Poland 1791 Constitution


In the name of God, One in the Holy Trinity.

Stanisław August, by the grace of God and the will of the people King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania, Ruthenia, Prussia, Mazowsze, Żmudź [Samogitia], Kiev, Wołyń [Volhynia], Podole, Podlasie, Livonia, Smolensk, Severia and Chernihiv, together with the confederated estates in dual number representing the Polish people.

Recognizing that the destiny of us all depends solely upon the establishment and perfection of a national constitution, having by long experience learned the inveterate faults of our government, and desiring to take advantage of the season in which Europe finds itself and of this dying moment that has restored us to ourselves, free of the ignominious dictates of foreign coercion, holding dearer than life, than personal happiness the political existence, external independence and internal liberty of the people whose destiny is entrusted to our hands, and desiring to merit the blessing and gratitude of contemporary and future generations, despite obstacles that may cause passions in us, we do for the general welfare, for the establishment of liberty, for the preservation of our country and its borders, with the utmost constancy of spirit ordain this Constitution and declare it to be entirely sacred and inviolable until the people, at the time by law prescribed, by their clear will recognize a need to alter any of its articles. To which Constitution the further statutes of the present Sejm shall apply in everything.

I. The Dominant Religion

The dominant national religion is and shall be the sacred Roman Catholic faith with all its laws. Passage from the dominant religion to any other confession is forbidden under penalties of apostasy. Inasmuch as that same holy faith bids us love our neighbors, we owe to all persons, of whatever persuasion, peace in their faith and the protection of the government, and therefore we guarantee freedom to all rites and religions in the Polish lands, in accordance with the laws of the land.

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