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Why a Free State?

The last Saxon king Frederick Augustus III.

The last Saxon king Frederick Augustus III.
(© Deutsche Fotothek, SLUB/ Shutterstock)

Why is Saxony a Free State?

The title 'Free State' refers to Saxony's democratic tradition.  The equivalent of the French 'république' stresses the fact that the state is not governed by a souvereign, but by free citizens.

Saxony was a kingdom for over 100 years. Before that, it was an electorate, duchy, and margraviate. When monarchy was abolished in Germany after the end of the First World War, a council of workers and soldiers proclaimed the 'Republic of Saxony' on November 10, 1918. Three days later, King frederick Augustus III abdicated. The title of 'republic' however, did not last, and the German denomination of 'Free State' was soon more successful.

In February of 1919, the first 'Saxon People's Assembly' was elected. When the Assembly ratified the 'Preliminary Basic Laws for the Free State of Saxony' on February 28, the title became legal. When the final version was ratified on November 1, 1920, the title Free State was kept.

With the 'Law for coordination of the individual states with the Reich' dated March 31, 1933, the Free State was officially abolished and with it the parliamentary democracy. In the context of the GDR, the Free State did not play much of a role. The state was divided up into three administrative districts.

Only after the 'Peaceful Revolution' in Germany, the democratic tradition was reinstated with the re-introduction of the state structure in 1990.

The Free State of Saxony does not have any privileges or legal peculiarities which would distinguish her from other federal states, but does have much older state traditions.

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