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National Liberal Party, Founding Program (June 12, 1867)

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We are determined to secure the jurisdiction of the central government and to extend it to all matters that concern the whole. We have as a goal the most complete possible transferal of the parliamentary functions of the state to the Reichstag. In addition the Prussian Landtag should gradually come to content itself with a position that does not in any way detract from the prestige and effectiveness of the Reichstag. We want to pursue this goal by constitutional means. Until it is reached in this manner, the two parliamentary bodies must mutually respect each other's powers and display a peaceful rivalry in the fulfillment of their callings.

By following the example of the Prussian Constitution in the drafting of the Imperial Constitution, imperfections corresponding to those of the former have found their way into the latter. In both cases we must now strive in a simultaneous and uniform manner for essential reforms that can furnish the only secure foundation of public law. First and foremost, the right of approving the budget must be fully secured, so that full influence over the activities of the state falls to the representatives of the people. No less urgent is the need for laws, resting on the juristic principle that everyone must answer for his actions, which will establish effective responsibility of ministers and all officers of the state. Beyond this, a more complete representation of the responsible bearers of governmental power should be provided for on the federal level and their relationship to the governments of the individual states clarified.

Through the events of the previous year and the transformations that have now begun, the tasks of the Prussian state – of the government as well as of the people – have multiplied.

The annexation of the newly acquired territories makes a program of energetic reform legislation – which under the domination of the Conservative party has been delayed and which during the constitutional conflict was completely brought to a standstill – urgent and not postponable. Throughout the country, innumerable abuses such as the freezing of credit on real property, the limitation on the freedom of movement, and the pressures placed on the trades and labor by the chains of trade regulations, await prompt redress. The necessary merging of the old and new territories calls for comprehensive reform in the organic and other important laws. We also owe to the new provinces, which in the areas of the judiciary and administration enjoy many advantages over us, protection of their institutions. It would be impossible to allow them to be replaced by faulty old Prussian institutions. Rather, uniformity should be brought about by our following their lead in those areas where they are ahead of us. Prussia owes to all Germany a good example in the fields of law and administration in so far as both of these matters are reserved to the individual states, since the future of the entire fatherland depends on that example. For this reason we believe that we must all the more zealously strive for the development and revision of the Prussian Constitution. Now as before we call for the fulfillment of the laws promised in the constitution and the reform of the House of Lords as the precondition of all reforms. With regard to reforms themselves, by far the most important are the following: first, the removal of the estates principle from the communal, district, and provincial constitutions and the reform of these constitutions in accordance with the principles of equality of rights and self-administration; second, the abolition of local manorial authority and manorial police powers.

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