History of Political Institutions I (2019/2020)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Anna Gianna Manca
Anna Gianna Manca
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
II semestre - sede TN dal Feb 17, 2020 al May 29, 2020.

Lesson timetable

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Learning outcomes

Acquisition of particular skills and abilities in dealing with vocabulary and specific problems in the composition, functioning and role of modern political institutions (eighteenth-twentieth century).


The course, entitled: Constitutional history of the German world in the long nineteenth century, takes place at the headquarters of Trento and is divided into lectures during which it will be distributed, as needed, educational materials such as geographical maps, constitutional and / or legislative texts to aid in understanding and exemplifying the issues addressed.
It is not presupposed by the student any basic knowledge and / or skill (the use of technical-specialist concepts will be adequately introduced) but only the propensity to look at the history of the German states, in particular of Prussia and of the Austrian Empire, from the 'special' point of view of political and institutional history.
The contents of the course will be:
1. The main features of the Austrian and German absolute State until the foundation, by resolution of the Congress of Vienna, of the German Confederation and beyond (1800-1848).
2. The constitutionalization of the German-southern States in the Vormärz, and the main historical-political-constitutional problems that were on the political agenda before the belated transition to the constitutional state in both Austria and Germany in 1848.
3. The start of the constitutionalization process of Prussia and Austria in 1848.
4. The difficulties encountered by the process of constitutionalization, especially in Austria but also in Germany, during the 1950s.
5. The parliamentary-representative institutions introduced in Austria and Prussia through the new constitutional papers and their role within the overall political system, especially in relation to the Monarch and his Government.
6. Lines of affirmation and evolution of the modern parliamentary-representative system in Prussia / Germany and in the Austrian Empire until the First World War.

The course aims to bring the student closer to the political-constitutional history of the German world of the long nineteenth century (1800-1918). The central object of the course will be
1. the late and contrasted transition from the absolute state to the constitutional one in the 2 main states of the German Confederation (1815-1866), namely Austria and Prussia,
2. the introduction here for the first time of the modern parliamentary-representative institutions, that is at least partially freely elected.
At the end of the course the student will be able to:
1. to know in broad terms times and circumstances of the transition from the cetual / absolute, or anyway pre-constitutional state, to the constitutional one in the Austrian Empire and in Prussia / Germany,
2. to outline the period of introduction and the distinctive characteristics of the monarchical-constitutional form of government,
3. to frame the relationship established within the new form of monarchical-constitutional government between (monarchical) government on the one hand and parliament on the other,
4. to distinguish historically between a liberal state and one at least formally democratic, ie between different types and models of the modern state, as well as between two different forms of political government, ie between a at least formally constitutional monarchy and a solid parliamentary monarchy.
The course intends to bring the student closer to the political-constitutional history of the German world during the long nineteenth century, with particular attention to the late and contrasted transition process from the absolute regime to the constitutional one of the main states of the German Confederation (1815-1866), namely Austria and Prussia. At the end of the course the student will be able to: - know about the modalities, times and circumstances of the transition from the absolute (or cetual) regime to the constitutional regime, and to illustrate the new relationship established within the constitutional state between (monarchical) government and representative institutions.

Assessment methods and criteria

Reference texts:
a. Anna Gianna Manca: La monarchia nella storia costituzionale del lungo Ottocento: Italia, Germania, Austria. In: Giornale di storia costituzionale - vol. 36/II, 2018, pp. 85-107;

b. Anna Gianna Manca, Costituzione e amministrazione della monarchia prussiana (1848-1870), Bologna, Il Mulino, 2016 (from beginning to p. 87).

c. Anna Gianna Manca, Il parlamento del Secondo Impero tedesco tra autonomia e incardinamento sistemico, (ulteriori informazioni in merito durante il corso);

d. Brigitte Mazohl, Lo sviluppo della problematica costituzionale dopo la rivoluzione del ’48, in P. Schiera (ed), La dinamica statale austriaca nel XVIII e XIX secolo. Strutture e tendenze di storia costituzionale prima e dopo Maria Teresa, Bologna 1981, pp. 305-322

e. Brigitte Mazohl, Costituzioni e costituenti nell'Europa del 1848-49, il caso dell'Austria e dell'Ungheria, in P. L. Ballini (ed.), 1848-1849. Costituenti e Costituzioni. Daniele Manin e la repubblica di Venezia, Venezia 2002, pp. 15-30;

f. Brigitte Mazohl, L’Impero austriaco e l’unità italiana, in «Archivio storico lombardo», vol. XVIII of the twelfth series, CXXXIX, 2013, pp. 93-119;
g. Heinrich August Winkler, Grande storia della Germania. Un lungo cammino verso Occidente, Roma 2004, pp. 145-232;

h. H.-U. Wehler, L'impero guglielmino 1871-1918, foreword by Pierangelo Schiera, Bari 1981, pp. 31-50 and 69-147;

Exam mode:
The assessment of learning will take place for attending students through an oral test on the knowledge of one between the two following groups of reference texts :

Group A : text a. + b. + c.

Group B : text a. +d. + e. + f.

The verification of learning for non-attending students will consist of an oral exam on the knowledge of one between the two aforesaid groups of reference texts (A or B) and further on the knowledge of the reference texts under g. and h.