhold Zippelius : Allgemeine Staatslehre , 16th edition 2010, § 11 I and IV, pp. 63 and 70 ff.
  2. Zippelius / Würtenberger: German State Law , 32nd edition 2008, § 49 I.