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Anna Gianna Manca

Abstract

The paper deals with the question of the administrative districts in an overall Prussian perspective and emphasizes, above all, the central political role played by the provincial districts and their main authorities within the spaces of the state and of administrative activity. On this basis, it will be possible to adequately appreciate the revolutionary but unsuccessful attempt to abolish them in 1848 by the liberaldemocratic wing of the Constitutional Commission of the Prussian National Assembly, as has not yet been accomplished within the existing historiography.

First, the origins of the spatial-territorial division of Prussia existing around the middle of the 19th century are discussed. Within this framework special attention has been paid to the introduction of a provincial division, which led to that organization of internal administration into four instances under the minister (provinces, governmental districts, districts, municipalities) which was a peculiarity of the Prussian political and administrative spatial division compared with the other states of the German Confederation. Questions such as those of the basic division of the state’s space are so radical that they are usually raised with some prospect of success only at the foundation of states or during revolutions. Immediately afterwards, they tend to be included in the list of ›depoliticized technicalities‹, although they retain their fundamental importance for ensuring the political and administrative continuity of the state.