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The Polish Revolution and the Catholic Church, 1788–1792A Political History$
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Richard Butterwick

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199250332

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199250332.001.0001

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The Law on Royal Towns and the Constitution of 3 May 1791

The Law on Royal Towns and the Constitution of 3 May 1791

(p.238) (p.239) 10 The Law on Royal Towns and the Constitution of 3 May 1791
The Polish Revolution and the Catholic Church, 1788–1792

Richard Butterwick

Oxford University Press

During the negotiation of the new constitution between the king, Ignacy Potocki, Hugo Kołłątaj and others, the sejm was kept busy by the questions of sejmiks and a reform of procedure. The sejm passed a reform extending considerable civil rights and limited political rights to burghers of royal towns on 18 April 1791. This decision followed the sejm's longest debate on the proper extent of religious toleration. Enacting a legal preference for Catholics in municipal office was in the end rejected. The chapter next considers the Providential rhetoric and unorthodox procedures that contributed to the acclamation of the Law on Government on 3 May 1791 and its unanimous confirmation two days later, as well as the Constitution's provisions, especially regarding religion. The final section examines the revolutionary leadership in the altered political situation after 3 and 5 May, and the rise to power of Hugo Kołłątaj.

Keywords:   Four Years' Sejm, sejmiks, parliamentary procedure, burghers, nobility, Constitution of 3 May 1791, religious toleration, Roman Catholicism, King Stanisław August Poniatowski, Hugo Kołłątaj

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