The Extra Girl: For the first heaven and the first earth were passed away.

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Dr. Waterhouse, Apr 19, 2018.

  1. Dr. Waterhouse A Mighty Fortress Is My TL

    Nov 12, 2008
    I actually couldn't read that without imagining those as Maria Eleonora's words, as she batters him with one her free arm while she holds his heir in the other.
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  2. Tales Weaver Just An Ordinary CItizen

    May 5, 2017
    Kimpo, South Korea
    Any news on Ming Dynasty?
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  3. Dr. Waterhouse A Mighty Fortress Is My TL

    Nov 12, 2008
    Well, I actually really want to reduce the wild butterfly part of the proceedings that generate effects too early too far afield. We may see some effects of these events in Europe significant enough that they could affect China maybe in the latter half of the seventeenth century, but I don't want to get ahead of myself. In the meantime, if you have good recommendations on sources I could consult on sixteenth and seventeenth century China, feel free to PM me.
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  4. Dr. Waterhouse A Mighty Fortress Is My TL

    Nov 12, 2008
    Dearest and Most Wholly Beloved Subjects:

    WE Confess when We requested from Your Honorable Selves the Loan to Make Right the Parlous State of our Country, We Expected that You Might Answer Yes, or No, but not a List, Such as Which We Did Receive from You, or that this List would apparently Touch upon Matters, and a great many of Them, That would be Wholly Unrelated to that of this Money, or of any Money at all. This is Not to State Our Opposition to any of those Several Requests you Made of Us in your Kind and Obeisant Letter. It is More that We are Bewildered by How to Proceed in Complying with your Many Prolix, Garrulous and Inconsistent Demands.


    In Matters of Religion, You are clear that You are Demanding the Expulsion of the Jews not only of the Land of Saxony, of Which We are by the Wrath of God the Prince Elector, and You the Estates, but of Those Realms appended to Saxony by the Deeds and Works of His Most Serene Highness my Lord Father, in Which We Have no Title but Prince Defender, and are Granted by the Pertinent Charters no Power beyond the Responsibility to Defend the Liberty of Those Territories from Outside Predators, and to These Same You Have No Legal Relationship but as Strangers. We Would Have No Legal Right to Enter upon Eisenach or Quedlinburg, Expelling the Residents of Those Places, Sending Them Forth with Whips and Flails, and Seizing Their Property, than We Would That of Pomerania or Brandenburg, and We Would Reach or Attain No Greater Right to do so by Your Leave and Authority than the Great Turk Would Have to Enter upon Your Homes and Eat Your Suppers. In That Circumstance, We Would Be not the Protector of the Christian Liberty of These Places but Its Offender, and Our Adjudication of Their Residents as Jews Supported by no Court or Process in that Country at All. Thus would We, in Lightly Acceding to This You Ask of Us, Be Not Even Your False Elector, [1] But a True Brigand.

    To This Purpose, and to the Purpose of Otherwise Resolving the Profuse, Manifest and Obscure Uncertainties Opened by Your Requests, and Resolving Them in a Way that leaves None of Our Subjects Without Participation or Recourse in the Rules by Which They Would be Bound, We Propose the Summoning of a New Body Composed of the Estates of Not Merely the Realm of SAXONY but These Appended States, Whether They Be Free or Imperial Cities or Former Ecclesiastical Lands, on the Understanding that Their Sending Members to such a Body Shall Bind Them to Its Acts Irretrievably, Just as My Calling it Shall Bind My Will as Your Prince to its Acts, Whatever the Consequences.

    Moreover, with respect to Those Particular Matters of the Most Holy and Blessed Church of Saxony, Surely Of All the Jewels which God Has Entrusted to Our Care, the One We Love Best, and Which We Would Rather Die Than Destroy, Lose, Squander or Bring to Mischief, or See the Purity of Its Holy and Certain Doctrines, Purchased at the Cost of So Much Blood Shed by all our Good Fathers, Dirtied, We Do Confess Our Great and Lasting Respect for Doctor FLACIUS, Just as We Fear His Name May be Sullied by the Exercise of Frauds or Forgeries with Papers Waved and Bandied About Bearing It. For That Purpose, We Will Gladly Send Forth to Seek Doctor FLACIUS's Advice, and Accept any Recommendations He May Put to Me with Respect to Those Persons Best Able to Govern the Church of Saxony, and About Any and All Doctrinal Matters Whatsoever, Requiring Only that He Make All Such Recommendations to Us in Audience with Our Person, so that His Good Name Cannot Find Abuse in the Hands of Bad Men.

    As to the Matter of His Most Serene Highness the Duke JOHANN HEINRICH, All Legal Proceedings We Know of with respect to Him Have Been Closed with an Exercise of Mercy by Our Selves, One That Was Against the Advice of the Tribunal Both as to His Guilt and as to the Gravity of the Crimes He Was Found Guilty of, and Which was Freely Given. We Are Sure We Do Not Need to Remind You It Is a Legal Principle since Time Immemorial that Legal Proceedings, Once Verdicts Have Been Rendered and the Magistrate's Will Done, Are Not Revisited. If It Were Otherwise, No Penalty Could Ever Be Finished for the Convicted Man Without Having More Laid Upon Those Shoulders Later, Nor Could Any Acquitted Man Rest, but that His Accusers Pursue Him Subsequently for the Same Crime Until They Render Him Convicted, Like a Stag Who Evades the Baying Hounds again and again, until He Tires, Nor Could Any Man Benefit From His Prince's Kind and Magnanimous Mercy, But Might Later Have That Mercy Stripped from Him, and Stand for a Punishment He Had Been Earlier Spared. To Revisit the Guilt of His Most Serene Highness Duke JOHANN HEINRICH as it was Found by a Neutral Tribunal, and to Strip From Him the Shield of His Prince's Mercy, Does Him No Favors, but Exposes Him to Great Danger, and We are Sure that upon further reflection on this Matter, You Will Agree, and that His Most Serene Highness Duke JOHANN HEINRICH Himself, Will Enjoin You to do Nothing Else, But Permit Him to Rest Easy in the Freedom Given Him by the Prior Exercise of His Prince's Mercy.

    Finally, We Would Like to Extend Our Most Hearty Princely Thanks for the Concern Expressed Towards the Spiritual and Worldly Well-being of our own Dear Sons, Their Serene Highnesses the Dukes MARK ANTON and FRIEDRICH. As You Do Know, In Our Own Childhood We Were Removed from the Comforts of Mother, Family and Homeland, and Sent Far Away, and for that Reason, No Matter Touches Our Hearts as does the Well-being of our Dear Most-Beloved Sons. No Stone in the World, Not Even Those of Antique Rome, or Those Formerly Compounded into Solomon's Temple, Bear Inscriptions So Long, and So Durably, As the True Heart of a Prince. Nor Does Any Instrument Cut It So Sharply as Does the Matter of His Children. And so, You Members of the Saxon Estates, You Who Have so Kindly Set Your Names to This Public Statement of Your Solicitude for the Well-being of the Bodies and Souls of the Young Dukes, Be Certain that We Will Remember These Deeds and Sentiments of Yours Forever, and Be More Certain Yet, that Continued Statements of Your Concern For the Young Dukes will Earn for You Nothing Less Than Your Prince's Likewise Complete Attention to Your Well-Being, For as Long as We Do Live.

    Most Truly, Not Yours, But Him to Whose Loving Hands God Has Entrusted Your Earthly Lives,


    [1] Alexander's use of the phrase "False Elector" plays off a trope in the broadsheets in which he had been abused. His father, the Elector Friedrich IV, had been called by Catholic propagandists "Friedrich the False." That made it ironic for Alexander to inherit the descriptive not by the doing of Catholic writers, but by Lutheran ones, who called him "Alexander the False" by virtue of his supposed kindness to Calvinists, Anti-trinitarians, and other Christians held as heretics by the Lutheran orthodoxy of the time.
  5. Rdffigueira A citizen of the Southern Hemisphere

    Nov 14, 2014
    Rio de Janeiro/BR
    I simply loved this exchange between Alexander and the Estates. The extremely verbose writing makes us wonder about the implicit subtext of the authors, and allows for interesting word plays and hidden irony.
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  6. Dr. Waterhouse A Mighty Fortress Is My TL

    Nov 12, 2008
    I don't know nearly enough about German rhetoric in the sixteenth century, but one of the few practical uses of my graduate coursework in English literature is that I read enough primary sources in various genres to have a sense of how prose in these contexts would be crafted, how the syntax might look, and how it might be presented in a translation intended to preserve the character of the original. Of course, extreme liberties are being taken here, not least because these are documents I am writing for your entertainment, rather than the product of an actual Holy Roman prince of the period, but I think it holds up for our limited purposes.

    EDIT: By the way, I've just started reading your Crusades timeline, and am really enjoying it. :)
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2019
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  7. Dr. Waterhouse A Mighty Fortress Is My TL

    Nov 12, 2008
    Prefatory Note V: The Saxon Estates in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries

    In the late fourteenth century the margraves of Meissen frequently needed to approach their subjects for financial assistance, and to this purpose requested funds from the Estates. Towns were soon subject to a fixed contribution, and both the subordinate nobility and ecclesiastical institutions like bishoprics and religious houses were induced to contribute. The first such meeting was held with respect to Meissen proper in 1376, and for the whole territory of the margraviate in 1385. In that year the Estates consented to provide the funds requested, but only on condition that it would not be repeated except in the gravest circumstances. Of particular significance was that the important bishops of Meissen, Naumburg and Merseburg were subject to the rule of the margrave, paid his taxes, and thus were not directly subordinate to the emperor.

    Nonetheless, the Estates were not consulted when taxes were not at issue. In particular, the partitions of the margraviate in 1379 and 1382 was simply negotiated by the principals, and the various members of the estates instructed as to which lord they were now subject. The Estates did however arbitrate in subsequent disputes over partition in 1410, 1415, 1418 and 1423, signalling a growing authority in the context of a divided princely order. Then in 1425 Margrave Friedrich IV inherited his brother's shares, reuniting the patrimony, and was enfeoffed with the Electorate of Saxony in recognition for his participation in the Hussite Wars.

    In 1428 Friedrich died, leaving his minor sons as heirs. The Estates were summoned to swear fealty to the new rulers, even in the face of a Hussite invasion. The Saxon Estates used the opportunity to force the princes to swear they would respect all existing grants of rights to the nobility and clergy, and to observe a grant of limited legal jurisdiction to them. Hard-pressed by the Hussite Wars, and deep in debt, the princes made further concessions to the Estates, who were meeting and acting in concert. In 1437, when the surviving two princes, Friedrich and Wilhelm, met to negotiate a new organization of the country, the Estates participated actively in the discussions, and not as invited mediators, as they had in the events of 1410-1423.

    Then in 1438 the first formal meeting of the Estates as such were held in Leipzig in which representatives from the whole of Saxony were invited. This time the clergy were not present, though. Claiming they had depleted their resources defending the country and were subject now to impossible debts, the Wettins gave the Estates the choice of imposing a property and cattle tax or a five percent excise tax. Moreover, they were willing to delegate the collection of the tax and control of the money. The Estates responded by approving the excise tax and appointing a committee of two clergy, two nobles and three from the towns to manage the tax. In a subsequent meeting the Estates then rolled back the excise tax to 3 1/2 percent and exempted the nobility and clergy from having to pay taxes on the sales on products from their own lands. Afterwards, four sets of partners, one noble and one mayor, were appointed excise masters and given the responsibility for collecting the tax. With four additional "princely councillors" these were also assigned the responsibility of applying the receipts to the princes' debts. Finally, the Estates limited the tax further, to two years, and forced the princes to promise neither to extend the tax beyond two years or to impose new ones. If the princes reneged on these promises, the people thus abused would have the power to rise up and protect the rights ceded to them by the prince.

    So powerful was the Estates following this disposition that in 1445 the Estates met on their own to negotiate a new partition and governing scheme for the country. The next year the Elector Friedrich asked for a new tax from the Estates, and received it only with the stipulation that he dismiss foreign councilors, describe how the debts were accumulated, and present to them a debt payment plan. In 1451 he held a new meeting of the Estates, which again assented to a new tax and again appointed a committee to oversee the whole process, this time consisting of ten nobles, two members of the clergy, and six mayors. This basic process repeated in 1454, 1458 and 1481, but with the committees of 1454 and 1481 coming entirely from the nobility.

    Ernst and Albrecht began their joint rule in 1464, and in 1466 in return for a grant the Estates forced them to promise to respect their advice in matters of war and peace if they intended to seek out the Estates' contribution to pay for the war in question. Then in 1470 the brothers had to summon a new meeting of the Estates, which imposed a tax on beer to help pay their debts. The Estates refused outright an additional tax on meat, bread, wine and mead, with some of the funds thus raised being kept by the Estates for their own purposes. This in turn paved the way to their extension of the tax. Afterwards, better economic conditions also meant fewer requests for financial assistance from the Estates.

    With prosperity and increasing princely revenues reducing the Estates' importance, they were not involved in the momentous partition of 1485 into Ernestine and Albertine Saxonies. Representatives of the towns were not even invited to the meeting at which the partition was finalized.

    In Albertine Saxony, meetings of the Estates and their use to levy taxes were a normal part of government, with the longest period between meetings of the Estates 5 1/2 years. Duke Georg was particularly skillful at negotiating with them, preferring to deal with Estate separately to minimize the leverage they could bring to bear against him. Nonetheless, the Estates continued their decline in importance, such that when Heinrich the Pious introduced the Reformation to Albertine Saxony in 1540, they were not at first consulted on the matter.

    However, because of money difficulties Heinrich had to summon the Estates subsequently. With much of Albertine Saxony's nobility still Catholic, they protested his change, but agreed to it so far as no one would be required to act against his conscience, and to foreswear the force or compulsion to secure conversions. Moreover, the nobility of the Estates asserted prerogatives over the disposition of Albertine Saxony's religious houses. Heinrich in turn agreed to many of their demands, and in particular forswore the use of force in securing the acceptance of Protestantism. This was not good enough for the Albertine Estates, who attempted to link their approval of extensions of the beer tax to the fate of the religious lands and houses. In the end the duke accepted the appointment of a committee to determine the fate of the ecclesiastical properties in return for the extension of the much-needed beer tax.

    As a result of this extended confrontation, in Albertine Saxony it was not the princely ruler but the lower nobility who received the bulk of the ecclesiastical properties following the Reformation.

    Following the death of Duke Heinrich, Moritz immediately attempted to force through a new charge to support a force of 1,000 cavalry and 5,000 foot to defend the country from the Turks, and tried to make the argument that the self-apparent urgency of the situation meant there could be no delay for the Estates to meet in one body to approve the tax and allocate the money. However, he found without the approval of the Estates he could not receive the needed money. Moritz then used the subsequent meeting of the Estates to announce a plan for a more orderly disposition of the Church's assets, permitting some monks and nuns to remain in their houses for the duration of their lives, selling other lands and houses, and using the proceeds to fund preaching and the education of the poor. The committee appointed by the Estates favored leases rather than sales, which would give the country a longer revenue stream than one-time proceeds from sales. Moritz however, eager to receive funding for his military force, won out.

    Then in 1546 Moritz at the start of the Schmalkaldic War summoned the Estates of Albertine Saxony without informing them of his plan to go to war against the Ernestine Wettins or his alliance with the Emperor. He accepted the appointment of six councilors (five from the nobility, and the mayor of Leipzig) from the Estates to advise him how to proceed in the constantly changing circumstances of the times, but the Estates refused to vote him the funds he wanted to go to war. Moreover, the Estates counseled him to remain neutral and begin no war himself, but on those conditions they were willing finally to give him 400 horse and 4,000 foot.

    Two weeks later the Emperor Charles ordered Moritz to execute the imperial ban. On hearing this, the committee of six appointed by the Estates demanded to summon the full body in order to ascertain their opinion, given the difference between this course of action and the guidance the Estates had previously provided Moritz. At first he permitted only a deputation to meet, and they provided cautious advice that he should act to support the emperor in so far as was necessary to prevent himself and the ruling house of Albertine Saxony from falling prey to a ban themselves. Then six weeks later, the full Estates met and provided a more enthusiastic answer, moreover voting funds for Moritz to undertake warfare for the acquisition of Ernestine Saxony.

    Moritz's action earned him disapproval from some members of his Estates, because he had not candidly shared information with them, preferred dealing with committees to the full body, had not respected their traditional role in approving any wars before they began, and had neglected to involve them when he could financially act independently of them.

    The information above was found in Carsten, F.L., Princes and Parliaments in Germany (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959), pages 191-215.

    Note: This source presents an extremely limited account of the transactions of the Ernestine Wettins and their Estates parallel to its rich treatment of Albertine Saxony. Unfortunately most of its treatment of Friedrich the Wise pertains to his machinations with respect to Hesse during the early life of Philip the Magnanimous, and its treatment of Johann Friedrich is limited to that Elector's involvement of the Schmalkaldic War.
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2019
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  8. Dr. Waterhouse A Mighty Fortress Is My TL

    Nov 12, 2008

    The Paulinerkirche of Leipzig, where in March 1578 the Estates General of Saxony, the body into which would develop the present Estates General of the German Empire, met for the first time.

    German Constitutional Democracy: Its Origins and Contexts by Uwe Mentzer

    The same theatricality and ease with dissimulation that served the Elector Friedrich IV so well in other areas eased his dealings with the Estates of Saxony, both during the period he dealt exclusively with the Estates of Ernestine Saxony, and during the time thereafter in which the Estates of the Ernestine and Albertine realms sat together. Though much of his military expenses was paid by his famous subsidy from Henry VIII, and Friedrich was expert at the blackmails and larcenies necessary to wring funds from the locales through which his army passed under cover of "free gifts", he occasionally had recourse to the Saxon estates for the extraordinary amounts his campaigns required.

    Of course, in this he was assisted by the nature of the crisis: every precedent in the history of the Saxon Estates since it first met as such in 1438 made clear they were the recourse primarily for dire and extraordinary fiscal emergencies, most particularly those arising from military necessity. And within those instances, external invasion and the threat of conquest were clearly the most compelling circumstances imaginable. If the source of the danger was unusual, Charles V being the very Emperor to whom the entire political order owed allegiance, any uncertainty was driven away not just by the threat to the new religious feeling, but by the dynamics of sixteenth-century warfare. One did not have to be an enthusiastic Lutheran to understand that the Imperial armies threatening Saxony would need provision and seek depredation. And all knew that there was no way the violence consequent to a Habsburg victory and conquest could be limited to one ruling house or one religious community. When Friedrich IV rang the alarm of the Saxon Estates in 1542, and three subsequent times over the next decade, he made clear the threat was to the general polity.

    All that said, however, Friedrich approached the matter of persuading the Estates to fund his campaigns with panache. He called his first request for a beer tax from the estates the martingebuehr, and pitched it as literally money for the protection of Martin Luther. Luther himself recorded in his letters before his death his irritation that the elector had assigned his name to a duty on his favorite drink. Luther refused however to appear in person before the Estates appealing for the approval of the tax, together with his wife and small children. Later, after Luther's death, Katarina von Bora was prevailed upon to go before the Estates begging on the Elector's behalf, once Friedrich made clear certain pensions and privileges she had received from the state might be otherwise withdrawn. Also pressed into service was the Duke Alexander, who at the age of two was brought to the Estates wearing a tiny suit of armor, so that his uncle Johann could declaim the necessity of providing assistance to preserve the boy's patrimony. On other occasions Friedrich flattered his Estates with grandiose displays, gifting their leading members with Spanish armor and finery looted from the camp of Charles V at Kreuzberg.

    The result of this was that, for whatever other problems he may have had, Friedrich reached the end of his crisis years with his Estates not merely compliant but enthusiastic in their good wishes. For his part, Friedrich, despite worries over the state of the army with the English subsidy ended following the accession of Mary I, chose not to bother his Estates further for additional grants or taxes, and let a good many of those that had been voted to him during the Spanish War expire. This only improved his standing, as he felt the reputation for fiscal prudence would help him should pressing needs ever arise again.

    Thus Alexander, in addition to everything else, could count among his inheritance from his father in 1562 the unabashed good will of the Saxon Estates. Moreover, the guiding principles of Alexander's policy at first was itself a balm to the usual worry of the feudal estates: by maintaining close relations with the Habsburgs who were the primary external threat, and showing no sign of bellicose tendencies otherwise, it seemed supremely unlikely he would require extraordinary grants to fund war-making, whether offensive or defensive. Moreover, the skill with which he and Julius of Braunschweig were handling the Electorate's ordinary fiscal revenues made it seem even less likely he would have to at some point impose upon the Estates.

    This long period in which Alexander and Julius's perceived expertise, their lack of any need for extraordinary tax revenue, and burgeoning trade all ultimately worked to contribute to the eventual shock when, in the financial crisis following the effort to procure the Polish crown for the Emperor Maximilian II, Alexander did ask for money. From his perspective, he had more than proved the probity of his management and had earned the Estates' deference. However, from the Estates' perspective, the nature of the crisis Alexander approached them with was as novel and unprecedented in the worst possible definitions of those terms as his father's had been otherwise. The Estates had been extraordinarily patient in supporting (mostly) defensive wars with the overarching goal of protecting the realm's religious identity. Arguments about the solvency of state-run enterprises, and more particularly about the attendant well-being of the private lenders who a mere generation before would not have been able to conduct such business legally, found appalled silence.

    But what it also met were several other factors, including the slowly building resistance to the liberal religious policy inaugurated by Friedrich. So long as the elector's public stance was seen as necessary to maintain German Protestant unity in the face of an aggressive Habsburg menace, it was if not popular, excusable. Less understandable to ordinary Saxons, or even the nobility, were policies which permitted the Jews to live among Christians virtually without restriction, which invited French-speaking Sacramentarians to occupy Saxon farmland, or which, most bizarrely in the eyes of Saxon society even though it was a necessary term to any peaceful coexistence with the Emperor, allowed Roman Catholics to worship in the old way even in Wittenberg itself. Members of the Johannine House had agitated against these irregularities virtually from their inception, and championed the norm of a single Christian Church coextant with the Saxon polity. But in this they had been effectively checked by the tremendous power held by the Holy Prince over the Saxon imagination. That was, until the Johann Sylvan affair, when Alexander not merely bungled the execution of his plan to extend his protection to an endangered Lutheran theologian, but gave the impression that he was willing not just to permit the free practice of other leading evangelical teachings with Saxony, but tolerate the promulgation of even the most outre religious ideas as freely as he did Luther's gospel.

    Of course, not even this mix of factors could have produced the same result without the active machinations of the Johannine House of Wettin, which leveraged the age and superior experience of its dukes, its wealth and vast lands, and its deep connections to the lower levels of the Saxon nobility to promote its interests at the expense of Alexander, who in their telling was a misplaced Habsburg with little sympathy for the Lutheran Church and little interest beyond his own wealth. To some extent, Alexander had availed himself of some of this critique: the days of his wearing of silver armor, and other ostentatious displays, and those of his anguished cries for fiscal deliverance from his debts by the Estates were a little too close together to win their sympathy. One can blame the Johannines however much one wants, yet the fact remains that generations of easy political success with the Estates had made the elector complacent, and now his overconfidence was due to be corrected.

    Even the understandings of each party of the intentions of the other were deeply flawed. What Alexander asked the Estates of Saxony for was a loan, and he prided himself that he had as yet never defaulted an obligation outright--in fact, in the truest sense, every aspect of what he was now doing he was doing to in fact preserve this reputation. Yet the Estates of Saxony quite rightly viewed the long, torturous history of subjects' loans to their sovereigns as something of a mere pretext for expropriation. However much Alexander intended to repay, the Estates viewed his promises to do so with the deepest cynicism. For its part, the Estates loaded their response to his request for a loan with terms intended to dissuade him from the loan and to encourage him to seek the funds elsewhere, which nonetheless if not him, then many at his court took instead as a direct challenge to his authority.

    Thus in the winter of 1577-8 the relationship turned venomous. First, the Estates met, and in the famous Letter of Obeisance to Alexander conditioned their assistance on the expulsion of the Jews from Saxony and the confiscation of their property; the recognition of the Lutheran Church as the only one permissible in Saxony; a new usury law limiting interest to 8 percent per year on all loans; a re-trial of the Duke Johann Heinrich, supervised by the Estates, for his alleged conspiracy against the Elector; and perhaps most provocatively, the Estates' oversight of the education of Alexander's two sons.

    Alexander's response, the Letter of Princely Care, dismissed many of the demands of the Estates peremptorily, especially those infringing directly upon his family or advancing the interests of the Johannines. As to the more general, less noxious conditions, Alexander demurred from stating a direct position in order to raise questions of legality, for example stating that the Estates of Saxony had no authority to make demands on his authority as to the appended realms where he ruled as prince-defender, like Magdeburg. Of course, there was nothing stopping Alexander from replying specifically as to the question of the Jews of Saxony, but instead he proceeded to propose a new body of the Estates that would represent all the territories in which his authority extended in whatever capacity. For its part, the Estates took Alexander's bait and began negotiating in earnest the organization of the new body.

    The appended realms of imperial cities, former ecclesiastical territories, and small princely lands that had been acquired by Friedrich IV but kept separate from the combined patrimony of Albertine and Ernestine Saxony, had a more ambivalent relationship to the notion of being folded into the larger territory than one might think. Friedrich for his part had done the most to further the integration of his territories with the abolition of internal tolls and duties late in his reign, a measure that had disproportionately benefited the merchants of Magdeburg. Magdeburg, one of the greatest commercial centers of the north of the empire, had since then seen its lucrative trading relationship with the Saxon towns grow immensely. Not without reason, the city fathers of Magdeburg could fancy the entity into which they would be folded less a greater Saxony than a greater Magdeburg, as the prosperous town would also henceforth have much more extensive military resources to protect its commerce and territories.

    What Magdeburg's council, and those of similar tracts like Jueterbog and Eisenach, feared was first, that with the withdrawal of the boundary between themselves and Saxony proper they could still be subject to some prejudicial legislation that would privilege the trade of Saxon commercial trading centers (in the case of Magdeburg, Leipzig with its great fair was the particular object of worry). But they also feared the loss of guarantees of rights and privileges enshrined in local laws. And especially in the case of Magdeburg, this meant the town's fabled jury system, which allowed the town's more respected citizens to sit in judgment of their neighbors in criminal trials. So what would have to ensue would be delicate two-sided negotiations, one with the appended territories, the other with the Saxon estates proper who had developed such suddenly grandiose notions of their authority.

    In the first situation, Alexander acting through Julius was easily able to reach an accommodation: the borders of the various appended realms, created mostly by imperial grants sometimes centuries old, would have to be preserved now just as they had been when the Holy Prince snatched them from the jaws of the Habsburgs. And they would not make the crucial concession of their authority that would be sending delegates to sit in the existing Saxon estates. However, they would permit their nobles and representatives to sit alongside the Saxon estates in a new body comprised of all the realms in which Alexander exercised princely authority. Moreover, they insisted the first business of this new body be the recognition of their existing grants and privileges, most especially Magdeburg's jury trials. Magdeburg, Erfurt, and some of the other appended principalities, eager now to perhaps steal a march on their commercial and civic rivals within Saxony proper, then took the additional step of sending Alexander a much-needed advance on the requested sum.

    The more difficult negotiation, by far, was between the Saxon elector and his nobles and mayors. Alexander's response to the Letter of Obeisance had left little doubt he believed they had overstepped their prerogatives, especially in the matter of his sons. And as Saxony's economic crisis gradually ripened into civic violence, with zweitemaenner hunted down and publicly executed in Leipzig in August and Plauen in October, and anti-Jewish riots in Wittenberg marring the celebrations of the anniversary of the 95 Theses on October 31, Alexander had chosen to take a hard and repressive line, eschewing mercy in favor of exemplary justice for those responsible. Including the numbers from small towns and villages, 331 had been executed for public disorders, assaults and murders relating to debts and frauds associated with the crisis by January 1, 1578. Alexander had made a show of publicly passing sentence on the guilty and witnessing the executions, making certain no one could mistake his liberality for weakness.

    Moreover, he now chose to make extensive use of his influence within Saxony's Lutheran Church: Luther's teachings on the Jews and Calvinists were actively suppressed in the pulpit, but his admonitions to respect the worldly authority of the prince were now given great emphasis. Rumors that Alexander was raising an army against either the Estates or the Johannines were everywhere, and Alexander for his part did nothing to squash them, so that when negotiations in February 1578 began with a delegation from the Saxon Estates in earnest it was in circumstances of abject fear, just as he wanted them. He now officially proposed the creation of a new Estates General: whereas classically this phrase meant the various Estates meeting in one body, in the Saxon context it would mean the lateral combination of the various territorial estates, with the division between the estates proper (nobility in one chamber, mayors and other commons in another) preserved.

    But more grandiosely, Alexander made another proposal. To move matters along and begin the process of collecting the needed funds, he would sell the right to sit in the estates to those who did not presently have the right to do so. This would mean that the nobles, mayors and others who presently had the right to meet as the Estates would be unaffected, and could go on doing so, but with the Lower Estate joined by people who had essentially bought their seats. Alexander knew he was playing with fire here: the pivotal insistence of any body of feudal Estates anywhere it met in the Empire was the protection of its ancient prerogatives. Even if that was not threatened with a direct removal of the right to attend meetings of the body, it was threatened with dilution, as the power to set policy as part of the Estates would be fractured with the new attendees of middling and low birth.

    Alexander's answer to this objection, which he had anticipated, was that if the power was diminished, so was the burden the Estates was expected to shoulder. In short, Alexander was offering to offset his demand for revenue through this other means, which he thought the Estates would happily support since its whole political mission was limiting the impositions of the elector's taxation. The Estates moved to accept his proposal, subject once more to its own conditions, which it now felt he could not avoid. If the Estates accepted the authority of this new Estates General, with the various appended realms represented and with the inclusion in the lower house of those who had bought their place there outright, the Elector would have to accept this Estates General's decisions as final, with respect to those matters broached in the Letter of Obeisance.

    Quickly this notion became subject to further qualification: the Estates General would not consider matters of the Elector's family, or of his household, or reopen legal cases already settled by the application of the Elector's justice. And Alexander made clear he would not accept any and all terms set by the body that had yet to meet, however he promised he would accept the specific religious settlements, and the reform of the law concerning lending for interests, proposed by the Saxon Estates in the Letter of Obeisance, as well as the protection of Madgeburg's jury trials, if they were all approved by the new Estates General.

    Clearly, each side was making wagers on the nature of the new body, the meeting of which was now set for Leipzig in March. The Saxon Estates for its part bet that there would be no greater appetite in the Appended Realms for the Fredericine religious settlement than there was in Saxony, whereas Alexander hoped to exploit the possibility provided by permitting those "who would furnish funds to the betterment of the realm, gratis" to take seats alongside the great and good of Saxony, who had been long plied by the Johannines and their allies, to have their say. In one final exchange of conditions, the two sides, Saxon Elector and Saxon Estates, agreed to forbid the new seats to people born outside those realms held by Alexander, non-Lutherans, debtors, pardoned felons, and those of low moral character. Thus the Saxon Estates thought they had seen off the possibility of Jews, French Huguenots, or even some number of Alexander's English cousins, from coming to his rescue.
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2019
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  9. Dr. Waterhouse A Mighty Fortress Is My TL

    Nov 12, 2008
    The Anteroom. In the study of German politics, the anteroom (or Vorraum) denotes a complicated set of relationships having to do with the ever-evolving rules governing who is allowed and not allowed to vote, most especially the influence those not allowed to vote exert in the democratic process. Literally, the phrase originated in the tendency of certain non-voting persons to linger in lobbies, hallways and foyers to confer with those on their way to vote, before such behavior came to be seen as crass and disreputable. Nonetheless, the label stuck, keeping its connotation of meddling, unfairness and corruption.

    Essentially, the anteroom can denote any means by which a person not allowed to vote can make their preference felt to those who can. For example, before laws limiting the vote based on national origin were abolished, the anteroom could denote the Polish-born owner of a shop forcing his employees, some of whom can vote, to listen to a speech from a favored candidate. Or, before women were allowed to vote, it could involve a widow permitting political meetings to occur in her home. As one can imagine, a list of ways such people could conceivably affect the political process would be never-ending. But by far the most common, and the most direct, means of influence "from the anteroom" has been the lively practice of vote-buying unique to Germany in which one person who cannot vote for some immutable reasons pays the poll tax of a person for whom that is the only barrier to his or her participation in the election.

    Of course, one person paying another's poll tax is such a common and old practice in German democracy it has no name, and in itself it is completely permissible. Well-funded political parties do it all the time, as do parents for their voting-age children, and in earlier times husbands for wives. It's when the tax is paid by someone barred from the franchise themselves that historically the society has taken notice. And it's when their deprivation of a vote was the expression of a policy of the state, and their paying of another's poll tax connected to some influence as to how that vote is cast, making the paying of the poll tax a way of circumventing that policy, that historically questions of legality and propriety of the practice have been raised.

    Crucially, the Anteroom highlights the functional differences between regimes of poll taxes, such as what Germany developed in the early modern era, and the property requirements that shaped electoral practice in the English and Scottish franchises. Land, even measured by the income it produced, is less easily alienable or exchangeable than money. Property requirements tie down the franchise to a delimited population that can usually be easily identified. Whereas under a poll tax regime one person can put money into the hands of fifty, and thus affect an election far beyond the effect of the single vote he or she might cast in the other system. Thus non-voting populations that are highly motivated can exert in a given election disproportionate influence. This has been the case since the sixteenth century beginning of the German franchise, the system having been not just gamed from the first time it was created, but created for the purpose of being gamed. Not for nothing is the time-honored practice of Saxon, and later German, religious minorities paying the voting dues of sympathetic neighbors, friends and business associates in exchange for consideration on the matter of continued religious tolerance called playing Alexander's game.

    Thus in a system which for a very long while limited the franchise to Lutherans, some Calvinists, Catholics, and Jews were able to buy in to the political system at least for the purpose of insuring the preservation of their basic rights within it. For its part, orthodox Lutheranism raged at the practice, but how could someone tell how a voter came by the coin by which he paid his charge? Once again, the nature of the limitation of the franchise secured the means by which it could be circumvented. Of course, the anteroom and the practices that made it possible received a winking endorsement from the Electors, especially with respect to the Huguenot minority so quick to ingratiate itself to the ruler. It was not until after the death of Erste in 1691 the first effort at legislation limiting the Anteroom would be passed, and that would be to prevent the influence of the franchise by foreign powers and their agents.

    Of course, as religious barriers to the franchise have been eliminated and the poll tax reduced until it no longer constitutes an insurmountable bar for any but the most destitute citizens, the Anteroom essentially emptied, with German political life and the German franchise becoming coterminous. Today the Anteroom is studied for its role in the development of German politics, specifically for the flexibility it imparted during the long gestation in Germany of a society of general liberty, permitting those persons excluded from a formal role in the political order, despite their contributions to society--by operating businesses, performing labor, serving in the military, and so on--to nonetheless contribute to the political evolution of the country.
  10. Nyvis Well-Known Member

    Aug 23, 2013
    Ouch, German democracy looks absolutely fucked up. I mean, poll taxes? Is there anything that screams "poor people not allowed" as much as poll taxes? And political parties paying the poll tax? Institutionalized vote buying? The reason it evolved this may makes perfect sense, but the fact it's still present in the modern day? Ouch. At least OTL property requirement had the good sense to disappear... Though thinking about it, residency requirements and the need to provide proof for them still exclude quite a few people.
  11. Dr. Waterhouse A Mighty Fortress Is My TL

    Nov 12, 2008
    From all the way back in Post #127:

    "As one might expect, no statute in Germany has been so frequently contested, amended, or litigated as the tax. Thus over the centuries, "voting about voting" has become a byword for German fractiousness. Presently, the tax is statutorily limited to no more than two hours' wages at the minimum rate permissible by law. Parties are permitted to cover the tax for their members. Given pervasive campaign finance and media regulation otherwise, the perceived inequalities that result from such practices have become a locus for political agitation in recent years."

    So the tax remains, though in a vestigial form. And the time-honored practice of paying the tax for others permits the political parties to keep it from working as a bar to participation by the poor, or at least those who are members of a party. Of course it's still not a perfect system. And like Post #127 says, repeal is debated, though that's difficult because the tax is conceptually baked into the franchise itself, having been there since the very beginning, before even the alt-present German state itself.

    And I suppose it's not too hard to guess how watchdog, hawk, stag, workhorse and man each come out on this issue.
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  12. Dr. Waterhouse A Mighty Fortress Is My TL

    Nov 12, 2008
    Very sorry for the extended delay in posting new updates. I've now reviewed the timeline and am ready to start writing again. Thanks for your patience.
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  13. Dr. Waterhouse A Mighty Fortress Is My TL

    Nov 12, 2008

    The Old Courthouse of Gladenbach

    Auf dem Stadtplatz: Essays on the Intersection of German Public Life and Culture for the international Audience by Annalouisa Sullivan

    "Vom Alexander bis Franziska"

    Few elements of the German legal tradition are as intensely beloved by that country's people as the jury trial. This is less a liberal affection for a rational system of justice leavened with mercy, than a cultural mania for jury service as the satisfying marriage of civic duty to the pleasures of participation sports. In its way the German jury is the ultimate symbol of the ordinary citizen's active role at the heart of the state. Selecting its members by a two-step process of anonymous citizen recommendation and election rather than by the lottery process that obtains in many English-speaking nations, the German jury system both empowers ordinary citizens as deciders of fact in the courts, and subjects them to a rigorous process of oversight.

    Very early in the evolution of the juries of the New Realm, court-appointed supervisors who were themselves without a substantive say in the delberations began monitoring jury proceedings for bias or misconduct. Soon afterward, the courts began requiring the taking of highly detailed notes to make sure improper considerations did not enter into play. And as soon as the recording technology existed to eliminate the intermediary of transcription, the German courts began memorializing the actual voices and faces of the jurors as they did their work. At first, these records were closed to the public and accessible only by the judiciary, the parties to the cases and their counsel.

    Likewise, any awareness of what might be the wider significance of these records were limited at first to legal historians and other academics, who in order just to see these records were required to fill out detailed applications which themselves required court approval. Then in 1926 the Justice Secretariat conceived the notion of presenting the deliberations of selected trials, edited for length and content, as educational imagebox programming, so long as the trials in question were at least forty years in the past and both defendant and putative victim were dead. The result, the beratungangeizen, was a national phenomenon. With scripted imagebox programming in Germany having become staid in the preceding years, the recorded jury deliberations, which represented vivid characters and sharp conflicts without the use of actors, quickly became enormously popular. The craze peaked in 1964 with the broadcast of the jury deliberations of the murder and arson trials arising out of the 1906 Imperial Neue Brno chemical factory fire in Breslau, which riveted the nation and dominated German imagebox viewership numbers for the year.

    One Breslau juror in particular, Franziska Tutweiler, who kept the deliberations going to the chagrin of her colleagues for a record 29 days by posing detailed questions to the court on points unclear from the evidence provided, became a folk hero. Though Frau Tutweiler had died in obscurity some 41 years before Breslau aired, she became a suddenly ubiquitous cultural figure. The image of the somewhat ample working-class woman in her cheap dress suit, arms folded across her chest, declaring "I do not know enough to say" became engraved in the German collective psyche.

    According to the court records, she said these words some 924 times when polled for her verdict. By the last time Franziska Tutweiler uttered her famous catchphrase in the proceeding, it was enough to provoke hysterical weeping among her fellow jurors. Nevertheless, her ensuing questions and information requests eventually led prosecutors to discover documents that implicated Imperial Neue Brno management in a conspiracy to assign blame for the disaster to employee defendants accused of an intentional crime, so as to prevent the company from having to pay an insurance penalty for accidents arising out of negligent management of facilities.

    Thereafter the very popularity of the recorded deliberations on imagebox led to the genre's gradual decline. As the more interesting earlier recorded deliberations were exhausted and deliberations began to be broadcast from the era in which people had become familiar with the programs, jurors became more conscious of their words and images' memorialization, to the point where self-aggrandizement and theatricality were becoming only too common. This then drove away viewers who had prized the candor and the absence of artifice revealed in the programs.

    However, the broadcasts had done their work by then in deepening Germans' emotional and patriotic attachment to the jury system. After ten years of the shows, almost every German headed into the jury room seemed to fancy himself or herself a Franziska Tutweiler, dogged in the pursuit of truth, calm in their appraisal of the facts, blind to the personal inconvenience of being removed from their ordinary work and hobbies to sit in the drab windowless jury room day after day.

    Now of course, it is impossible to imagine a Germany with any other mechanism serving as a trier of fact, and this is one of many institutions, evolved originally during the Middle Ages, and refined during the early modern period, that the German- and the English-speaking countries share in common today. It’s worth noting however that after an early flirtation, the French Republic under the dictatorship of Danton abolished the jury trial as a “Gothic” peccadillo that exposed the mechanisms of justice to the ignorance, superstition and bias of the unwashed populace. Even now, many French-speaking countries, such as Illinois, follow that line today.

    But, before the imagebox phenomenon, how did the jury system come to be the rule in Germany? In the Middle Ages, various towns and princely states recorded the use of juries as deciders of fact, but there was no consistent procedure or legal rationale governing the process in the different places in the Holy Roman Empire in which it appeared. One of the states in which jury trials were the norm was Magdeburg. And because of the city’s economic influence even then, various towns throughout the Empire and central Europe imitated its legal practices in the election of a select group of leading citizens to decide factual disputes in court cases.

    Though Magdeburg’s civic leadership was supportive of the bishopric and city coming under the protection of the Saxon Elector Friedrich IV at the start of the Spanish war, given that Friedrich promised the protection of religious reforms, non-intervention in most civic matters otherwise, and protection from foreign armies, Magdeburg was anxious to protect its separate institutions from being folded into the Saxon state and to preserve its laws against what it feared would be the arbitrary rules of territorial princes. For even in the vastly transformed Germany that emerged following the Spanish War, some things remained constant. One of these was the proverb that “city air was free air.” Magdeburg, like Eisenach and the other appended towns, may have had the Saxon elector for its prince, but had no intention of becoming a mere extension of Saxony, with that prince having plenary power over it.

    Therefore, the great crisis of 1578 struck the city fathers of Magdeburg as a great opportunity. Magdeburg’s commerce had benefited from the end of internal tolls and the opening of the Saxon markets, the influx of the Huguenots, the new financial innovations, and the policies of Julius of Braunschweig. For these reasons, the city was a redoubt of support for the Elector Alexander. Nonetheless, that did not mean Magdeburg would give away that for which it could demand a price. As ever, these were men of business.

    Thus, in February when the Elector and the Saxon Estates reached their decision to reconvene the Estates in a new form that would include representation from the appended realms, Magdeburg was quick to assent provided the instrument by which the new Estates General was organized would include explicit guarantees that the border between it and Saxony would be maintained, and its traditional prerogatives as an independent state preserved.

    But then when the representatives to the new Estates General met that May, Magdeburg went one further. One complaint against the Elector Alexander that had been included in the old Saxon Estates’ Letter of Obeisance had been the overbearing tyranny of the rough justice the Elector had meted out to his first cousin, the Duke Johann Heinrich, stripping him of his estates in lieu of a more serious penalty for his purported involvement in a conspiracy against the Elector. Now Julius of Braunschweig had realized criminal legal reform was, of all the various issues the new Estates General might address, perhaps the least noxious.

    So when Magdeburg’s council wrote to the new Estates General recommending not that the jury trial be retained merely within Magdeburg’s frontiers but that it become the general practice by which the courts of Saxony would work as triers of fact, the response was unqualified support both from pro-Johannine representatives eager to hamstring the power of the elector however they could, and the Alexandrine representatives eager to work off the outrage of their opponents on matters that did not involve religious minorities, lending institutions, or the core powers and person of the Elector Alexander.

    Though the process of juror election was for the moment left to the town and village, very quickly the estates members drafted rules setting the outer boundaries of what was acceptable to the process. The jurors had to be Lutherans in good standing, not debtors, bankrupts, convicts, or people of demonstrated poor moral character. Fathering a bastard or abandoning a wife would be enough for disqualification. They had to demonstrate their literacy and understanding of a biblical text to the satisfaction of a local judge. And they had to be owners of un-mortgaged property.

    Likewise, there were exacting limits on the specific trials on which jurors could serve once they had been selected. For instance, no juror could serve in the case of a person accused or a crime committed against a victim within three degrees of kinship. Likewise they could not be in debt to or be owed money by the defendant or victim, or have an ongoing contractual relationship, or own a property in common. It would not be for instance until 1780 that two men could own shares in the same business and one hear the case in which the other was a party.

    The Elector, who had been anxious to keep his powder dry for matters he cared more deeply about, did finally realize, fairly late in these discussions they were going in a direction likely to permanently reduce his power, and so in April he produced a set of limits of his own , as to what he was prepared to accept in the form of a new jury system. The first was the finality of all judgments heretofore issued by him or the other courts and bodies of Saxony, which was more or less an effort to keep the case of the Duke Johann Heinrich, for whom the Johannines were still agitating, from being reopened. The second was that he demanded to retain the right to hear cases against whom the injured party was himself, members of his household, or the state itself. And third, he demanded to retain the power to try before himself cases in which evidence injurious to the state may be heard.

    With this Letter of Limitation, the discussions around the jury system, which were seen as the least contentious and difficult, suddenly threatened to explode the whole nascent Saxon constitutional enterprise. The Johannines reacted with predictable high dudgeon and claims, once again, of tyranny. Julius of Braunschweig proposed as a compromise, one it is not entirely clear he was authorized to make on behalf of his master, the idea that the elector could hear such trials if he had the approval of the estates general should they meeting at that time. Only belatedly did the estates realize this left an immense loophole open, for if the elector just declined to call the estates again he could hold these trials as he wished. Moreover, there was the sense that Alexander might just exert this right to hear trials personally with abandon, and dare anyone to find fault with him. The estates, fearful of going too far, were willing to concede the finality of all prior judgments of the Saxon courts.

    The matter was only saved in August when the Elector acceded to the compromise proposal of the Delimiting Commission. Essentially the new Estates General so long as it was in session would be required to approve any effort by the Elector to hear a court case personally. Upon the end of that Estates General’s term, it would appoint a commission of three, all of whom would have to be accepted by the elector, who would exercise its power until the next Estates General met. This way it would exert power in continuity. Though powers had been delegated to appointed bodies by previous estates, this contemplation of a permanent structure limiting the elector’s judicial power, whether the estates were meeting or not, represented a crucial step in Saxon constitutional development.

    Sitting in his castle at Torgau, Alexander considered the matter through September. The fiscal crisis which had occasioned the matter of the summoning of the original Estates, and then the creation of the new Estates General, had not been resolved. The disputes with the prior Estates, which had occasioned the creation of the new Estates General whose authority Alexander had said he would accept, were still threatening to divide the state. Magdeburg, and the other appended realms whose representatives were sympathetic in theory to the positions of the elector, were still withholding their support until the Elector approved the judicial reforms they desired. In short, Alexander could not escape, and acquiescence to at least these measures was no longer an option but a necessity.

    Finally, he assented, first to the limits on his personal ability to hear trials, then to the legislation defining and delimiting the jury process that would obtain throughout Saxony and the appended realms.

    Of course, to modern eyes this legislation is almost more interesting for what it did not do. It did not specify the cases other than criminal matters in which jury trials could be held. (A later Estates General would have to exempt certain misdemeanors as being too insignificant to trigger the procedural complexities of a jury trial.) It did not establish firm procedures by which jurors would be chosen, only baseline eligibility requirements. It did not set a number of jurors required to hear a case, or a set ratio or number of jurors necessary for a conviction. For now the localities of Saxony could go their own ways on these matters, though quickly accusations of local miscarriages of justice, both of extreme cruelty and extreme permissiveness, would quickly create pressure for more standard procedures.

    For the moment, greater importance was attached to the fact that with the impasse over the juries broken, the other necessary business of the momentous First Estates General could go ahead. Yet nonetheless, as unlikely as it might seem to connect that icon of German civic virtue Franziska Tutweiler to the quagmire over the Elector Alexander’s money problems and all the constitutional squabbling that ensued therefrom, it is to the First Estates General, its mandate of the jury trial as the due of all Saxon subjects, and its limitations on the countervailing powers of the elector, that the role of the jury in the evolution of first the Saxon and later the German state derives.

    Though unremarked upon in the first decades of its existence, eventually the Saxon jury trial would mark the electorate’s institutions as mature, and its people as the bearers of rights rather than as feudal workhorses. Thus it would contribute in a crucial way to the institutional prestige Saxony would leverage in its long struggle to unite the Lutheran German-speaking states of Central Europe. And thus it would place this pivotal notion of deliberative citizenship at the heart of first the Saxon, and later, the German state.