Grand Duchy of Baden

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The Grand Duchy of Baden (German: Großherzogtum Baden) was a historical state in the southwest of Germany, on the east bank of the Rhine. It existed between 1806 and 1918.



Baden came into existence in the 12th century as the Margraviate of Baden and subsequently split into different lines, which were unified in 1771. In 1803 Baden was raised to Electoral dignity within the Holy Roman Empire. Baden became the much-enlarged Grand Duchy of Baden through the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806. In 1815 it joined the German Confederation. During the Revolutions of 1848 in the German states, Baden was a center of revolutionist activities. In 1849 it was the only German state that became a republic for a short while, under the leadership of Lorenzo Brentano. Finally the revolution in Baden was suppressed mainly by Prussian troops.

The Grand Duchy of Baden remained a sovereign country until it joined the German Empire in 1871. After the revolution of 1918 Baden became part of the Weimar Republic as the Republic of Baden.

Constitution and Government

The Grand Duchy of Baden was a hereditary monarchy with executive power vested in the Grand Duke while the legislative authority was shared by him with a representative assembly (Landtag) consisting of two chambers.

The upper chamber included all the princes of the ruling family of full age, the heads of all the mediatized families, the Archbishop of Freiburg, the president of the Protestant Evangelical Church, a deputy from each of the universities and the technical high school, eight members elected by the territorial nobility for four years, three representatives elected by the chamber of commerce, two by that of agriculture, one by the trades, two mayors of municipalities, and eight members (two of them legal functionaries) nominated by the Grand Duke.

The lower chamber consisted of 73 popular representatives, of whom 24 were elected by the burgesses of certain communities, and 49 by rural communities. Every citizen of 25 years of age, who had not been convicted and was not a pauper, had a vote. The elections were, however, indirect. The citizens selected the Wahlmänner (deputy electors), the latter selecting the representatives. The chambers met at least every two years. The lower chambers were elected for four years, half the members retiring every two years.

The executive consisted of four departments: The interior, foreign and grand-ducal affairs, finance, and justice, and ecclesiastical affairs and education.

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