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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 republican revolution

The republican revolution

(p.52) 2 The republican revolution
The Polish Revolution and the Catholic Church, 1788–1792

Richard Butterwick

Oxford University Press

This chapter explains how King Stanisław August and the Russian ambassador Otto Magnus von Stackelberg lost control of the confederated sejm that opened on 6 October 1788. With Russia engaged in war with the Ottoman Empire, the sejm, encouraged by Prussia, acclaimed an increase in the army to 100,000 men and threw off the Russian ‘guarantee’ of the Commonwealth's form of government. It took direct control of Poland's military, diplomacy, and government. The chapter analyses the clash between republican arguments and those advocating limited monarchy, explores the extraordinary atmosphere of the first months of the sejm, and considers the role of the Warsaw ‘public’ in the making of political decisions. It concludes with the implications of this ‘republican revolution’ for the clergy. By the beginning of 1789, following the collapse of royal authority and the influence of many bishops, ecclesiastical property was being targeted to fund the army.

Keywords:   Four Years' Sejm, Polish Revolution, Prussia, Russian Empire, Otto Magnus von Stackelberg, King Stanisław August Poniatowski, republicanism, public, Warsaw, army

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