Constitution of the Duchy of Warsaw

Constitution of the Duchy of Warsaw
Napoleon issuing the Constitution of the Duchy of Warsaw.

Constitution of the Duchy of Warsaw was passed by Napoleon on 22 July 1807 in Dresden. Together with the Napoleonic code it was a significant reform of the Polish law and government in the new Duchy of Warsaw. The constitution provided for a bicameral Sejm and for a Council of Ministers. The new laws abolished serfdom and legal distinction by social classes (nobility, peasantry, townsfolk) by introducing a principle that all people are equal before the law. Serfdom was abolished, and personal liberty guaranteed. Duchy of Warsaw was a satellite state of France, with no diplomacy of its own. King Frederick Augustus I of Saxony became duke of Poland, and had control over foreign policy; a French representative was to reside in Warsaw and had significant influence over Duchy government. The duchy's army was subordinate to the French army. It was, nonetheless, considered a liberal constitution for its time.

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