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

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These secure and broad foundations are required for the vigorous advance of the fatherland. In addition, the increasing size of the state's territory increases the dangers of bureaucratic influences, and the sway of the system of communal administration which rests on preferential treatment and privileges is incompatible with the principles of modern law recognized in the constitution. The population, the urban as well as the rural, has, through the great and willing services it performed in the recent war, renewed its right to see its most urgent wishes finally fulfilled.

Among the other numerous objectives we support, we note the following: the protection of the legal system by means of an independent judiciary; the independence and expansion of legal procedure; the revision of laws dealing with conflicts of competence and the determination of the legality of actions in the administrative sphere; the extension of jury trial to all criminal matters of a political sort along with the dissolution of the Staatsgerichtshof; and the abolition of caution money and taxes on newspapers and journals.

Mindful of its heavy responsibility and loyal to the principles it enunciated previously, the party established internal peace during the days of danger and decision on the basis of law conforming with the constitution, and it also generously furnished the means and approved the armaments that would secure Prussia's unrestrained effectiveness in the pursuit of its destiny. For the honor and power of the fatherland, we shall continue to act in the same fashion. However, we are spurred on by the burdens of chronic war readiness to consolidate quickly the new conditions in Germany, in order that soon, in any event not later than the end of the provisorium, the necessary economy of a true peacetime level of military strength may be attained. In the meantime, the shortening of the required period of military service to the end of the thirty-second year, which has been secured in the constitution, must be quickly implemented, and every other possible easing of the burden in this policy area must be pursued.

We do not harbor the hope of fulfilling our numerous requirements all in a single stroke. However, we will forget none of them, and according to the propitiousness of the circumstances we shall place the one or the other in the foreground. But we consider at all times that the indispensable precondition for the successful cooperation between the government and the representatives of the people and for the prevention of new conflicts is an administration that acts in accordance with the laws and that is steadfastly respectful of the rights and freedom of the individual bodies politic as well as of the whole. Relapses into other practices characteristic of the past must be openly opposed without restraint, regardless of the danger. We can walk hand in hand only with a government that faithfully observes the law. With such a government we are ready to search out the proper paths.

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