Kingdom of Westphalia

Kingdom Of Westphalia

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Kingdom of Westphalia

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The Kingdom of Westphalia was a new country of 2.6 million Germans that existed from 1807-1813. It included 1100 square miles of territory in Hesse and other parts of present-day Germany. While formally independent, it was a vassal state of the First French Empire, ruled by Napoleon's brother Jérôme Bonaparte. It was named after Westphalia, but it is a misnomer since the kingdom had little territory in common with that area.The kingdom rather covered territory once considered as Eastphalia. Napoleon imposed the first written constitution in Germany, a French-style central administration, and agricultural reform. The Kingdom liberated the serfs and gave everyone equal rights and the right to a jury trial. In 1808 the Kingdom passed Germany's first laws granting Jews equal rights, thereby providing a model for reform in the other German states. Westphalia was progressive in immediately enacting and enforcing the new reforms, thereby playing a leading role in the evolution of German democracy. The country was relatively poor but Napoleon demanded very heavy new taxes and payments, and conscripted soldiers. Few of the men who marched into Russia with Napoleon in 1812 ever returned. The Kingdom was bankrupt by 1812. When Napoleon was retreating in the face of Allied advances in 1813, the Kingdom was overrun by the Allies and (in 1815) turned over to Prussian rule. Most of the reforms, however, remained in place.Connelly,......
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