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Significance of May 3rd in Poland


Brentano 2 | 5  
2 May 2008 /  #1
Would someone please explain the significance of the public holiday in Poland on 3rd May? I believe the day commemorates the promulgation of the Polish Constitution of 1792 - which would make it one of the first in Europe, I believe - but that's about all I know. I'd like to find out more.
Borrka 37 | 593  
2 May 2008 /  #2
Actually it was the first European constitution (some historian consider the Corsican constitution to be the first one).

In some political sense it was a split in the face of the Russian "prison of the nations" (empire) slowly but surely annihilating Polish state in those years.

So obviously, from a very narrow pragmatic point of view the 1791 Constitution was a nail to the coffin of the independent Poland.
The medieval czarist system could hardly accept a modern democratic constitution in its "sphere of influence".

On the other hand the 200 years long forbidden (by Russian occupants) tradition kept us speaking Polish, using Latin alphabet, being mostly Catholics.
As one of many factors of course.

Once again the first free celebration of the 1791 anniversary took place 1989 !
Crow 155 | 9,030  
2 May 2008 /  #3
The medieval czarist system could hardly accept a modern democratic constitution in its "sphere of influence".

It is interesting to me to note that Russian Empire wasn`t able to adopt anything from Polish- Sarmatian schlachta. Or if it was able, please someone enlighte me.

If Russian Empire was able to fully adopt key elements from long Polish expiriance in democracy, that would inevitable lead Russia and complete empire in dirrection of some Slavic Alliance or Union without (so obvious!) dominance of some local (particulary Russian) elite. Sarmatian concept in Slavic history always considered to be aware of multicultural-multiethnic (multitribal) dimension of Slavic world.
Borrka 37 | 593  
2 May 2008 /  #4
Russia used some anti-Polish and anti-Catholic sentiments as a ideologic binder for the empire.
Frankly, they couldn't change this approach.
And then, there were enormous barriers of civilization - imagine, the first university in Russia was erected in 18 nth century (Poland 14 nth).
lesser 4 | 1,311  
2 May 2008 /  #5
So obviously, from a very narrow pragmatic point of view the 1791 Constitution was a nail to the coffin of the independent Poland.
The medieval czarist system could hardly accept a modern democratic constitution in its "sphere of influence".

Actually this constitution moved away from so called "nobles democracy" to monarchy!
Borrka 37 | 593  
2 May 2008 /  #6
The "nobles democracy" was in 18 th century already a very degenerated political form of a statehood .
More anarchy than any constructive parliamentary monarchy, giving political rights to some 10% of the entire population only (nobles and to some extend Jews) .

The new constitution should have strengthened the position of the king, townsfolk and bourgeoisie.
Ozi Dan 26 | 569  
2 May 2008 /  #7
The "nobles democracy" was in 18 th century already a very degenerated political form of a statehood .

The question I always asked was how wold it have worked if not for outside interference from C17 onwards.
Crow 155 | 9,030  
2 May 2008 /  #8
The "nobles democracy" was in 18 th century already a very degenerated political form of a statehood .

I noticed that many Poles insist to underline that old "nobles democracy" was backwarded/degenerated.

Why?

Did you ever sow/heard that some Greak say that old antic Greak or even so called Greak (many so called antic Greak issues could be in fact antic Slavic issues) `democracy` was degenerated. Not, of course. It`s because Greaks respect themselves (respect their interests) and because spreading Greak/Hellenic heritage is on the line of ruling establishmant of Europe, while Slavic heritage and contribution to global civilization should stay under the carpet. In short- Slavs are on `menu`, no matter Orthodox, Catholic or Protestant. Just, approach is different. Key words are `divide and conquer` then, `assimilate and overrun`.
lesser 4 | 1,311  
2 May 2008 /  #9
The new constitution should have strengthened the position of the king, townsfolk and bourgeoisie.

Thus amount of people having influence on state policy shrank. Constitution was not only not democratic but went in opposite direction, however it was too late to save the country...

I noticed that many Poles insist to underline that old "nobles democracy" was backwarded/degenerated.

I cannot find any arguments which would justify supposed "backwardness". However it was degenerated indeed, liberum veto practically blocked possibility of necessary reforms. While foreign agents could easily bribe just one MP to block some initiatives which could make the commonwealth stronger.
Borrka 37 | 593  
2 May 2008 /  #10
Thus amount of people having influence on state policy shrank.
Can you elaborate on this ?

Then, did I use "backwardness" as a label for Polish system ?
Not at all.
"Degenerated" is the best expression for what it was in the 18th century.
And there is no way around it - it used to work perfectly in Jagellonian times due to the high moral standards and patriotism of ruling elite.

The Vasa kings destroyed the system.
plk123 8 | 4,142  
2 May 2008 /  #11
Once again the first free celebration of the 1791 anniversary took place 1989 !

are you sure? i think it was celebrated in the time betwen the wars.

Actually this constitution moved away from so called "nobles democracy" to monarchy!

huh? how is that? it's an almost exact copy of the USA one.
Borrka 37 | 593  
2 May 2008 /  #12
are you sure? i think it was celebrated in the time betwen the wars

Of course it was. Just my narrow post ww2 way of thinking LOL.
Crow 155 | 9,030  
2 May 2008 /  #13
More anarchy than any constructive parliamentary monarchy, giving political rights to some 10% of the entire population only (nobles and to some extend Jews) .

Fact is that so called `Golden Freedom` gave unrestricted privileges for nobilities (szlachta) and Sejm (Polish Parlament) but limited competences of king.

Few interesting facts about `schlachta system`:

- The king must convene the Sejm (Polish parliament) at least every two years for six weeks,
- The king had no right to create new taxes, tariffs or such without approval of the Sejm,
- The king had no right to call a pospolite ruszenie (mobilisation of armed forces) without approval of the Sejm,
- The king had no right to declare war or peace without approval of the Sejm

I would say, nice example of attempt for restriction of possible king`s absolutism. To say in very very short, power was redirected in dirrection of nobility which needed to be link between king and people.

Considering historical momentum, we must admit that attempt was for admiration. Maybe naive attempt but for sure in accordance with long Polish (Slavic in general) tendency to live in free/democratic society.

As for Jews, that you mentioned. Yes, they were considered as class of traders and they had their privileges.

BDW, did you know that some linguists connects `Greek word` AGORA with Slavic word GORA (circle in forest where ancients/druids debated)

"Degenerated" is the best expression for what it was in the 18th century.

I cannot find any arguments which would justify supposed "backwardness". However it was degenerated indeed, liberum veto practically blocked possibility of necessary reforms. While foreign agents could easily bribe just one MP to block some initiatives which could make the commonwealth stronger.

King was only pawn in game for authorities of magnates.

But, I insist that `schlachta` wasn`t `degenerated`. More appropriate explanation would be that system was already `deformed` because of constant pressure on Poland (Slavic world in general).

To understand `schlachta` you must seek to connect it with system which existed in Panonia (land of masters- Pan`s land, also Pan- master of the woods in mithology), in Great Moravia which precedes Poland.

If i were to sum up all data that i sow on topic it would lead me to conclusion that old Slavic Warlords (predominantly from Polish cultural area- Pan`s!) retreated on territory of Poland after destruction of Great Moravia. They, tried to restore `old glory` , `might of once vast civilization` and designated themselves as Sarmatians (once universal name for all Slavs). So, Polish tradition preserved memory on `Sarmatian schlachta`.

And there is no way around it - it used to work perfectly in Jagellonian times due to the high moral standards and patriotism of ruling elite.

I always asked was how wold it have worked if not for outside interference from C17 onwards.

We must understand that `schlachta` was obviously, as I mentioned, based on traditional Polish (Slavic) political doctrine (on different morale values, natural, tribal, essence of true freedom and democracy). That doctrine once was very sucessfull, let`s say in time of glorious/prosperious days of Slavic civilization, in time when our ancestors used to spread knowladge of agriculture and consolidated on vast territory from Europe to the Eurasia and Asia. Such a system has its roots in society of so called ARIETS or to say ARYANS. Maybe even before them, in the begginings, in the morning of our Sarmatian (those who are borthers, collectors) - Slavic (those who are able to speak and understand each others)- Raseni (those who are of White/Red/Rose race, who are `cousins` by same race) kind.

Long period of time (for even thousends of years) such a system (or similar- which maybe in time of schlachta already was deformed in futile attempts of reform in agony) existed and was functional. Then, things changed in global enviroment, any attempt for reform of old and traditional political system on enormous territory (`schlachta` system as reflection of it) was very limited and needed a lot of time. But obviously, our ancestors didn`t have time, they were defeated and divided from advancing agressive newcomers, enslaved.

Then, history was written by winners and today we seek to collect puzzles of historical traces. Path of our civilization was violantly stooped/cut in one historical moment and we- `children of garden` seek to found answers, scent, to continue.
lesser 4 | 1,311  
3 May 2008 /  #14
Can you elaborate on this ?

Szlachta golota (without land) lost election rights and they consisted quite large part of 10% that you mentioned before.

huh? how is that? it's an almost exact copy of the USA one.

The largest paragraph is about king, does the US had king? :) Simply read it, this is short document. There were some common ideas in both documents but this was not exact copy for sure. Both constitutions were short and everybody with half of the brain could read and understand everything. (This is not the case in the EU)

Also don't confuse extension of personal freedoms with extension of democracy. In this case democracy was reduced and personal freedom extended.

But, I insist that `schlachta` wasn`t `degenerated`.

Some were, some were not, read about "szlachta golota".
Borrka 37 | 593  
3 May 2008 /  #15
Crow, I have to disagree with your "Slavic references".
Of course Poles are part Slavic.
Me too.
But it's nothing I'm taking any special proud in.

For me German and Czech monks, Dutch colonists, Jewish traders are by far more "Polish" and had more impact on our culture than any (more or less) mythical Slavic links.

Even Sarmates were not Slavic - they were Iranian Alans.

"Slavic" means for me some forced connection to Muscovites.
BTW, they are even not Slavic lol.
They are "wannabe" Slavs who crated the famous myth of the three brothers Lech, Czech and Russ.
Polish and Czech mythology knows two founders of Slavic countries only.
Brother Rus is a free invention of the czarist propaganda.
southern 74 | 7,074  
3 May 2008 /  #16
Polish and Czech mythology knows two founders of Slavic countries only.
Brother Rus

I thought there are three trees in that famous place where the brothers separated.
Polson 5 | 1,768  
3 May 2008 /  #17
HAPPY MAY 3rd TO POLAND !!!... :))

I thought there are three trees in that famous place where the brothers separated.

Patrick, Mohamed, Jin Tao... ;P
Borrka 37 | 593  
3 May 2008 /  #18
I thought there are three trees in that famous place where the brothers separated.

These oaks in Rogalin are only about 700 years old. lol
Crow 155 | 9,030  
3 May 2008 /  #19
Crow, I have to disagree with your "Slavic references".

whatever you say man, whatever. I just expressed my oppinion. You have your thoughts

there was thread didicated to ancient Polish history, which motivated me to talk about things but, now i won`t insist.
celinski 31 | 1,258  
3 May 2008 /  #20
Freedom is not so much a privilege to enjoy, as it is a reward for those who will honor and defend. It is a symbol of the Polish people and of their struggle for liberty, justice, and honor.
polishcanuck 7 | 462  
3 May 2008 /  #21
Would someone please explain the significance of the public holiday in Poland on 3rd May?

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constitution_of_May_3%2C_1791

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