Polskie priorytety sejmowe w reformie ustroju państwa w okresie Oświecenia (1764–1792)
MetadataShow full item record
The fact that since the beginning of the 16th centuty the Seym had been playing a dominant role in the political life of the Commonwealth caused that the reform of the State's political system had to be initiated by the Seym thus making its leading position in the State even stronger. About the middle of the 18th centuty due to the limited sovereignty of the Commonwealth and the opposition of Russia it was not possible to carry out a global reform of the Seym. In order to overcome liberum veto in 1764 the Family resorted to a substitute solution and applied the principle of general gentty confederation to the Seym (confederated Seym taking decisions by majority vote). On the other hand, due to Russia's consent it was possible to introduce fundamental reforms of the executive power in the form of "Seym sections", which reflected the structure of the Seym. These "Seym sections" were of two types: either they had the form of coliegiate administration governing bodies or the Permanent Council. They consisted of senators, gentty who were not senators and representatives of the King (ministers) or even the King himself. These "Seym sections" were, as the gentty saw it, executive organs replacing the Seym. Collegiate administration governing bodies, promoted by Czartotyscy since 1764, functioned independently from each other and were subordinated only to the Seym. These collegiate bodies broke the almost unlimited prerogatives of ministers (one-man offices).they enabled the enlightened landed gentty to really participate in the State's administration. they embodied the principles of democratic State in the awareness of the gentty. The Permanent Council (from 1775), whose supporter was the King, had a centralized character and realized the vision of a state with a strong governmental- administrative centre. The gentty decided that the collegiate administration governing bodies are better suited to the model of the gently's Commonwealth than the Permanent Council. Fundamental reforms of the State's political system were carried out by the Great Seym (1788-1792), which made Poland independent of Russia's domination. It was a confederated Seym, which elevated the enlightened middle gently to the position of the real sovereign of the Commonwealth thus making them more inclined to reach reformist political compromise with the Puławy party (at the beginning of the Seym) and with the King (in the second stage of the debates). At the beginning of the debates a compromise between the gently parliamentary formation and the Puławy party was made. The essence of this compromise was that the Seym which was currently in session was to become the permanent governing Seym (combining legislative and executive powers and permanently in session) Just as the gentry wanted and according to the future constitution it was supposed to be the ready Seym (always ready to be convened in definite circumstances and consisting of the same members elected every two years) as the Puławy party wanted. This compromise paved the way for Montesquieu's separation of powers in the future constitution. In the second stage of the debates the gently parliamentary formation reached a reformist compromise with the King. The essence of this compromise was that the gentry accepted the decision making prerogatives of the Guardians of Law and thier controlling function in reference to the whole administration (contrary to the Puławy party according to whom the Guardians were supposed to have only a supervisory role). The King, on the other hand, accepted the sovereignty of the Seym and the autonomy of the collegiate administration governing bodies functioning independently from each other and not directly included in the structure of the government as the gently and Puławy party wanted.