Württemberg estates

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View of the Württemberg state parliament building in Stuttgart's Kronprinzstrasse in the 19th century. On the left at the corner of Kienestrasse was the building of the First Chamber (Chamber of the Classes), on the far right the building of the Second Chamber (Chamber of Deputies) with the Crescent Room.
In 1957, the Deutsche Bundespost commemorated the 500th anniversary of the first demonstrable Württemberg state parliaments with a special stamp

The Württemberg estates were a representative body of the Duchy and later Kingdom of Württemberg , existing from the 15th to the beginning of the 20th century , in whose politics it played an important role. Its history is divided into two periods:

The first and by far longer one begins with the documented old Württemberg state parliaments of 1457 in Stuttgart and Leonberg . In Württemberg, the nobility left the landscape with the Reformation . The two remaining estates , the Protestant clergy and the bourgeoisie, gathered together in the Landtag sessions and not, as is customary in the other German territories, separated into the three classic estates of the nobility, clergy and bourgeoisie. The clergy and the bourgeoisie merged in the course of the 16th century to form a single class, the Württemberg honor . The lack of nobility gave the landscape a more "democratic" element than elsewhere. In 1805, when Elector Friedrich repealed the old constitution of the Duchy of Württemberg, there were no state parliaments in Württemberg until the end of the Napoleonic Wars .

The second phase in the history of the Württemberg estates extends from 1815 to the November Revolution . From 1819 to 1918, the state parliament consisted of the two chambers of the landlords (first chamber) and the deputies (second chamber). The so-called Altrechtler of the Second Chamber saw themselves in the tradition of the old Württemberg landscape. The Second Chamber was the forerunner of the Württemberg parliament , which was based on a democratic constitution during the Weimar Republic and consisted of only one chamber.

The landscape of Altwuerttemberg

First page of the Münsinger contract in the main state archive in Stuttgart

The genesis

The participation of the Württemberg state estates in political decisions had a long tradition. To conclude the peace treaty between Count Eberhard the Illustrious and the imperial city of Esslingen on December 20, 1316, eight Württemberg cities sent their representatives from the countryside . The landscape played an increasingly important role in the 15th century, especially after the County of Württemberg was divided into the Stuttgart and Urach lines in the Nürtingen Treaty of January 25, 1442. For the first time, two Württemberg state parliaments are clearly documented for the year 1457, with the delegates from the Stuttgart half meeting presumably in the summer in the mansion on the Stuttgart market square and those from the Urach half choosing the Gasthaus Schwarzer Adler in Leonberg in November according to uncertain oral tradition. The subject of the discussions in Stuttgart was the impending war with the Electoral Palatinate , for which Count Ulrich V von Württemberg-Stuttgart sought financial help from the estates.

The state parliament in November 1457 in Leonberg dealt with Count Ulrich's dispute with Elector Friedrich over the question of guardianship over Ulrich's nephew Eberhard von Württemberg-Urach. The Urach landscape decided in favor of the guardianship of Count Ulrichs von Württemberg-Stuttgart. In addition, representatives of the countryside joined the new Guardianship Council, so that they could have direct influence on political decisions in the Urach part of the country. The confrontation with the Electoral Palatinate finally ended for Count Ulrich in the disaster of the Battle of Seckenheim .

Not only the disputes with the Electoral Palatinate, but also the division into the two lines of the House of Württemberg required a close cohesion of the state and rulers if Württemberg were not to perish as an independent territory.

For the following period, in addition to Stuttgart and Leonberg, other Württemberg cities in the Urach part of the state are known as places of state parliaments. These include, demonstrably, Münsingen , Urach and Tübingen .

At the state parliaments of the separate parts of Württemberg-Stuttgart and Württemberg-Urach, a common national awareness was cultivated. The identification of the subjects with Württemberg as a whole seems to have been very important to the so-called “ honesty ” in order to keep the count's back free. In Württemberg in the late 15th century the division of power between the ruler and his mostly low-nobility councilors and servants on the one hand and the landscape consisting of knighthood, prelates and respectability on the other became apparent. Even at the first meetings, the representatives of the landscape demanded and received a political say on war and peace as well as taxation. The right of the countryside to resist the count in the event of breaches of contract was also included.

A fixed cycle for convening the Landtag by the Count had not yet developed. A special event usually provided the impetus for this, especially when house contracts had to be concluded, of which there were quite a number in the course of the 15th century due to the continued division of Württemberg. In this context, the Nuremberg Treaty of December 3, 1361, the Urach Treaty of July 12, 1473 and finally the important Münsinger Treaty of December 14, 1482, which ended the division of Württemberg and established the indivisibility of the country for the future, should be mentioned. As a result, there was the Stuttgart contract of 22 April 1485, the Frankfurt decision of 30 July 1489 to the Esslinger contract of 2 September 1492. A sustainable stabilization of the unit Württemberg finally took place at the Diet of Worms (1495) by the elevation to the duchy on July 21st. This brought the final determination of the indivisibility and the inalienability of the country as well as the primogeneity guaranteed under imperial law in the succession to the throne of Württemberg.

The abbots and provosts of the 14 Württemberg monasteries appeared at the state parliaments from the eighties of the 15th century and gained significant influence. In addition to the 14 abbots, a Württemberg state parliament at that time consisted of around 30 noble knights, who had fiefs from the duke, and around 120 bourgeois members of the cities and offices. The knighthood did not want to participate in the state parliaments with the same intensity as the other two estates because they refused an obligation to provide financial support to the court in Stuttgart. Even the prelates, i.e. the abbots and provosts of the state monasteries who believed themselves to be autonomous, with their monastery manors made hardly any contribution to the tax revenue of Württemberg until about 1530. Only the bourgeois representatives of the countryside and thus the citizens and farmers of the Württemberg offices raised the taxes approved by the state parliaments.

A high point in the development of rural estates in Württemberg was the removal of Duke Eberhard II by the landscape in 1498. Now, with the benevolence of King Maximilian , a purely rural government administered the Duchy of Württemberg for the first time.

Document of the Tübingen contract in the main state
archive in Stuttgart

The Tübingen Treaty

Because of the constantly increasing tax burden, violent indignation arose in the rural population of the duchy of Württemberg, which was on the verge of national bankruptcy, at the beginning of 1514, which ultimately led to the uprising of poor Konrad in May . The landscape took this outrage from broad strata of its subjects as an opportunity to wrest a series of concessions from Duke Ulrich in the Treaty of Tübingen on July 8, 1514, in return for which the Duke's debts of 920,000 guilders were taken over by the landscape and then systematic taxation to reduce the debt burden has been approached. The debt burden was mainly due to Duke Ulrich's costly military campaigns and his lavish courtly lifestyle.

The Treaty of Tübingen guaranteed the state parliament the, in some cases, customary law participation in legislation, the right to tax permits, a right to participate in wars and peace decisions, and the right to refuse the sale of parts of the country. In addition, the Wuerttemberg subjects were granted legal security in court, whereby the penal provisions mentioned in the contract were characterized by physical cruelty that was customary at the time. The contract also provided for the possibility of free emigration from Württemberg for everyone.

The regulations of the Tübingen Treaty remained in force until the end of 1805 and can be regarded as the constitution of Old Württemberg. However, almost every time a new duke took office, there were disputes about the continuation, interpretation or amendment of the treaty.

Under Duke Ulrich and the Habsburgs

The Tübingen treaty only gave the representatives of honesty the opportunity to participate in state parliaments. Poor Konrad's demands for political participation remained unfulfilled. A farmers' parliament that met in Stuttgart at the same time as the Tübingen parliament in 1514 was inconclusive. Renewed uprisings by poor Konrad were now bloodily suppressed by the authorities.

As early as 1516, Duke Ulrich's policy was directed against the undesirable superiority of the estates after they had negotiated the exercise of government power for six years in the Blaubeurer Treaty of October 1516. Leaders of honesty were arrested and executed. In 1519 Duke Ulrich was expelled from his country by troops of the Swabian League because of his attack on the imperial city of Reutlingen . During the fourteen-year rule of the House of Habsburg that followed, the influence of respectability was consolidated and a total of 20 diets were held with the Catholic abbots of the country. During this time, the landscape appropriated the entire financial administration of Württemberg. In addition to the plenary parliamentary sessions, a small committee that regularly convenes and a so-called large parliamentary committee that can be expanded to include more people were formed for reasons of efficiency. However, the poor rural population of Württemberg did not benefit from the rule of the Habsburgs, which was exercised with the help of the Württemberg nobility. In 1525, during the Peasants' War, there was also an uprising of 8,000 Württemberg peasants under the leadership of Matern Feuerbacher . However, the Swabian Federation was able to defeat all peasant armies, including the Württemberg armies on May 12, 1525 near Böblingen . With this the state power of the Württemberg respectability was further secured. When the Swabian Confederation broke up in 1534 due to the denominational split as a result of the Reformation , Duke Ulrich, with the help of Landgrave Philip of Hesse, succeeded in recapturing Württemberg, in which the Reformation was now carried out in 1536. Duke Ulrich removed all rural institutions from the time of the Habsburg rule and did not convene a single parliament from 1540 until his death in 1550.

Reorganization under Duke Christoph

Ulrich's son and successor Christoph confirmed the Tübingen contract. The honesty and the now Protestant prelates of the 14 rural Wuerttemberg male monasteries were able to revive both the state parliament and the permanent state committees in 1554:

  • The smaller or closer committee is composed of two prelates and six representatives of the cities, one each from Stuttgart and Tübingen. The select committee was allowed to meet at any time of its own accord and also to complement itself if a member resigned.
  • The large committee consisted of the members of the select committee and another two prelates and six city representatives. The meeting of the great committee required the convocation of the duke.
  • The Landtag itself consisted of 14 prelates and 69 secular deputies from the official cities who embodied the estates. In a sense, they corresponded to the legislature. The stands employed the so-called landscape consultants as legal advisors, who represented the decisions to the outside world. In the estates, the prelates were soon the undisputed spokesmen for the diets. Prelates and citizens formed only one chamber. A division of the estates into the three curiae nobility, clergy and bourgeoisie, customary elsewhere, no longer existed in Stuttgart.

The nobility was definitely no longer part of the Württemberg landscape. The devastating policies of Duke Ulrich and his murder of Hans von Hutten had completely undermined the knighthood's loyalty to the Württemberg provinces. In 1561 the imperial immediacy of the Catholic nobility was established. This established the largely homogeneous Protestant bourgeois-peasant social structure of Old Württemberg. This was additionally strengthened by the Protestant church constitution of Württemberg introduced in 1565.

At the head of the executive was the duke with the court officials appointed by him, the country steward, the steward and the chancellor.

During the peace years

In the years from the Peace of Augsburg to the outbreak of the Thirty Years War , the Duchy of Württemberg experienced a long era of peace, which greatly favored the fundamental development of the Protestant-Pietist culture of Old Württemberg. This long Central European period of peace was overshadowed by the persecution of witches , even if relatively few persecutions took place in Württemberg.

The Württemberg estates were able to expand their position during these years, but not free from conflicts and serious crises. Duke Friedrich tried to replace his vassal army with a modern standing army and required the approval of the state parliament, which the latter refused with reference to the Tübingen Treaty. Therefore Friedrich wanted to obtain so-called explanations of the Tübingen Treaty in the state parliament, which demanded military service and additional taxes from the subjects. However, the state parliament rejected changes to the Tübingen Treaty in this regard and was therefore dissolved. The Duke also eliminated the institution of the small and large committee. The unexpected death of Duke Friedrich in 1608 stopped his efforts to weaken the estates for a long time.

In 1634 the fate of Württemberg was decided in the Thirty Years' War by the defeat of the Protestant princes against the allied imperial and Spanish armies in the battle of Nördlingen .

In the Thirty Years War

In the middle of the war, when the main state parliament passed in 1629, the estates succeeded in excluding the ducal officials from participating in state parliaments in the future. At the same time, the new supreme state authority, the so-called Secret Council , was jointly responsible for the landscape. The course of the war interrupted this success of the landscape and plunged it and the whole country into dire straits. After the battle of Nördlingen , the young Duke Eberhard , his councilors and four members of the landscape committee fled into exile in Strasbourg . The landscape consultant, landscape employees, the landscape treasury and the most important files also went into exile . The four-year direct rule of the Habsburgs over Württemberg from 1634 to 1638 had catastrophic consequences. Around two thirds of the population of Württemberg fell victim to atrocities of war, hunger and epidemics. The territory of Württemberg, threatened by the Edict of Restitution , was restored to its old extent with the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 , but the consequences of the war continued to weigh heavily on the country for a long time.

Reconstruction of the country

The decades after 1648, determined by the reconstruction of the completely ruined country, led to a close and trusting cooperation between the duke, his councilors and the estates. The Landtag met almost every two years.

Due to the exclusion of the officials since 1629, the residents of the Württemberg village communities felt disadvantaged compared to the residents of the official cities, since now only the honesty living there exercised the active and passive state election right. In the Tübingen contract, the passive right to vote was specified for the members of the honesty, but the contract made no statement about the active right to vote. In the course of the 17th and 18th centuries there was a change in the state electoral bodies in many places so that the rural areas were also included. Since the members of the state parliament did not have a free mandate , but only an imperative mandate , the lack of passive voting rights for the rural population was ultimately secondary to the political participation actually gained.

There were violent conflicts between rule and landscape under the administrator Friedrich Karl because of his careless policy in the Palatinate War of Succession , which in 1688, 1692 and 1693 led to an invasion of French troops in Württemberg. To get the marauding French army out of the country and to avert the complete destruction of Stuttgart, 600,000 guilders had to be paid to France. Since this huge sum could only be paid in installments, France took Württemberg hostages. There were seven so-called interim hostages, including the landscape consultant Johann Heinrich Sturm, and six so-called contribution hostages, including representatives of the landscape, who were held captive in Strasbourg and Metz under unworthy conditions from 1693 to 1696. Two of the hostages died in custody. These were the Hirsauer prelate Johann Ludwig Dreher on 7 September 1694, with its Göppinger Vogt Sigmund Georg Schott on 7 May 1695. The hostage crisis was finally in November 1696 with the help of the Basel banker Franz Leisler after tough negotiations with King Louis XIV. And Duke Eberhard Ludwig ended. As a thank you, the landscape gave all affected families gold-plated souvenir cups, so-called hostage cups.

The landscape in the age of absolutism

Composition of the Landtag, 1763

Since the reign of Duke Eberhard Ludwig, the estates had to defend themselves against the intensified absolutist efforts of their rulers. After the plenary session in 1699, the Württemberg state parliament was convened only twice for plenary sessions of all members throughout the 18th century. Otherwise, only the permanent committee of the estates met. In 1724, after violent disputes and under the impression of the constant military threat from France, the estates approved funds for the establishment of an army from Württemberg, albeit a very modest one . In the negotiations between the landscape and the duke, the Hirsau prelate Johann Osiander (1657–1724) stood out in particular.

In 1733, with the accession of the Catholic Duke Karl Alexander to the so-called religious reversals, the regional bishop's rights were transferred to the secret council, which was committed to the landscape. In addition, the landscape wrested further extensive privileges from the duke when he took office, which the duke tried to reverse during his reign. With the help of his Jewish financier Joseph Suss Oppenheimer , he quickly achieved a high degree of independence from the funds of the landscape treasury. However, this brought him into conflict with the pietistic moral concept of conservative honesty, whose relentless vengeance was discharged on his financier after the Duke's unexpected death in 1737. The new guardianship government convened a plenary session of the state parliament for the first time since 1699 in 1737.

Johann Jakob Moser played a key role in bringing about the so-called hereditary settlement, which settled the conflict between the Württemberg estates and Duke Carl Eugen .

Under Duke Carl Eugen , in the course of his long rule, which was characterized by splendid court rulings, with the tendency towards despotism , renewed violent conflicts with the landscape arose. On the part of the landscape, these conflicts were largely borne by the person of the landscape consultant Johann Jakob Moser . Moser, imprisoned on the Hohentwiel from 1759 to 1764 , made a decisive contribution to the so-called inheritance comparison of the year 1770 between the Duke and the Württemberg estates, in which the duke finally recognized the old estates' rights. The 64-page document contains regulations on the state constitution, the church constitution, the army, financial management, the municipal constitution and forestry. The inheritance comparison of the year 1770 is one of the most important constitutional documents of Old Württemberg, along with the Treaty of Tübingen.

Reform Parliament

Since the hereditary comparison of 1770, the estates had been determined by increasing nepotism between the narrow landscape committee and the landscape bureaucracy. In view of the French Revolution and under the influence of the coalition wars, the Württemberg state parliament met for its second and last plenary session in the 18th century in the spring of 1797. This plenary session, also known as the reform state parliament, dealt with the question of the financing of French contributions. There were violent disputes between the landscape oligarchy and their advisers in the committees, on the one hand, and the deputies, on the other, who ultimately elected a newly appointed committee from among the ranks of the opposition. The reform state parliament, which lasted until 1799, did not come to any tangible result.

The end of the Altwuerttemberg landscape

Elector Friedrich von Württemberg two days before his elevation to king, on December 30, 1805, forcibly appropriated the coffers and the archives of the estates and suspended the old constitution of Württemberg. The traditional co-government of the estates was thus ended. From the point of view of Friedrich and the leading minister, Count Wintzingerode , this step was urgently needed in order to quickly bring the Württemberg state, which was threatened in its existence, into line with Napoleon's will. The old Württemberg cities and offices now had to place themselves under the absolute governmental power of the new king and transfer their tax revenues to his government.

The estates of the Kingdom of Württemberg from 1815 to 1918

In the years of King Friedrich's absolute regime since 1806 there was no state parliament. The population repeatedly called for the granting of civic rights while remembering the Tübingen Treaty of 1514 and the “good old law”.

The assemblies of the estates from 1815 to 1819

At the beginning of 1815, King Friedrich called a meeting of the estates that was supposed to adopt a constitution for the estates. Members of the Protestant-Pietist Altwuerttemberg now gathered with predominantly Catholic members from the areas of Neuwuerttemberg that were won during the coalition wars between 1802 and 1810 . 31 mediatized princes and counts, 19 members of the knighthood, four delegates from the Protestant and Catholic Church as well as the State University of Tübingen and 71 members of the seven good cities belonged to the meeting of the estates, which met in a provisional meeting room in the building of the later established Katharinenstift in Stuttgart and the 64 senior offices. A draft constitution presented by King Friedrich was not approved by the Assembly of Estates, so that the Landtag was dissolved by King Friedrich on August 5, 1815, with reference to the current validity of the constitution. The result was a four-year constitutional struggle. This constitutional struggle, which lasted for years, was accompanied by political writings, among which the poems of Ludwig Uhland deserve special mention. A second conference period from October 1815 to December 1816 also did not lead to the adoption of the constitution. The old lawyers particularly disturbed the planned two-chamber system, which did not exist in the times of the duchy.

The meeting of the estates convened for the third meeting period also rejected a draft constitution by the new King Wilhelm on June 2, 1817 , so that the king also dissolved this assembly on June 4, 1817. In July 1819 a new meeting of the estates met; this time the draft constitution of the king was adopted in September and notarized on September 25, 1819 in a ceremony in the order hall of the Ludwigsburg Palace . The danger that the impending resolutions in Karlovy Vary might no longer be able to introduce a new constitution had now accelerated its adoption by the estates.

List of Presidents of the Assemblies of Estates from 1815 to 1819:

Term of office president
March 15 to July 28, 1815 and
October 16, 1815 to December 7, 1816
Prince August zu Hohenlohe-Öhringen
March 5 to June 4, 1817 Prince Maximilian Wunibald von Waldburg zu Zeil and Trauchburg
July 13th to September 25th, 1819 Prince Franz von Waldburg zu Zeil and Trauchburg

The new constitution regulated the duties and rights of the estates in 70 paragraphs (Chapter 9, Sections 124 to 194). These were supposed to participate in the legislative process, notify the king of any deficiencies in his government, bring legal action against unconstitutional action and approve the state budget. The newly established Secret Council acted as a link between the estates and the king .

The presidents of the state parliament from 1820 to 1918

Duration President of the First Chamber
1820 to 1835 Prince August zu Hohenlohe-Öhringen
1835 to 1860 Prince Ernst zu Hohenlohe-Langenburg
1860 to 1872 Count Albert von Rechberg and Rothenlöwen zu Hohenrechberg
1872 to 1899 Prince Wilhelm von Waldburg zu Zeil and Trauchburg
1899 to 1910 Count Otto von Rechberg and Rothenlöwen zu Hohenrechberg
1911 to 1918 Prince Johannes zu Hohenlohe-Bartenstein and Jagstberg
Duration President of the Second Chamber
1820 to 1830 Jakob Friedrich Weishaar
1833 to 1838 Baron Ludwig von Gaisberg-Schöckingen
1839 to 1848 Karl Georg Guardian
1848 to 1849 Wilhelm Murschel
1849 to 1850 Adolf Schoder (President of the National Assembly)
1850 to 1863 Friedrich von Römer
1863 to 1868 Franz Weber
1868 to 1870 Theodor Gessler
1870 Rudolf Probst
1870 to 1874 Franz Weber (for the second time)
1875 to 1881 Julius Hölder ( German Party )
1882 to 1894 Karl von Hohl (state party)
1895 to 1912 Friedrich Payer ( People's Party )
1913 to 1918 Heinrich von Kraut (BdL / Conservative)

The state parliament according to the constitution of 1819

A man of 30 years of age could be elected to the Landtag if he met the conditions set out in Section 135 of the constitution. These conditions included belonging to one of the three Christian denominations (Protestant, Reformed or Catholic), not to have come into conflict with the law, not to be in financial difficulties and not to be under guardianship or private service. According to Section 138 of the Constitution, the active right to vote was such that there was one voter for every seven citizens. For example, a municipality with 300 inhabitants in which there were 63 citizens provided nine electors. Two-thirds of the electors were those who had paid the highest taxes in the community in the past year. The remaining third of the electors were elected by the municipality's remaining taxpayers. The electors had to be at least 25 years old. Thus, until the end of the monarchy in 1918, the Württemberg estates were not sufficient either in their composition or in their constitutionally documented influence on the government of modern democratic ideas. Nevertheless, the second chamber of the Württemberg state parliament has shown a lively parliamentary development since it was founded in 1819, with contemporary high attention to the debates taking place there.

Composition of the First Chamber:

  • Princes of the House of Württemberg (Dukes)
  • Noblemen (princes and counts)
  • Personalities appointed by the king. According to Section 132 of the Constitution, these could not exceed one third of all members of the First Chamber.
Note: More than two thirds of the members in the First Chamber were Catholic, which was in contrast to the fact that more than two thirds of the Württemberg population were Protestant.
View into the so-called Halbmondsaal, the plenary hall of the second chamber of the Württemberg state parliament opened in 1819. The lithograph was created in 1833 and shows, among other things, the member of parliament Ludwig Uhland, who sits in the middle and turns to the viewer, and Paul Pfizer leaning against the column on the right .

Composition of the Second Chamber of 93 members:

23 preferred MPs (privileged):
70 elected MPs:
Ludwig Uhland , one of the liberal spokesmen in the Württemberg state parliament

The Chamber of Deputies in March

The chambers of representatives of the state parliaments in Württemberg and Baden enjoyed broad public awareness during the Biedermeier period and their liberal spokesmen were known throughout Germany despite or perhaps because of the current Karlsbad resolutions. In contrast to the one in Karlsruhe, the Second Chamber in Stuttgart was not a pure People's Chamber and also had to coordinate nominally with the First Chamber. Nevertheless, the Second Chamber in Stuttgart was able to act almost like a parliament consisting of only one chamber, because the Württemberg Chamber of Class Lords was rarely assembled with a quorum in the early days of the kingdom. This was due to the resentment that the noblemen harbored for a long time towards the king because of their mediatization. As long as one chamber did not have a quorum, it was considered, according to the constitution, to approve the resolutions of the other chamber. Due to the constant absence of most of the royal princes and lords, the first chamber was often not only unable to make decisions, but also barely able to work, because the entire burden of parliamentary work and the preparation of the necessary committee reports rested on the shoulders of the few lifelong appointed members. Famous liberal parliamentarians of the second chamber in Stuttgart were for example Paul Pfizer , Friedrich Römer and Ludwig Uhland . They took the floor for the civil liberties and the possibility of political participation and took a critical look at the existing repressive conditions of state and economic life, the social fabric as well as the religious and cultural realities of the Vormärz . The arbitrariness of the police and state press censorship, which was common throughout Germany in the run-up to the March Revolution , became the subject of the debates in the Crescent Room. The demand for German unity has also already been articulated here. The Chamber of Deputies in both Karlsruhe and Stuttgart were intellectual forerunners of the Frankfurt National Assembly in this regard .

Short-lived reforms of the revolutionary year 1848

In the election for the Frankfurt National Assembly , all citizens of legal age were allowed to vote secretly and directly and to stand for election. There were no longer any privileges of the nobility or of noblemen. Following this example, three state assemblies were elected in Württemberg in 1849 and 1850, which were supposed to adopt a new Württemberg constitution. In contrast to the course of the revolution in Baden , the consequences of the March Revolution in Württemberg remained very moderate and the events surrounding the rump parliament of the former Frankfurt National Assembly, which met in Stuttgart from June 6 to 18, 1849, marked the failure of the revolution. In 1851, the leading minister Joseph von Linden decreed a binding return to the Württemberg constitution of 1819. The ideas and ideals of 1848 nevertheless continued to have an effect and gradually led to the establishment of political parties in which the population could develop into political decision-making.

The electoral reform of 1868

With the constitutional law of March 26, 1868, the general, equal, direct and secret suffrage of the male population to elect the 70 members of the Second Chamber came into effect. Men of all denominations were now eligible, so that, with Eduard Pfeiffer , a Jewish member of parliament could move into the state parliament for the first time. The right to vote in the German customs parliament was exemplary in this reform . This did not change anything in the basic composition of the two chambers, in particular the position of the 23 privileged members of the Second Chamber, which continued to give rise to constant dissatisfaction. The years before the founding of the Empire in 1871 were marked by heated debates in the Second Chamber. The MPs of the People's Party had a Greater German attitude, the representatives of the German Party pleaded for the Little German solution . After the establishment of the German Empire , the Württemberg state parliament, like the state parliaments of the other southern German states of Bavaria , Baden and Hesse, lost its previous political and ideal significance.

Scene from 1864: The new King Karl von Württemberg comes with a large entourage to the opening of the Württemberg state parliament.

From the founding years to the constitutional reform in 1906

In the years after the electoral reform of 1868 and after the founding of the Reich in 1871, the change of the Second Chamber from a liberal assembly of dignitaries to a democratically legitimized representative body took place.

From 1868 to the constitutional reform of 1906, the distribution of seats between the parties in the Second Chamber was roughly as follows:

Election year Social
Party and
Association of
Others Privileged
1868   23 seats 14 seats 22 seats   11 seats 23 seats
1870   20 seats 32 seats 17 seats   1 seat 23 seats
1876   13 seats 18 seats 12 seats   27 seats 23 seats
1882   18 seats 23 seats 13 seats   16 seats 23 seats
1889   18 seats 29 seats 12 seats   11 seats 23 seats
1895 2 seats 31 seats 10 seats 18 seats 1 seat 8 seats 23 seats
1900 5 seats 28 seats 12 seats 18 seats 6 seats 1 seat 23 seats

There is no consensus in the literature about the composition or the quantitative scope of the respective parliamentary group. The figures given in the table for the years 1868 to 1900 must therefore only be taken as a rough approximation!

The center had only existed in Württemberg as a party since 1895. The reason for its late founding was that, unlike in neighboring Baden or Prussia, Catholics in Württemberg did not have to experience a culture war , especially since the long-time Prime Minister Hermann von Mittnacht was himself a Catholic. In 1876, after the elections, a regional party with a predominance of Catholicism was formed, which only included conservative parliamentarians close to the government. The democratically oriented Catholics under the leadership of Rudolf Probst as a faction of the left, on the other hand, were close to the People's Party.

The state parliament according to the constitution of 1906

The constitutional law of July 16, 1906 led to a fundamental reform in the composition of the two chambers of the Württemberg states.

Composition of the First Chamber:

  • Princes of the House of Württemberg (Dukes)
  • Noblemen (princes and counts)
  • a maximum of six personalities appointed by the king for life
  • eight representatives from the knighthood
  • the President of the Evangelical Consistory
  • the President of the Evangelical Regional Synod
  • two Protestant general superintendents
  • the catholic cathedral capitular (representative of the catholic bishop)
  • a Catholic dean
  • a representative of the University of Tübingen
  • a representative of the TH Stuttgart
  • two representatives from trade and industry
  • two representatives of agriculture
  • a representative of the craft

Composition of the Second Chamber:

The results of the last two state elections for the Second Chamber in the Kingdom of Württemberg are summarized in the table below. After the constitutional reform of 1906, the representatives represented there were elected by the people alone:

Election year Social
center Conservative
Party and
Association of
1906 22.6%
15 seats
24 seats
13 seats
25 seats
15 seats
1912 26.0%
17 seats
19 seats
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The conference building of the Württemberg state estates

Elevation drawing of the row of houses in the Württemberg state parliament building in 1806. From left to right, the landscape conference building (built in 1582, burned down in 1638 and rebuilt in 1658), the office (bought by the landscape in 1564) and the so-called Lange Bau , which was built in the 18th century In 1819 it was fundamentally rebuilt for the second chamber and then housed the half moon room until it was destroyed in 1944.

The buildings of the old Württemberg landscape in Stuttgart were located in the block between Kronprinzstraße, Kienestraße, Calwer Straße and the extension of today's Willi-Bleicher-Straße to the Kleiner Schloßplatz from 1564 until they were completely destroyed in the bombing war in 1944 .

Memorial plaque on today's commercially used successor building in Stuttgart's Kronprinzstraße

Until the middle of the 16th century, when the sovereign convened a state parliament, the search for suitable conference rooms in Stuttgart or other cities in Württemberg was always associated. For the state parliaments around the middle of the 15th century, the mansion on Stuttgart's market square could have been used initially. When the state parliament met in Stuttgart, the newly built town hall served as a meeting place from around the sixties of the 15th century. The opening and closing sessions took place in the presence of the Duke in the old castle.

In August 1564 the landscape bought a house in Stuttgart's Reichen Vorstadt for 2900 guilders, which belonged to the ducal chamber secretary Franz Kurz. This house was on the site of the later Kronprinzstrasse 4. This is where the landscape set up its office. In 1565, a vault for the state cash register and the archive was built in the house. Since Duke Christoph initially pointed out that this vault offered too little security for the cash register and that it was too damp for storing files, further adjustments were made to the building. At the entrance of the house, the coat of arms of the previous owner with the motto “It's going strange too” was attached, which was not removed. In the centuries that followed, the population applied this motto directly to the negotiations between the estates. The large and the minor committee of the estates now had their permanent seat in the house.

View of the state parliament building in Stuttgart's Kronprinzstrasse from 1845

Since the house at Kronprinzstraße 4 was too small for meetings of the entire state parliament, Duke Ludwig approved the construction of another building between 1580 and 1582 on the neighboring property acquired especially for this purpose in 1577, later Kronprinzstraße 6 on the corner of today's Kienestraße. The builder Jakob Salzmann drafted the plans for this new building, the construction costs of which came to 8,593 guilders in the end. On February 16, 1583, the first plenary session of the estates took place in the new building. The representative state parliament building had a large wine cellar, which was used for serving to the members of the countryside.

In the middle of the 18th century, the so-called Lange Bau was erected as a third landscape building in what would later become Kronprinzstraße 2. In 1819 this building was fundamentally rebuilt according to plans by court architect Gottlob Georg Barth and since then has housed the crescent room as the plenary hall of the second chamber, the Chamber of Deputies.

The first chamber, the chamber of the noblemen of the Kingdom of Württemberg, met from 1819 in the old stone landscaping at Kronprinzstrasse 6, at the corner of Kienestrasse. In 1910, eight years before its elimination in the November Revolution, the Chamber of Classes was given its own new building in today's Kienestrasse.

On the night of February 20-21, 1944 , all of the Württemberg state parliament buildings were destroyed to the ground by heavy bombs and a conflagration and were not rebuilt later. In its place there is now a commercially used modern business and office building.


  • Walter Grube: The Stuttgart State Parliament 1457–1957. From the estates to the democratic parliament. Edited by the Commission for Historical Regional Studies in Baden-Württemberg. Ernst-Klett-Verlag, Stuttgart 1957.
  • State Center for Civic Education Baden-Württemberg (Ed.): From the assembly of states to the democratic parliament. The history of the parliament in Baden-Württemberg. Theiss, Stuttgart 1982, ISBN 3-8062-0298-2 .
  • The President of the State Parliament of Baden-Württemberg (Hrsg.): State Parliament of Baden-Württemberg. A guide to the tasks and history of the state parliament. 12th edition. State Parliament of Baden-Württemberg, Stuttgart 2004, ISBN 3-923476-12-4 .
  • Frank Raberg : Biographical handbook of the Württemberg state parliament members 1815-1933 . On behalf of the Commission for Historical Regional Studies in Baden-Württemberg. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 2001, ISBN 3-17-016604-2 .
  • Peter Rückert (Red.): Landscape, country and people. Political participation in Württemberg from 1457 to 2007. Baden-Württemberg State Archive, Stuttgart 2007, ISBN 978-3-00-023012-7 . (Accompanying book and catalog for the exhibition of the State Archives Baden-Württemberg, Main State Archives Stuttgart and the State Parliament of Baden-Württemberg)
  • Götz Adriani and Andreas Schmauder (eds.): 1514. Power. Violence. Freedom. The Treaty of Tübingen in times of upheaval . Ostfildern 2014, ISBN 978-3-7995-0570-3 (museum edition), ISBN 978-3-7995-0550-5 (publisher's edition)

Web links

Commons : Conference building of the Württemberg state estates  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Notes and individual references

  1. a b c In the literature on the history of the Württemberg Land estates , landscape is initially used as the designation of the representatives of the third estate and not as the totality of all estates. Thus, in the literature for the 15th century, the classes as nobility (knighthood), clergy (prelates) and landscape (emissaries of the cities and offices) are usually mentioned. In the article here, however , the term landscape is used according to the definition in Wikipedia as the entirety of all stands. The landscape (in the Württemberg sense) merged with the Protestant clergy, so that the difference between the terms of the state and landscape in Württemberg was blurred from around 1550 onwards.
  2. ^ Exhibition catalog Landscape, Land and People , p. 40.
  3. The figures refer to the state parliament held in March 1498 to remove Duke Eberhard II and are mentioned on page 30 of the exhibition catalog Landscape, Country and People .
  4. From the Assembly of Estates to the Democratic Parliament , p. 33.
  5. ^ From the Assembly of Estates to the Democratic Parliament , p. 35.
  6. From the Assembly of Estates to the Democratic Parliament , p. 38.
  7. ^ From the Assembly of Estates to the Democratic Parliament , p. 42.
  8. From the Assembly of Estates to the Democratic Parliament , p. 43.
  9. ^ From the Assembly of Estates to the Democratic Parliament , p. 45.
  10. From the Assembly of Estates to the Democratic Parliament , p. 46.
  11. Sabine Hesse: The Württemberg landscape is a sign of low gratitude ... Article in the exhibition catalog Landschaft, Land und Menschen , pp. 51–59.
  12. ^ Exhibition catalog Landscape, Land and People , p. 149.
  13. ^ Exhibition catalog Landscape, Land and People , pp. 154, 156.
  14. From the Assembly of Estates to the Democratic Parliament , p. 123.
  15. ^ Walter Grube: Der Stuttgarter Landtag 1457 - 1957. Stuttgart 1957, p. 547.
  16. ^ Constitutional document for the Kingdom of Württemberg, dated September 25, 1819 (full text)
  17. Depending on the literature used, the composition figures vary, as some members of parliament can no longer be clearly assigned to a particular parliamentary group. The following literature was used here: James J. Sheehan : Der deutsche Liberalismus. From the beginnings in the 18th century to the First World War 1770–1914. Verlag C. H. Beck, Munich 1983, ISBN 3-406-09653-0 , p. 177 u. 267; Martin Furtwängler: Elections In: Meinrad Schaab , Hansmartin Schwarzmaier (Ed.) U. a .: Handbook of Baden-Württemberg History . Volume 5: Economic and social history since 1918, overviews and materials, complete index. Edited on behalf of the Commission for Historical Regional Studies in Baden-Württemberg . Klett-Cotta, Stuttgart 2007, ISBN 978-3-608-91371-2 , p. 524; Frank Raberg: Biographical handbook of the Württemberg state parliament members 1815-1933. W. Kohlhammer Verlag, Stuttgart 2001, ISBN 3-17-016604-2 .
  18. The one at James J. Sheehan: Der deutsche Liberalismus. From the beginnings in the 18th century to the First World War 1770–1914. Verlag C. H. Beck, Munich 1983, ISBN 3-406-09653-0 , p. 177 for 1868 specified mandate numbers of the individual parliamentary groups come from Gertrude Runge: Die Volkspartei in Württemberg from 1864 to 1871. The heirs of the 48 revolution in the fight against the Prussian - Small German solution to the national question. Stuttgart 1970, p. 148.
  19. The one at James J. Sheehan: Der deutsche Liberalismus. From the beginnings in the 18th century to the First World War 1770–1914. Verlag C. H. Beck, Munich 1983, ISBN 3-406-09653-0 , p. 177 for the number of mandates given for the individual parliamentary groups in 1870 come from Dieter Langewische: Liberalism and democracy in Württemberg between revolution and the founding of an empire. Düsseldorf 1974, p. 352 ff.
  20. The one at James J. Sheehan: Der deutsche Liberalismus. From the beginnings in the 18th century to the First World War 1770–1914. Verlag C. H. Beck, Munich 1983, ISBN 3-406-09653-0 , p. 177 for the number of mandates given for the individual parliamentary groups in 1876 come from H. Schultheß: Europäische Geschichtskalender , 1876, p. 216 ff.
  21. a b Frank Raberg : Biographical Handbook of the Württemberg State Parliament Members 1815-1933. W. Kohlhammer Verlag, Stuttgart 2001.
  22. ^ A b Paul Sauer: Württemberg in the Empire. Silberburg-Verlag, Tübingen 2011, ISBN 978-3-8425-1104-0 , p. 71.
  23. a b The one with James J. Sheehan: Der deutsche Liberalismus. From the beginnings in the 18th century to the First World War 1770–1914. Verlag C. H. Beck, Munich 1983, ISBN 3-406-09653-0 , p. 267 for 1895 and 1900 specified mandate numbers of the individual parliamentary groups come from the dissertation of Hannelore Schlemmer: The role of social democracy in the state parliaments of Baden and Württemberg and their influence on the development of the party as a whole between 1890 and 1914. Freiburg 1953, p. VIII
  24. Thomas Schnabel: History of Baden and Württemberg 1900–1952 . Kohlhammer Stuttgart 2000, p. 21.
  25. Designations for the buildings: the landscape, landscape buildings, state parliament building, old and new estate.
  26. The Kronprinzenstraße in Stuttgart was in the 18th century landscape alley .
  27. The Kienestrasse in Stuttgart formerly known Linde road and was in the 18th century as Kastkellereigasse referred.
  28. The Calwerstraße in Stuttgart was in the 18th century Stallmeistereigasse .
  29. The Willi-Bleicher-Straße in Stuttgart was called until 1982 Kanzleistraße .
This version was added to the list of articles worth reading on August 31, 2008 .