How democratic was the Second Reich?

Topics: German Empire, Prussia, Democracy Pages: 3 (966 words) Published: February 24, 2014
How democratic was the Second Reich?

There is clear evidence for and against the Second Reich being democratic, though in the years it only reaches "Nascent Democracy", even if that. However, on the whole the Second Reich is most definitely based around Kaiser therefore quite far from democracy. Kaiser shows his power all throughout the three case studies; Hottentot Elections, Daily Telegraph Affair and the Zabern Crisis. As well as that it is clear from the Constitutional Theory that there is little to no democracy and that there is Kaiser Absolutism. According to the Second Reich constitution, it is clear that during the years of the Second Reich there was no democracy. The German Electorates could only elect the Reichstag, which had little power. The Reichstag was only able to accept or reject the laws that were proposed by the government and veto treaties agreed by the Kaiser. However, the Kaiser was able to summon and dissolve the Reichstag at any given time. Therefore most of the time the Reichstag would agree with Kaiser, which shows Kaiser Absolutism. This was similar for the Imperial Government. The Chancellor and the Cabinet did the day-to-day running of the Germany. However, at any given time the German Emperor was able to dismiss the Chancellor. Therefore at the end if something was not going according to Kaisers' vision for Germany he has the power to change so. The first case study, the Hottentot Election was in 1907. The war in German West Africa causes outrage among the people and the Reichstag (SDP and ZP). This is because Germany commits Genocide twice. Later on the Kaiser and Chancellor worked on a budget together to collect taxes to spend in Africa, in hopes of improving and extending the Empire. However, both the ZP and SDP disapproved and therefore vetoed the budget. At this point the Reichstag shows its power by standing against the Kaisers wish. This shows Nascent Democracy as it is also about exercising the power, and here part of...
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