Marx in Neue Rheinische Zeitung May 1849

The New Prussian Constitution

Source: MECW Volume 9, p. 430;
Written: by Marx on May 12, 1849;
First published: in the Neue Rheinische Zeitung No. 297, May 13, 1849.

Cologne, May 12. In November of last year, after the dispersal of the people’s representatives, the Potsdam member of the Trinity,[349] blessed by divine grace and the state of siege, imposed a Constitution which was to be revised by the Chambers soon to be convened. As we know, the new representatives of the people suffered a fate similar to that of the old ones; the latter were dispersed by Wrangel’s bayonets, the former received from Manteuffel a simple little notice of dissolution [350] ordering them to go home. That put an end, too, to the revision of the Constitution.

Thus the Christian-Germanic sovereign and his accomplices, the whole host of lay-abouts, parasites and vampires sucking the blood of the people, whether of high-born lineage or without ancestry, whether decorated with orders or undecorated, have acquired free scope for planting whatever kind of fruit they like.

In November of last year, the royalty, bureaucracy and Junkers were still compelled to use various hypocritical statements and to accept articles of the Constitution which seemed very liberal. The November Constitution had to be framed in a way that would make it possible to ensnare the numerically large, stupid part of the so-called “Prussian people”.

Now all such subtle diplomatic considerations have become superfluous. Is not brother-in-law Nicholas already on German soil with 20,000 men? Has not Dresden been demolished by artillery shelling? Does there not exist the closest alliance of Prussia with the cowardly fugitive in Königstein, with imperial Max in Munich, [351] with the bulldog Ernest Augustus of Hanover, with the whole counter-revolutionary gang inside and outside Germany?

Certainly, this moment has been used by the Hohenzollern to the best advantage. He had a new Constitution drawn up for his “beloved” subjects, and he sanctioned and imposed it in Charlottenburg on May 10.

The latest royal-Prussian Constitution, the only one sincerely intended, which also has the advantage over the November Constitution of consisting of only seventeen paragraphs, reads as follows: .... [There followed the text of the decree of May 10 1849]