Cabinet system

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A particular style of government is called a cabinet system.

The German term Kabinett is derived from the French word for chamber , Nebenzimmer = cabinet .


In the 17th century the so-called cabinet system developed as a form of monarchical rule typical of absolutism , in which the monarch relied on a personal advisory committee with whom he met behind closed doors in a back room . This system was most pronounced at the court of the French "Sun King" Louis XIV.

The designations for the body, its members and the meeting place such as Privy Council , Secret Council College, Secret Konseil, Secret Cabinet, Secret State Council or Cabinet Minister changed. As an expression of unrestricted state authority , the absolute monarch also exercised so-called cabinet justice.

From the cabinet , in which the monarch discussed himself with his advisers, the cabinet developed as the name for the government in the organizational (personal) sense, i.e. the body that makes up a government. From this chamber , in which the ruler met his councilors or ministers for talks during the time of the cabinet system, the terms cameralistics and camera science for administrative knowledge of governance, i.e. the totality of administrative knowledge, about the councils or members of the body, are derived from Ministers had to order.

Older terms are the court chamber and the treasurer , which, however, specifically related to the treasury and thus the financial management of the monarch, was only one of the tasks that were performed by the absolutist cabinet. On the other hand, not entrusted with politics and administration and therefore not in this context belongs to the chamberlain , who alone provided the services of a personal body or chamber servant of the monarch.

Development in Germany

Karl August von Hardenberg , influenced by the Nassau memorandum of Baron von Steins, replaced the General Directorate responsible for interior and financial administration with the Prussian State Ministry as part of the Prussian reforms . Since then, the administration has been organized according to the departmental principle under ministerial responsibility. The ministerial government secured itself the right to countersign laws against the Prussian king. Personal and state rule remained closely linked.

After the failure of the March Revolution and the Prussian Constitution of 1848 , this became more apparent in the subsequent Prussian constitutional conflict . With the gap theory, Otto von Bismarck places the personal authority of the monarch above that of parliament .

On the other hand, Bismarck reduced the personal power of the German Emperor in 1871 with the Bismarckian constitution by transferring legislative powers and budget rights to the Federal Council and the Reichstag .

Although the basic function of the government and parliament were retained by the monarch founded in 1871 the German Empire, the in creating Year of Three Emperors arrived in 1888 to the throne Wilhelm II. With the military cabinet , the civil cabinet and the Naval Cabinet increasingly organs to further strengthen the imperial position towards parliament and the imperial government, which finally culminated in the neo-absolutist personal regiment of Wilhelm.

During the First World War , the Supreme Army Command took over the de facto government until the German defeat in 1918 finally led to the overthrow of the monarchy in the November Revolution and the establishment of the Weimar Republic . This was structured as a parliamentary democracy , in which only the strong position of the Reich President as a so-called substitute emperor still referred to the former position of the monarch.

During the Great Depression did not happen temporarily to 1933 for the formation of the former Cabinet System dissimilar presidential , which alone the Reich President Paul von Hindenburg by emergency decree were appointed and were under his direct transfer.

In the political system of the Federal Republic of Germany , the Federal President has essentially representative tasks and only very limited political powers. The separation of powers has been part of the free democratic basic order since the Basic Law came into force and cannot be abolished even by a majority that changes the constitution ( eternity clause according to Article 79, Paragraph 3, Article 20, Paragraph 2, Sentence 2 of the Basic Law).


Individual evidence

  1. ^ Kabinett, accessed on July 1, 2016
  2. ^ Carl Creifelds: Legal dictionary . 21st edition 2014. ISBN 978-3-406-63871-8