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Bavarian Edict on "the Establishment of a Gendarmerie" (October 11, 1812)

Bavaria was one of numerous German states that emulated the French in establishing a Gendarmerie, an armed police force that stood between local police officials and the army. The Gendarmerie was entrusted especially with maintaining law and order in the countryside and along state borders, especially against armed bands, vagrants, poachers, and smugglers. But as this excerpt shows, their powers were far-reaching and also encompassed the suppression of popular tumults. The Gendarmerie Edict shows that Bavarian state power was wary of the potential for unruliness in a still largely pre-industrial society and that it sought to impose a “modern” administrative-legal discipline on that society, despite its use of a language of “citizenship” rather than “subjecthood.”

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I. Establishment of the gendarmerie

A gendarmerie is to be set up, and beginning next year it shall be assigned with the handling of police matters, which has hitherto been the duty of the police cordon, as well as preserving the peace, order, and security within the Reich.
[ . . . ]

III. Formation of the gendarmerie

Art. 3. The gendarmerie will consist of 343 cavalrymen and 1,332 infantrymen, not counting the superior officers and the field officers. [ . . . ]

IV. Location of the gendarmerie

[ . . . ]

Art. 11. The commander of the first legion will have his seat in Munich and will distribute his forces within the Isar-, Inn-, and Salzach-Districts.

The commander of the second legion will reside in Augsburg and will deploy his forces in the Iller-, Upper Danube-, and Rezat-Districts.

The commander of the third legion, finally, will stay in Regensburg and will extend his sphere to the forces dispersed in the Main-, Regen-, and Lower Danube Districts. [ . . . ]

V. Appointment of officers, subaltern officers, and common soldiers

[ . . . ]

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