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Poland’s Last King and English Culture$
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Richard Butterwick

Print publication date: 1993

Print ISBN-13: 9780198207016

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198207016.001.0001

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(p.310) Conclusion
Poland’s Last King and English Culture

Butterwick Richard

Oxford University Press

Before his election, Stanislaw August defined the aims he was to pursue: a hereditary throne, the modest expansion, or at least the retention of the royal prerogative, majority voting in the Seym, an end to binding instructions, and the replacement of the abuses of the old ministers with an effective executive under royal direction. The Constitution was not given the chance to prove itself. Given the realities of Central and Eastern European power politics in the 1790s, it is difficult to see how it could have been otherwise. His efforts to ‘get in the end to the English system of government’ and transform Polish political culture have been a failure. Stanislaw August's patronage of Polish art, literature, learning, and education constitute some of the most important chapters in the history of the Polish Enlightenment. The English contribution to the renewal of Polish culture was substantial and, on the whole, beneficial.

Keywords:   hereditary throne, royal prerogative, Seym, Constitution, Polish Enlightenment, culture

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