The Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation as an Order of Public Peace

Autor(en): Westphal, Siegrid 
Stichwörter: History; Holy Roman Empire; Imperial Aulic Council; imperial ban; imperial chamber court; Maximilian's public peace; normative year (1624); order of public peace; Osnabruck peace treaty; perpetual public peace
Erscheinungsdatum: 2018
Volumen: 36
Ausgabe: 3, SI
Startseite: 401
Seitenende: 414
This article proposes an alternative view of German imperial and constitutional historiography for the early modern period. It helps to answer the question of what held the Holy Roman Empire together. The Perpetual Public Peace formulated at the 1495 Diet of Worms remained valid until the demise of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806 and thus formed the central element of the imperial constitution. For this reason the Empire can be regarded as a system of Public Peace. This fundamental idea, formulated in the Public Peace of the reign of Maximilian I, was not entirely fixed at the outset and was thus capable of being extended. It was powerful enough to settle several security dilemmas and conflicts over the following three centuries. The basic idea of Public Peace was so strong that it could be re-established after each and every crisis. The agreements brokered at the 1495 Diet of Worms were the starting point for the development of a constitution and the starting point for the normative and institutional development of the system of Public Peace until 1806. Changes in the system were prompted periodically by domestic conflicts that challenged the system but never destroyed it. The article concludes with a case study that demonstrates that the idea of the Empire as a system of Public Peace was still relevant to the Emperor and the Empire in the eighteenth century.
ISSN: 02663554
DOI: 10.1093/gerhis/ghy042

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