The Historical Dimension
DOI link for The Historical Dimension
The Historical Dimension book
The Prussian electoral system, known in German as the Dreiklassenwahlrecht, divided the electorate into three classes according to the amount of taxes paid. The first class contained very few people. They were the richest, most powerful citizens who owned the most property and paid the highest taxes. The second class contained the middle group, who were reasonably well-off, owned some property and therefore paid taxes, but did not contribute as much as those in class one. The third class, or category, covered everyone else. Class three did offer voting rights to people who paid no taxes at all, but excluded those who received charity in the form of alms. Bismarck granted universal suffrage, with direct and secret voting rights, to all males over twenty-five for that election. This arrangement was adopted for the German Second Empire. Weimar's political system included a bicameral legislature, attaching greater importance to the lower house of parliament, the Reichstag, than the upper house, the Reichsrat.