They were obligated to give the emperor prior notification, but could proceed without his approval. The electors were free to elect whom they wished, and the Emperor, in his capitulation, promised not to interfere with this freedom or use any form of coercion. They could, nevertheless, pledge their vote: when Brunswick later Hanover was given an electorate in , it promised in return never to vote for anyone else but the eldest-born archduke of Austria.http://mmaa.vegans.it/chinas-disappearing-countryside-towards-sustainable-land-governance-for.php
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In the election of , there were none, and the elector of Hanover was free to cast his vote. A spiritual elector could vote even before having been invested by the Pope and received the pallium, as long as he had been invested by the Emperor. Conversely, an archbishop deprived of his electorate but not of his see could not be replaced as elector and his vote was forfeited as happened to Cologne in A minor's vote was cast by his tutor. The electors were summoned by the archbishop of Mainz, or else by the archbishop of Trier, normally within a month of the death of the Emperor.
The electors met in Frankfurt, as prescribed by the Golden Bull when they didn't, the city protested and it was granted reversals reserving its rights for the future normally within three months of notification. The Grand Marshal was responsible for the logistics and protection of the electors and their suites. Electors appeared in person, entrusted their vote to another elector, or more often sent an electoral embassy, even if they were present as the king of Bohemia in and , or the elector of Mainz in The ministers presented their credentials to the archbishop of Mainz, who presided over the deliberations, in particular the drafting of the electoral capitulation.
When the moment to vote came, the Grand Marshal ordered all princes, noblemen, ambassadors, representatives etc. The electors proceeded on horseback from the city hall to the cathedral, and convened in the electoral chapel, and swore to choose the worthiest man, and to accept the majority vote. The elector of Mainz proceeded to collect the votes, starting with Trier and ending with Saxony, and then himself. Electors could vote for themselves, as the king of Bohemia frequently did although formally, a majority voted for him and he then consented.
The candidate receiving more than half of the votes was elected. In modern times the votes were unanimous. However, some elections were contentious. The election of was one. Then Maximilian decided to have his grandson Charles elected before his own death, and soon had the commitment of Brandneburg, Cologne, Mainz and the Palatinate, with the vote of Bohemia the minor king Louis II cast by his guardians Maximilian and the king of Poland. With Maximilian's death all bets were off and negotiations began anew. In the end, Charles secured enough votes to win the election, in part through payments to the electors , florins in lump-sum payments and a total of 30, florins in annual pensions promised to four electors.
What happened on June 27 when the voting began and broke off after an hour and June 28 is unclear; there is a possibility that Frederick the Wise of Saxony was elected but declined. In the end, all electors voted for Charles, although the elector of Brandenburg made a notarized statement beforehand that his vote was not free. Another contested election was that of Karl VI had died in , the last male Habsburg: there was no obvious successor for the first time in over two hundred years.
In the electors decided to exclude the ambassadors of Karl's daughter Maria Theresia, queen of Bohemia, not because she was a woman but because of the pending dispute over that crown the elector of Bavaria had just seized Prague and had himself crowned king of Bohemia in December She protested against the legality of the election until the treaty of April 22, with Bavaria, by which she posthumously recognized Karl VII as emperor. At the election of , she voted, but the electors Palatine and of Brandenburg abstained, although the elector of Brandenburg later recognized the validity of the election on Dec.
Once elected, the candidate was asked by the archbishop of Mainz if he accepted the election capitulation drafted by the electors until , the ambassadors of the king of Bohemia were shown the draft beforehand in an adjacent room. If he did, he was immediately proclaimed in the cathedral. In the elect's absence his ambassador or representative took the oath, but the imperial government remained in the hands of the vicars until the elect had taken the oath himself. The procedures for electing a king of the Romans were identical, except that the king-elect swore not to intervene in the affairs of the Empire.
The Golden Bull prescribed that the German coronation take place in Aachen, although in modern times it usually took place in the same city as the election. According to an agreement of 16 June , included in the Wahlkapitulation of , the ceremony was performed either by the archbishop of Cologne or the archbishop of Mainz, according to whose province was the location of the coronation Frankfurt was in the province of Mainz ; and if it took place outside of either province for example, Regensburg, in the province of Salzburg then Cologne and Mainz alternated.
The insignia used in the coronation consisted of the crown, the silver scepter, two rings, a gold orb, the sword of Charlemagne and the sword of Saint Mauritius, various clothes, an illuminated Gospel, a sabre of Charlemagne, and a number of relics the tablecloth of the Last Supper, the cloth with which Christ washed the feet of the Apostles, a thorn of his crown, a piece of the Cross, the spear that pierced his side, a piece of his crib, the arm of Saint Ann, a tooth of John the Baptist, the blood of Saint Stephen.
The emperor was crowned by either the archbishop of Mainz or that of Trier, depending on the diocese in which the ceremony took place in , the archbishop of Cologne, brother of Emperor Karl VII, officiated with the consent of the archbishop of Mainz. All three spiritual electors laid together the crown on the emperor's head. After the election the emperor was made a canon of the cathedral of Aachen. He then proceeded to the city hall for the banquet.
Clerics , as in other European Estates such as the House of Lords in England or the Estates General, had a seat by virtue of the see or abbacy.
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Those prelates who did not have individual votes were grouped into two benches, the Bench of the Rhine and the Bench of Swabia, each with a collective vote. The princes held individual votes although sometimes held collectively by a family while the counts and lords were grouped in Benches, each bench with one collective vote.
The bench of Franconia was created in from the bench of Swabia, and the bench of Westphalia was created in with part of the bench of Wetterau: thus, after , there were four benches. Until , votes at the Reichstag were owned by individuals, and were often multiplied when inheritances were divided, or, more often, jointly held by several families. After , votes were attached to a territory in a few exceptional cases a vote was granted to an individual without territory , and were no longer multiplied, but could still be shared by various individuals as result of an inheritance, typically.
Of the votes, 37 were clerics 35 individual votes and 2 collective votes , while 63 were lay 59 individual votes and 4 collective votes. See the detailed composition. Plans to redistribute votes floundered on the issue of maintaining the religious balance, and although a special committee of the Reichstag had reached and agreement in , the Emperor had not yet ratified it by the time the Empire dissolved in see below.
Families who were elevated between and to princely resp. Frankfurt became a grand-duchy in but re-emerged with a minicipal government in Frankfurt was the seat of the Bund's assembly from to ; it was annexed by Prussia in that year.
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The composition of the Reichstag at these three dates is fairly well known, because of three sources:. For the Handbuch der deutschen Geschichte , Oestreich and Holzer have collated these three lists and determined which members appeared or disappeared between those dates, and why. The lists are presented in a separate page in German.
Its initial purpose was to sit in judgment of violations of the Landfrieden of , but over time became the main court of the Empire and the guarantor of imperial law. The Court consisted initially of a Judge assisted by 16 assessors a number increased to 50 in and reduced to 25 in The Judge, two Presidents and one assessor were appointed by the Emperor, the other assessors by the electors and by the circles of the States of the Empire.
The Judge was noble, or rank no less than a baron. Half of the assessors were noblemen, the others were doctors of law. The Judge, one President and 13 assessors were catholics, the other President and 12 assessors were protestants Augsburg confession.
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The court also had 12 advocates and 30 procurators to process cases. Cases were examined by "senates" of 8 or 9 members, with equal numbers of protestants and catholics. When the senate was split evenly, additional members were appointed, or the case was sent to the full Court. In religious matters, members voted by religion a procedure called itio in partes.
If votes remained evenly split, the matter was sent to the Reichstag. On some procedural matters the Court could make interim rulings that had force of law until an imperial law was published. The Court was competent in suits against immediate members of the empire, either in first or second instance; in civil matters involving mediate members of the empire, as appeals court from local courts except when there was privilegium de non appellando , as for territories of electors ; appeals on denials of justice; it could also confirm treaties, testaments, guardianships among immediate members. It had no jurisdiction over spiritual matters including validity of marriages , cases involving major fiefs or matters of imperial grace, criminal cases involving immediate members.
The court had exclusive jurisdiction over judicial matters involving its own members.
One could ask the Court to review its own rulings, or refer the matter to a Reichskammergerichtsvisitation , a commission appointed by the Reichstag to periodically review the Court's activities initially annual, these visitations became scarcer after the 16th c. Ultimately, it was always possible to appeal to the Reichstag itself. Maximilian I had only reluctantly agreed to the formation of the Reichskammergericht. To help him in his direct administration of justice, he established in a Reichshofrath Consulium imperiale aulicum , Imperial Court or Aulic Council, which became accepted as equal to the Reichskammergericht in May you spend a wonderful day surrounded by those you love.
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The fires take place after dark on various days of the Easter celebration, depending on the region. Frohes Osterfest! Happy Easter! Have fun with your Easter egg hunt. We wish you all sincerely a happy Easter celebration and sunny spring days! Ein frohes und gesegnetes Osterfest!
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