Transcription & Source Analysis

Article 6.  The federal council shall consist of the representatives of the states of the confederation, among whom the votes shall be divided in such a manner that Prussia, including the former votes of Hanover, the electorate of Hesse, Holstein, Nassau, and Frankfort shall have 17 votes; Bavaria, 6 votes; Saxony, 4 votes. Würtemberg, 4 votes; Baden, 3 votes; Hesse, 3 votes; Mecklenburg-Schwerin, 2 votes, Saxe-Weimar, 1 vote; Mecklenburg-Strelitz, 1 vote; Oldenburg, 1 vote; Brunswick, 2 votes; Saxe-Meiningen, 1 vote; Saxe-Altenburg, 1 vote; Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, 1 vote; Anhalt, 1 vote; Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt, 1 vote; Schwarzburg-Sondershaunsen, 1 vote; Waldeck, 1 vote; Reuss, elder branch, 1 vote; Reuss, younger branch, 1 vote; Schaumburgh-Lippe, 1 vote; Lippe, 1 vote; Lubeck, 1 vote; Bremen, 1 vote; Hamburgh, 1 vote; total 58 votes. Each member of the confederation shall appoint as many delegates to the federal council as it has votes; the total of the votes of each state shall, however, be cast by only one delegate.

Article 7. The Federal Council shall take action upon-

  1. The measures to be proposed to the diet and the resolutions passed by senate.
  2. The general provisions and regulations necessary for the execution of the laws of the empire, so far as no other provision is made by said laws.
  1. The defects which may be discovered in the execution of the laws of the empire, or of the provisions and regulations heretofore mentioned. Each member of the confederation shall have the right to introduce motions, and it shall be the duty of the presiding officer to submit them for deliberation.

Legislative action shall take place by simple majority, with the exception of the provisions in articles 5, 37 and 78. Votes not represented or instructed shall not be counted. In the case of a tie, the vote of the presiding officer shall decide.

The Constitution of 1871 was the constitution that set up the German Empire that last from 1871 to 1918 and the beginning of the Wiemar Republic. Some moves Bismarck made include, bribing the King of Bavaria with 300,000 marks a year he gained from the secreting paying that Hanover was paying for a loan they needed given in 1867. The physical writing of the Constitution of 1871 was by officials in multiple capitals including Berlin, the capital of Prussia; Munich, the capital of Bavaria; Stuttgart, the capital of Wurttemberg; Karlsruhe, the capital of Baden; Darmstadt the capital of Hesse. The Constitution of 1871 today is in printed form in the Library of the British Museum as the British copy as it was when Bavaria but not yet when Wurttemberg had accepted the constitution. The constitution transferred to the library at its conception in 1973. Since, German was the original language of my source I am using the translation, by the Germans, given on May 6, 1871 to the US ministry in Berlin. The embassy shipped the constitution to Washington D.C. to the State Department headquarters for their records. The State Department published it later that year for the public. The University of Wisconsin-Madison library now has it with a large collection of State Department publications in electronic format.


State Department. The executive documents printed by order of the House of Representatives during the second session of the forty-second Congress. 1871-’72. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1871.


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