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"Edict on Communal Affairs," issued by King Maximilian I, cosigned by Ministers Montgelas, Hompesch, and Morawitzky (September 24, 1808)

This edict introduced a new, moderately liberal, and elected urban and municipal self-government partly in order to subordinate the recently acquired, formerly autonomous Imperial cities to an effective centralized rule and partly in order to reflect the contemporary trend towards a strengthening of governmental administrative power (as was the case in Napoleonic France). This self-government was subjected to centralized supervision and bureaucratic control to a higher degree than stipulated by the Prussian bylaws of the same year.

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We have decided to enact general and uniform regulations for communal affairs, and to incorporate into the ordinance about this both the legal conditions that are appropriate for communities, and the principles by which their administration of public order and the economy shall be organized.

Part One. Of the legal conditions of the communities.

§ 1. What is understood by communities with respect to land and territory; – how they are to be formed and used, has already been determined by a supreme decree. Every city, market, every large village with farms nearby, or several close villages and individual farms form a community.

§ 2. In forming the communities, the utmost care should be taken that their boundaries are congruent with the natural location and encompass all parts of the administration in such a way that their boundaries simultaneously also determine, as much as possible, the boundaries of the tax district, the school district, the parish, and so on.

§ 3. With respect to the members of a community: every community is made up of the residents who own taxable landholdings within the boundaries or engage in taxable professions.

§ 4. That also includes house owners and tradespeople without any landholdings, if they pay tax on their houses or businesses.

§ 5. Excluded are lodgers and tenants, and those who, while they do own taxable land or hold rights within the boundaries of the community, have their residence elsewhere.

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