The Dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire Part XI: Aftermath

European Royal History

Aftermath

The Holy Roman Empire, an institution which had lasted for just over a thousand years, did not pass unnoticed or unlamented. The dissolution of the empire sent shockwaves through Germany, with most of the reactions within the former imperial boundaries being rage, grief or shame.

Even the signatories of the Confederation of the Rhine were outraged; the Bavarian emissary to the imperial diet, Rechberg, stated that he was “furious” due to having “put his signature to the destruction of the German name”, referring to his state’s involvement in the confederation, which had effectively doomed the empire.

From a legal standpoint, Franz II’s abdication was controversial. Contemporary legal commentators agreed that the abdication itself was perfectly legal but that the emperor did not have the authority to dissolve the empire. As such, several of the empire’s vassals refused to recognize that the empire had ended. As late as October 1806…

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