The Constitution of 3 May 1791 and Its Defence

19 September 2021

The Constitution of 3 May 1791 and Its Defence

Professor Richard Butterwick-Pawlikowski reveals the undeniable significance of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth’s Constitution of 3 May 1791.
Richard Butterwick-Pawlikowski

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Description

The Constitution of 3 May 1791 is widely considered to be the first modern written national constitution in Europe, second globally only to that of the United States.

Drawing on enlightenment ideas, it implemented a constitutional monarchy in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Although it remained in force for less than 19 months, the Constitution retained significance and kept alive Polish aspirations for the eventual restoration of the country’s sovereignty.

Join Professor Richard Butterwick-Pawlikowski as he explores the dramatic story of the Constitution in this special online event.

This event is sponsored by the Polish Cultural Institute.

About the speaker

Richard Butterwick-Pawlikowski is Professor of Polish-Lithuanian History at University College London. He studied at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge and has taught at institutions such as the University of Łódź, the University of Oxford, Queen’s University Belfast and the College of Europe.

His publications include The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, 1733-1795: Light and Flame (2020), and The Constitution of 3 May 1791: Testament of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (2021).

Image credit: Biblioteka Narodowa by Maciej Sikorski, 2017

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