The Frankfurt Assembly (German: Frankfurter Nationalversammlung, literally Frankfurt National Assembly) was the first freely elected parliament for all of Germany. Session was held from May 18, 1848 to May 31, 1849 in the Paulskirche at Frankfurt am Main. Its existence was both part of and the result of the "March Revolution" in the states of the German Confederation.
After long and controversial debates, the assembly produced the so-called Paulskirche Constitution (Paulskirchenverfassung, actually Verfassung des Deutschen Reiches) which proclaimed a German Empire based on the principles of parliamentary democracy. This constitution fulfilled the main demands of the liberal and nationalist movements of the Vormärz and provided a foundation of basic rights, both of which stood in opposition to Metternich's system of Restoration. The parliament also proposed a constitutional monarchy headed by a hereditary emperor (Kaiser). The Prussian king Friedrich Wilhelm IV refused to accept the office of emperor when it was offered to him on the grounds that such a constitution and such an offer were an abridgment of the rights of the princes of the individual German states. In the 20th...
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