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Final Act of the Viennese Ministerial Conferences (May 15, 1820)

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Art. 55. It remains up to the sovereign princes of the Confederal states to arrange this domestic matter of their states respecting both previously existing legal rights of the estates as well as current conditions.

Art. 56. The constitutionally guaranteed assemblies of the estates recognized as currently in force can only be amended by constitutional means.

Art. 57. Since the German Confederation, with the exception of the free cities, consists of sovereign princes, the entire authority of the state must, according to the basic concepts provided thereby, remain united within the head of state, and the sovereign can be required to permit the constitutionally guaranteed assembly of the estates of the land to participate only in the exercise of certain rights.

Art. 58. The sovereign princes united in the Confederation may not be hindered or restricted in the fulfillment of their Confederal obligations by any constitutionally guaranteed assembly of the estates of the land.

Art. 59. Where the deliberations of the estates of the land are permitted by the constitution, the rules of procedure must see to it that the legal limits of free expression are not transgressed, neither in the deliberations themselves, nor in their printed form, in a manner that would endanger the peace of an individual Confederal state or of Germany as a whole.

Art. 60. If a Confederal member seeks the Confederation’s guarantee for the constitutional system of the assembly of the estates of the land introduced into its country, the Confederal Assembly is entitled to adopt this. It thereby receives authorization, on appeal of the participants, to uphold the constitution, and to settle the misunderstandings resulting from the interpretation or application of the same through amicable or negotiated decision, so long as no other means or ways are legally prescribed for this.

[ . . . ]

Source: Karl Binding, Deutsche Staatsgrundgesetze [German Federal Laws], Number III, p. 37 ff.

Original German text also reprinted in Ernst Rudolf Huber, ed., Deutsche Verfassungsdokumente 1803-1850 [German Constitutional Documents 1803-1850], vol. 1, Dokumente zur deutschen Verfassungsgeschichte [Documents on German Constitutional History], 3rd ed., rev. and enl. Stuttgart: W. Kohlhammer, 1978, pp. 91-99.

Translation: Jeremiah Riemer

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