7.2. Summary

 

The creation of the Reichskreise (Imperial Circles) in the course of the reforms under Emperor Maximilian I. was an overdue response to the regional impotence of the Holy Roman Empire and their estates in questions of preservation of peace, of the establishment of a central court, of tax controls and begging. Other critical points were the support for the poor, custom- and coin-supervision, the raising of the army, health care – it was formed by the medical Policey with regard to the supply of drinking water, protection against epidemics and plague – and many other problems in the early modern process of civilization. On the tasks of the Reichskreise were for example included: cross-border road and highway constructions, the settlement of prestige quarrels and territorial border disputes. Some of these activities remained more of a claim on (armed) territorial powers than an everyday occurrence. Despite this, Europe's development would have been difficult to imagine without the Reichskreise. The Franconian Reichskreis is an example of this, with its impressive record of district assemblies (Konvente) and resolutions and the unique elaboration of its own police order in 1572.

Thus the Franconian Imperial Circle also presents itself as a European regional model with parliamentary work beyond the emerging nation states. The conventions of the Southern German states were much more than mere “meetings” to “discuss common matters” and to “reach a conclusion”. Thus, the jurist and positivist historian Johann Jacob Moser in his “Kreis-Constitution” 1773 had certainly still seen them all too soberly. The baroque, linguistically overloaded infrastructure of the convents, that we encounter symbolically charged forms of communication in Ulm, Wasserburg a. Inn, Windsheim, Rothenburg upon Tauber, Schweinfurt or Nuremberg and everywhere else where district assemblies met, had escaped the critics. However, in addition to the grace for the imperial observers and for the district councils a political logic of action was hidden. It had integrating effects in the Reichskreis. Without these effects, the regions of the Old Empire – they should be precisely defined – would not have remained politically incapable of action.

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