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Frederick William IV and the Prussian Monarchy 1840–1861$
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David E. Barclay

Print publication date: 1995

Print ISBN-13: 9780198204305

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198204305.001.0001

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Becoming ‘Constitutional’: Reshaping Monarchy in a Post-Revolutionary Age, 1849–1854

Becoming ‘Constitutional’: Reshaping Monarchy in a Post-Revolutionary Age, 1849–1854

(p.214) 9 Becoming ‘Constitutional’: Reshaping Monarchy in a Post-Revolutionary Age, 1849–1854
Frederick William IV and the Prussian Monarchy 1840–1861

David E. Barclay

Oxford University Press

After 1848, Frederick William IV always felt that his native city had betrayed him in the March revolution. The king's oath-taking ceremony had been preceded by two months of bitter political wrangling over the constitution's final form and the nature of Frederick William's oath to it. After several weeks of confused, exhausting, and bitter governmental crisis, an acceptable compromise was finally worked out. The architect of that compromise was Joseph Maria von Radowitz. The major bone of contention concerned the composition of the First Chamber, the upper house of the parliament. Frederick William's own position, as the two incidents that we have described suggest, was ambivalent. His power remained immense, but he had to accept real constitutional limits on that power. During the decade of reaction Prussia's traditional rulers had to adjust themselves to far-reaching processes of demographic, economic, and social change.

Keywords:   March revolution, Frederick William IV, Joseph Maria von Radowitz, Prussia, statesmen

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