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"Constitution of the Kingdom of Bavaria," issued by King Maximilian I, cosigned by Ministers Montgelas, Hompesch, and Morawitzky (May 25, 1808)

Montgelas secured the proclamation of this constitution (which in some of its provision mirrors that of the Kingdom of Westphalia) to forestall a tighter incorporation of Bavaria into the French-dominated structures of occupied Germany. But he had other important objectives as well. The constitution was supposed to aid in the institutional integration of the Bavarian territorial state (which was newly enlarged and thus more socially and culturally variegated) and to facilitate the implementation of Montgelas’s moderate liberal reform program, against which the crown and other conservative powers mounted effective resistance. The constitution’s representative organs balanced royally appointed notables against members of the educated and propertied classes selected by the wealthiest taxpayers in their ranks. This constitution yielded to a more liberal one promulgated in 1818.

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Guided by the conviction that the state, as long as it remains a mere aggregate of diverse parts, can neither attain the achievement of the full strength within its means nor grant the individual members of that state all of the advantages of civic association to the extent intended, We have already attempted, as far as possible for the time being, by several decrees, to lift the variety of administrative forms in Our Kingdom, to establish a more uniform system both for the direct and the indirect provisions, and to harmonize the major public institutions more closely with the common element of their purpose by means of arrangements that secure at the same time their special features. Furthermore, We have, with a view to providing all of Our states with the benefit of adequate and equal civil and penal codes, ordered the preliminary work necessary to this end, which actually has already been completed in part. However, these individual developments of particular parts of the state organization achieve the intended purpose only imperfectly and leave behind gaps, the filling in of which constitutes an essential step toward the necessary unity of the whole. Therefore, We have decided to endow all of the parts of the legislation and administration of Our kingdom, in respect to its external and domestic affairs, with a comprehensive cohesion through organic laws. And We have resolved to lay the foundations to this end by means of the current Constitutional Document. By appropriate regulations and provisions, it aims at providing the just demands of the state (based on its general raison d’état) toward its members, as well as those of the individual members toward the state, with the guarantee of their fulfillment, the whole with firm structure and cohesion, and each part of the state authority with the efficacy commensurate with the requirements of the common good.

Hence, We rule and decree as follows:

First Title. Main Regulations.

§ I. The Kingdom of Bavaria forms part of the Confederation of the Rhine.

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