On the Eve of the Birth of the Modern Doctrine of the Legal State? The Attitude of Polish Liberals to the Idea of the Rule of Law at the Beginning of the 19th Century
The article analyzes the problem of the attitude towards the idea of the rule of law of representatives of the Polish elite at the beginning of the 19th century. The author presents the development of the idea of the rule of law in the introduction. He verifies the thesis that the ideological basis for the concept of the rule of law was the Enlightenment thought on the basis of which the liberal doctrine developed. He used it to seek an answer to the question about the characteristics of the model of government established by the Constitution of the Kingdom of Poland of 1815. The author attempted to prove that, since the Kingdom (existing until 1831) with one of the most liberal constitutions in the first half of the 19th century was in force, then this act met all the conditions required for the establishment of the rule of law according to the standards adopted in that century. These considerations conclude with remarks on the further evolution of Polish liberal thought in the 1820s. It began to differ from the liberal assumptions on which the German Rechtstaat doctrine was built. Paradoxically, Rechtstaat concept had much more in common to Polish liberalism in the earlier (proto-liberal) stage of its development in the times of the Duchy of Warsaw (1807–1815) than of the Kingdom of Poland (1815–1831).