Polish national holiday of the Constitution
of May 3, . The first democratic
and the second in the world.
Look up (Constitution
of May 3, 1791)
of May 3, 1791 (Polish: Konstytucja Trzeciego Maja) was adopted as a "Government Act" (Polish: Ustawa rządowa) on that date
by the Sejm (parliament) of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. Historian Norman Davies
calls it "the first constitution
of its type in Europe"
The May 3rd Constitution
was designed to redress
defects of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and its traditional system of "Golden Liberty" conveying disproportionate rights and privileges to the nobility. The Constitution
equality between townspeople and nobility (szlachta) and placed
the peasants under the protection of the government, thus mitigating the worst abuses of serfdom. The Constitution abolished
pernicious parliamentary institutions such
as the liberum veto, which at one time had put the sejm at the mercy of any deputy who might choose, or be bribed by an interest or foreign power, to undo legislation passed
by that sejm. The Constitution
sought to supplant the existing
by some of the country's magnates with a more democratic
by Polish King Stanisław
August Poniatowski, Stanisław
Małachowski, Hugo Kołłątaj, Ignacy Potocki, Stanisław
Staszic, Scipione Piattoli and others.