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German Federal Act (June 8, 1815)

The general agreement between the German states with respect to the founding of a Confederation was first signed by 35 individual states and four free cities (Lübeck, Hamburg, Bremen, and Frankfurt) on June 8, 1815, during the Congress of Vienna. Soon thereafter, Baden, Württemberg, and Hesse-Homburg joined the German Confederation. The inclusion of the German Confederation in the Final Act of the Congress of Vienna of July 9, 1815, meant that the Confederation was recognized under international law. The Confederation remained in place throughout the revolution of 1848/49 and officially ended with the peace treaty signed by Prussia and Austria on August 23, 1866.

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In the name of the Most Holy and Indivisible Trinity:

The sovereign princes and free cities of Germany, animated by the common desire to carry into effect Article VI of the Peace of Paris of May 30, 1814, and convinced of the advantages which would result for the security and independence of Germany and for the repose and equilibrium of Europe from a firm and lasting union, have agreed to unite themselves in perpetual confederation, and have for this purpose invested their envoys and deputies at the Congress of Vienna with full powers.

(There follow the names of the plenipotentiaries)

In accordance with this resolution, the aforementioned plenipotentiaries, after properly accrediting their plenary powers, have agreed upon the following articles:

I. General Provisions

Art. 1. The sovereign princes and free cites of Germany, including Their Majesties the Emperor of Austria and the Kings of Prussia, Denmark, and the Netherlands; to wit, The Emperor of Austria and the King of Prussia, both acting on behalf of all their possessions formerly belonging to the German Empire,
the King of Denmark on behalf of Holstein, the King of the Netherlands on behalf of the Grand Duchy of Luxemburg,
unite in a perpetual union, which shall be called the German Confederation.

Art. 2. Its aim shall be to maintain the external and internal security of Germany and the independence and inviolability of the individual German states.

Art. 3. All Confederal members have, as such, equal rights. They all engage alike to maintain inviolate the Federal Act.

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