Bavaria 1808 Constitution


We Maximilian Joseph, by the grace of God, King of Bavaria.

We are governed by the conviction that as long as the State remains a mere aggregate of separate parts, it can neither achieve its full potential strength, for which it has the means, nor can the individual members aim to impart upon themselves all the advantages of civil union. We have sought already through many ordinances to eliminate the differences in the administrative systems in our Kingdom, as far as it was possible beforehand, to establish a more uniform system for direct and indirect obligations, and to make the most important public institutions of the collective more equivalent, through establishments that at the same time ensure their distinctiveness. Furthermore, in order to obtain the advantage of just and equal civil and criminal laws for our collective states, we have also arranged the preliminary work necessary for achieving this goal, which in part has actually already been completed. Due, however, to the fact that these individual developments of particular parts of the institution of the State do not lead to the perfect consummation of our purpose, and leave behind gaps, whose filling is an integral requirement for the necessary unity of the whole Kingdom, we have decided to give all of the components of the legislature and administration of our Kingdom complete coherency, through organic laws, with consideration for both foreign and interior relations. We have decided to establish the basis for this coherency through the present constitutional charter, whose purpose is to guarantee the fulfillment of the demands of the State on its individual members, as well as the demands of the individual members on the State, through the appropriate ordinances and regulations. These demands are just and founded in the concept of the general purpose of the State. This shall provide the whole Kingdom a firm relationship and bond, and give each of the components of the administration of the State its own appropriate efficacy. All of this shall be accomplished with the goal of meeting the requirements necessary for securing collective wellness.

We regulate and ordain according to the following:

Part I. Main Regulations

Article 1

The Kingdom of Bavaria is part of the Rhenish Federation.

Article 2

All special constitutions, privileges, hereditary offices and regional incorporated bodies of individual provinces are hereby abolished. The entire Kingdom shall be represented by a representative body, held to the same laws, and governed by the same policies; according to these policies the very same taxation system shall apply to the entire Kingdom. The land tax may not exceed one-fifth of the Kingdom’s income.

Article 3

Serfdom, where still in existence, shall be hereby abolished.

Article 4

Regardless of the current arrangement of provinces, the Kingdom shall hereby be split into districts that are as equal as possible, and according to natural boundaries, where feasible.

Article 5

The aristocracy shall retain their titles and their landlordly rights according to the legal regulations, as shall every possessor of property; regarding the State’s financial burdens, however, as they currently stand and as they are introduced, the aristocracy shall be treated the same as all other citizens. The aristocracy does not represent a special part of the representative body; rather their participation shall be proportional to that of the wholly free landowners. Nor are they entitled to exclusive rights to state offices, honors conferred by the state, or state benefices. All statutes of currently existent incorporated bodies must be adjusted to fit these policies in due time.

Article 6

The same regulations also apply to the clergy. Moreover, every religious entity, without exception, is hereby confirmed as entirely and exclusively the property of the parishes, schools, and churches, as they are divided according to the following 3 categories in the Ordinance of the 1st of October 1807: of religious rites, of education, and of benefaction, all of which are combined in one administration. These possessions cannot be retracted under any pretense, nor can they be liquidated for any external purpose. The same also applies to the Church’s goods, which whenever established shall be allocated to the dioceses and the religious chapters for endowment.

Article 7

The State grants all citizens personal and proprietary security – complete freedom of conscience – and freedom of the press, according to the decreed censure edict of the 13th of June 1803, and the ordinances of the 6th of September 1799 and the 17th of February 1806, enacted due to political newspapers. Only natives of the State or owners of property within the State may fill government offices. The foreign-born may only be issued citizenship through a law or a declaration of the King.

Article 8

Each citizen of the State that has reached the end of his 21st year is due to take an oath of office in front of the public authorities over his district, attesting that he shall obey the constitution and laws of the State – he shall be loyal to the King. No one may emigrate, go abroad, leave for foreign service, or accept a salary or honor from a foreign power without the express permission of the Monarch, with the penalty of the loss of all civic rights. All those, who identify a foreign jurisdiction over themselves, outside of specific cases of legal customs or contracts, forfeit themselves to the same punishment, which may be increased, according to the circumstances.