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Landstandschaft ( also: Landstandsrecht or Landtag Capability ) was the right to appear in person at the Landtag and to represent one's rights there. Entire estates (e.g. the rural nobility) as well as individuals or legal entities could be entitled to it. For the Reichstag they spoke thus of the imperial estate shaft .

Origin and meaning

As a real right - rights that only the respective owner of a certain piece of land were entitled to - was connected to an estate or a so-called manor . The estate was thus directly connected to the property and with its ownership passed to the respective owner. This privilege, the possession of which was originally given as a personal right through membership of the nobility, was over time viewed in the form of a real right as an accessory to the knightly estates themselves (nobilitas realis) . This was in contrast to the popular and court assemblies ( Thing ) customary under old Germanic law , in which every free man could participate. The land estate was not a personal right, but a real right. Even members of the aristocracy could not appear at state parliaments without owning a manor suitable for a state parliament. So the estate could only be acquired in the same way as an estate eligible for parliament could be acquired. With the acquisition of the property, the seat and voting rights in state parliaments were regularly acquired.

In order to actually exercise this right, however, certain additional requirements were necessary in various countries. In some countries, the owner also had to be from the nobility (e.g. in Electoral Saxony ). In other countries, the nobility alone was not sufficient, but also required evidence of a certain number of noble ancestors, the so-called ancestral test . Anyone who could not prove this was not allowed to appear at the landscape meetings, even if he was the owner of an estate that was eligible for the state parliament. He did have the right if it was linked to his property, but he could not exercise it according to the special national laws. The right was then suspended until his descendants could provide the necessary evidence. There were also different age restrictions in each country. In the Kingdom of Saxony the ability parliament was extended to all 1,820 schriftsässigen expanded goods and abolished more demands on the state of the owner, so that even commoners the country martial law could exercise.

The right of the estate was associated with all goods that did not belong to the princely chamber goods and were not under a princely office. Anyone who owned such an estate had the right to appear in the Landtag and to defend his rights there. If several people owned such a property, they were entitled to this right jointly. The right could then only not be exercised by everyone in person, but a representative had to be elected.

As owners of ecclesiastical and urban goods, the churches and later also the cities had the right to be in the countryside and were represented at the state parliaments by the mayor of a city or the dean of a monastery. These appeared in the name of the city or the monastery, which owned goods, in the diets.

The Landstandschaft included the right to appear and vote in person or by proxy at the general parliament or at least to exercise an active voting vote in a special department (curia) and to be elected as a representative of this department. Ordinarily the estates eligible for parliament were divided into three curiae: the prelates , the knighthood and the cities. The totality of all states eligible for parliament was also called landscape . In Tyrol and Württemberg there were also representatives of the peasant class by office.

In the more modern constitutions, such as the Prussian constitution of 1850 , this right to special representation of the manor owners was often completely abolished. The general estate of the manor owners and rural towns as parts of the united estates existed in Mecklenburg until 1918. The facility, however, according to which the manor owners at least had the right to choose their own representatives as a special class, existed for example. B. still in the Kingdom of Saxony, Saxony-Altenburg etc. In Prussia, after the constitution of 1850, the manor owners no longer had a preferred position with regard to the general elections for the House of Representatives. But they still had these in the district and provincial assemblies.


  • Karl Friedrich Rauer: Hand register of the manors represented in all circles of the Prussian state on district and state parliaments, 1857, digitized

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Karl August Limmer: Library of Saxon History , Volume 4: Draft of a documented-pragmatic history of the Marggrafthum Meissen. Not regent history, but national history . Friedrich Weber, Ronneburg 1836, p. 583 ( digitized version ).