„Seym ten bez początku zaczął się, bez końca kończy się”. Sejm pacyfikacyjny z 1698 r. i jego znaczenie w kontekście ewolucji liberum veto

Tomasz Kucharski


“This General Diet Has Begun Without a Beginning and Has Ended without an end”. So-called ‘Pacification’ General Diet in 1698 and its Meaning in the Context of liberum veto Evolution

The article presented is devoted to an interesting episode from the legal and political history of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth at the end of the seventeenth century – the “breaking up” of the General Diet in 1698 by liberum veto. This particular session of the General Diet was summoned by the newly-elected king – August II, for the ‘pacification’ of the nation and the legitimization of his reign against the opposition that had gathered around the archbishop of Gniezno – Cardinal Michał Radziejowski in Łowicz. The Diet failed to satisfy the king’s expectations. Poor attendance by envoys and senators, as well as the negative attitude of the Lithuanian delegation, caused a brief ‘breaking up’ of the Diet.

The author of the paper tries to show this episode, not as a political, but as a legal phenomenon, and also as an underestimated precedent in the history of old-Polish ‘deliberative’ democracy. He points out the insufficiency of previously known procedures of negotiation with envoys announcing their vetoes. He also emphasizes that the contradiction of the Lithuanian envoys was completely irrational, and that the acceptance shown for their demands was commonly considered to be obviously illegal. Besides this, the envoys were strictly obliged to ‘break up’ the Diet, which was clearly against the essence of the parliamentary mandate. However, this was not enough to reject contradiction. From this very moment any attempt to limit or restrain liberum veto was not possible.

Słowa kluczowe: Rzeczpospolita Obojga Narodów, Sejm walny, liberum veto, demokracja deliberacyjna, historia parlamentary-zmu

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