Americans can trace their basic rights back to 1776, and readily identify this to a revolution. Well, here in the Wiesbaden region....things came a bit later that that for individual rights. In the 1800s....Wiesbaden was Nassau, and 'managed' by the Duke of Nassau.
In the spring of 1848....a revolution was sweeping Europe. Various political figures were staging rallies and events, which were frustrating the leadership of various cities, states, and empires. The agenda item? Democratic reform.
What can generally be said is that 1846 was a lousy year for agriculture, and there was a serious degree of famine for that particular fall and winter. Naturally, food riots erupted as people lacked enough to survive. Over a period of roughly eighteen months.....things were in a spiral.
Adding to this...industrial growth was mounting in urban areas of Europe, which led to negatives over living conditions, and what most would agree as a trend....ghetto-living.
Here in the Nassau region (Wiesbaden).....things came to head on the 4th of March of 1848. Flyers had been posted, and a disorderly crowd of roughly 30,000 came to protest at the local castle that housed the Duke of Nassau (near the river's edge of Bebrich). Statistically.....the 30,000 represented around one-third of the entire male population of the region.
The threat to storm the residence came to some peaceful conclusion, where the leaders of the protest wanted to send more of a threat....than take down the Duke.
Five weeks would pass, and the Duke would issue a civil rights proclamation.....which was loosely translated into the "Nine Claims of Nassau".
Religious freedom. The vote for all people (meaning men, of course). The freedom to carry and keep weapons. Freedom of the press. A parliamentary situation where laws might be introduced. A mandatory oath for all military individuals to support the Constitution or Claims. Freedom of Association. Public trials. Domains were to result into being public or state property.
This ended the revolutionary era, and for the most part....stabilized Nassau for generations to come. The odd part of the story? Normally, a bunch of hooligans, thugs, or revolutionary individuals meet....iron out their differences....write up their own rights agenda....sign it.....and the act is done. In this case....one man...the duke...wrote the rights package, signed it, and closed the whole affair.