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Georg Wedekind, "Appeal to Fellow Citizens," delivered to the Society of the Friends of the People in Mainz (October 27, 1792)

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Here I note straightaway the following, major flaws in our constitution.

Every government that is headed by a regent is flawed, that is, all monarchies are worthless.

The proof is:

1. A single man by himself is unfit to lead a government, because he is subject to all the fates that can befall individual people. The ruler can thus fall ill, go crazy, he can degenerate into a voluptuary and a wastrel; he can be too old, too young, and so on. If that happens, the state is in a bad way. One example is Friedrich Karl Joseph Erthal. At the beginning of his reign, he acted the hypocrite, and thereafter he became a voluptuary and a wastrel. For several years, he suffered from hypochondria, and this had the sad effect of throwing everything into confusion. People who were bandits plundered the land, and intrigue ruled.

2. A single man cannot possess all the knowledge necessary for a government that is, after all, supposed to bring about the best for people who are so varied and pursue their trade in such various ways, for it is impossible that a single man could assess the varied interests of so many thousands of subjects. – You can readily see that. – “But” (you will say), “for that every prince has his councils, they must understand the matter.” Well, then; however, if the councils are to run the government, the prince is superfluous.

3. Every prince is a person like other people. Now, every person has his private ambition and private interests, which are very often quite opposed to the interests of the subjects. The following may serve as an example: It was surely not in the interest of the Mainzers that the Elector became so closely involved with the aristocrats that he caroused with them, that he sought to incite all other great lords against them, that he sent 2,000 of his faithful subjects to Speyer to the slaughterhouse and into captivity. His mere vanity was the cause of all this. He wanted to act like a big man, he wanted to make himself into the protector of the former kings of France, the former princes, and the former French nobility. That flattered his ambition. The French ladies played their part as well, as did the half-French Lady of Coudenhoven. And thus, blinded by his vanity, he forgot the welfare of his subjects. In fact, the archchancellorship in the so-called German Empire was dearer to his heart than the governance of his country, because it was more flattering to his lust for fame. Instead of spending so much time with legations, he should have visited the huts of his miserable subjects in the Eichsfeld and the Spessart. All the lofty business he conducted as archchancellor brought no benefit to his subjects, but it did bring debts. Was it not also his vanity that made him send nearly all of his soldiers to Lüttich to return to slavery a people who were oppressed by a bad prince and whose cause was so just?

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