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How Far The Weimar Constitution Can Be Described As Creating An Effective Democracy

1379 words - 6 pages

How Far the Weimar Constitution Can Be Described as Creating an Effective Democracy

For the first time in the history of Germany, the state was a
democratic republic. The constitution was something of a fragile
experiment, a guinea pig. Theoretically speaking, the Weimar
Constitution could be described as the most democratic constitution
the world has ever laid eyes upon, in practice, things were not as
clear.

Germany was to be a “Federal State,” with each “Lander,” (state)
retaining limited control over local affairs. This recognised local
differences within Germany, with each Lander being represented in the
Reichstrat. Effectively small states had as much influence as bigger
states. This system allowed for the Reichstrat to be a microcosm of
German society, with local diversity taken into account, which is of
course extremely democratic, because all citizens no matter how remote
had somebody representing their local needs.

The Reichstag was extremely democratic because the German public
elected members of the Reichstag. Universal suffrage for adults over
the age of 20, meant that every body, had a vote, to decide who gained
a seat. Politicians were accountable to the people, with regular
elections, no longer than 4 years apart, giving people the opportunity
to vote members out, which is democratic. Proportional Representation
meant that every party got the percentage of seats mirroring the
percentage of the vote that they received, this means that the number
of seats each party got directly reflected the views of the people and
so directly democratic. Proportional Representation also allowed tiny
parties to gain seats in parliament, as instead of the most popular
party in each area gaining a seat, every party that had enough votes
nationwide gained a seat. So even extremists could be represented, and
thus extremists are given a say in the running of the country albeit
limited to the size of the extremists. Democracy is rule by the
people, which the Weimar Constitution included extremists within.

Plebescites were relatively common, which are effective referenda,
giving the German public direct choice on an issue, thus being ultra
democratic, with the German people being allowed to make decisions by
themselves as opposed to simply having elected representatives making
decisions on their behalf.

The Bill of Rights was effectively made for German workers. Trade
unions were instituted to organise a minimum wage. The consideration
of workers, in a previously elite class system, reflects new
democratic intentions, giving everybody an equal footing. For the
first time in German history everybody had freedom of religion and
speech, regardless of beliefs. This is incredibly democratic as it
means that all people were allowed to express themselves truthfully,
no matter how...

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