To what Extent was Germany a parliamentary democracy in the years 1900-14?
In the period 1900-1914, Germany’s political landscape witnessed extraordinary changes in which typical features associated with a parliamentary democracy- such as significant and influential pressure group activity and universal suffrage- were present. It can however be argued that this period also represented a time in which the German Reichstag did not truly represent the population due to old and corrupt voting system for Prussia which saw votes unfairly given and the role of all the chancellors- in particular Von Bulow- during this time, which saw unelected officials yielding greater influence than that of the Reichstag. Germany was a parliamentary
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All males over the age of 24 were eligible to vote, yet they were divided into 3 classes, based on how much direct tax they paid. The first class contained the wealthiest people, who paid the most amount of tax, with the second class containing those on an lower income, and finally the third class housing the poorest sections of society, having those who paid little to no tax at all. These different classes all contained a varied amount of people, although the amount of representatives- known as electors- remained the same for each section. This allowed for the first class vote to have as much as 17.5% more influence than that of a vote from the third class. This clearly exposes Germany as not being a parliamentary democracy due to the fact that the poorer sections of society are very likely to have their vote and opinions drowned out by the greatly influential wealthy voters, which would consequently mean that the political party elected would never attempt to serve their needs, and instead just concentrate the higher classes, as that is where their vote originates from. These elections were also done in public, with no secret ballot being available which meant many of those opposing the popular first class and conservative parties could have felt intimidated by casting an opposing vote forward. The elections originating from Prussia were able to effectively