The ancient Germanic Empire has become, since the year 1815, a confederacy of sovereign and independent states. The Act of Constitution iras signed by all the members of the confederacy at the Congress of Vienna, June 8,1815, and consists of twenty Articles. According to the first Article, the object of the Confederation is, ‘the preservation of the internal and external security of Germany, and the independence and inviolability of the various German States.’ All the members of the German Confederation—Deutsche Bund—shall have equal rights and privileges, according to the second Article; but the participation in the general administration is limited by a number of other enactments in the following paragraphs. The organ and representative of the Confederation is the Diet of Plenipotentiaries, which is permanent, and assembles in the free city of Frankfort-on-the-Maine. The executive and administrative government of the Diet is constituted in two forms:—1st, As a General Assembly, or plenum, in which every member of the Confederation has, at least, one vote, and the great powers have several; and 2nd, The Ordinary Assembly, or Committee of Confederation, in which seventeen votes are divided between the thirty-four members, giving one vote to each of the larger States, and the rest to the smaller States combined. When fundamental laws are to be made or changed, when measures are to be taken that relate to the Federal Act itself, when changes of organic institutions, or other arrangements of general interest are to be adopted, when war or peace is to be made, or when a new member is to be admitted, the Diet becomes a plenum. In all other cases, the Ordinary Assembly, or Committee of Confederation, is competent to act both as legislature and executive.
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