UCSB > History Dept. > Prof. Marcuse > Courses > Hist 133a > Lecture 11: Frankfurt Parliament

UCSB Hist 133A, Fall 2006 (133a homepage)
19th Century Germany, Oct. 25, 2006

Prof. Marcuse (homepage)

Lecture 11:
The Frankfurt Parliament
(previous lecture, next lecture)


  • remarks on the book essay proposals: 6 people need to make appointments; if you want a recommendation for graduate school from me, it's good to do a little more on your essay.

Guiding Questions

  • Why didn't the Frankfurt parliamentarians achieve their goals? (What were their goals?)
  • Schulze p. 23=Max Weber: "an event is only historically relevant when it cannot be extracted mentally from its causal sequence, without the consequences necessarily changing."

Discussion: The Frankfurt Parliament and the issue of Austria

  • Reasons for:
  • Reasons against:

Slide show: The Symbolism of Clothing (see below)

  • Fredrich Wilhelm IV on March 20, 1848 in guard uniform among people
  • George W. Bush on the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln on May 1, 2003 in pilot suit
  • Baden revolutionaries in floppy hats and pants--anti-bourgeois counter-culture
  • Berlin "citizens" manning the barricades in top hats and frock coats
  • Frankfurt parliamentary delegates sewing the patchwork quilt of Germany


  • May 18, 1848-March 28, 1849: parliament convenes in Frankfurt, drafts Reich Constitution
  • Oct. 6-31: 3rd uprising in Vienna, put down by Windischgratz
  • Nov. 9: Robert Blum executed

Source: Karl Marx in the New Rhine News, Nov. 22, 1848

"The Assembly at Frankfurt"
Cologne, November 22. The resolution of the Berlin Assembly regarding the refusal to pay taxes has been declared unlawful and void by the Frankfurt Parliament.
German Parliament! Whoever spoke of a German Parliament after the grave events in Berlin and Vienna. After the death of Robert Blum no one gave another thought to the life of the noble Gagern. The professors who "made history" for their own amusement had to allow the shelling of Vienna, the murder of Robert Blum and the barbarity of Windischgrätz! The gentlemen who were so greatly concerned about the cultural history of Germany left the practical application of culture in the hands of a Jellachich and his Croats! While the professors were evolving the theory of history, history ran its stormy course without bothering about the professorial history.
The resolution passed the day before yesterday has destroyed the Frankfurt Parliament. The resolution has driven it into the arms of the traitor Brandenburg. The Parliament at Frankfurt is guilty of high treason, it must be brought to trial. If a whole people rises to protest against an arbitrary act of a king, and if this protest is made in an entirely legal way -- by refusing to pay taxes -- and an assembly of professors declares -- without being at all competent to do so -- that the refusal to pay taxes, this revolt of the whole people, is unlawful, then this assembly places itself outside the law, it commits high treason. It is the duty of all members of the Frankfurt Assembly who voted against this resolution to resign from this "deceased Federal Diet". It is the duty of all democrats to elect these resigned "Prussians" to the German National Assembly at Berlin in place of the "Germans" who have left. The National Assembly in Berlin is not a "fragment", it is a complete entity, for it constitutes a quorum. But the Brandenburg Assembly at Frankfurt will become a "fragment", for the inevitable resignation of the 150 deputies will surely be followed by many others who do not wish to set up a Federal Diet at Frankfurt. The Frankfurt Parliament! It fears a red republic and decrees a red monarchy. We do not want a red monarchy, we do not want the crimson crown of Austria to extend its sway over Prussia, and we therefore declare that the German Parliament is guilty of high treason. Nay, we do it too much honor; we impute to it a political importance which it has long since lost. The severest judgment has already been passed upon it -- disregard of its rulings and total oblivion.

prepared for web by H. Marcuse on Oct. 25, 2006, updated: 10/31/06
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