The Frankfurt Parliament

Painting of a meeting of the Frankfurt Parliament
Meeting of the Frankfurt Parliament

The Frankfurt Parliament was called to discuss reforms and attempt to draft a constitution for a unified Germany. This was seen as the best way to stop the political unrest.

The constitution was completed in March 1849:

  • the German states were to be united as a German Empire headed by a German Emperor
  • government would be provided by an elected parliament
  • the government would represent the populations of all states
  • the new German Empire would replace the existing Bund
  • the Crown was offered to Prussia's Frederick William IV.

But the Frankfurt Parliament and the attempt to unify Germany through political reform failed. Frederick William was not a strong enough leader to unite Germany. He refused to "accept a crown from the gutter" because it had not been offered by the other German Princes