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Imperial Reform

In 1495, an attempt was made at a Reichstag in the city of Worms to give the disintegrating Holy Roman Empire a new structure, commonly referred to as Imperial Reform (in German: Reichsreform).

Whether this reform can be considered successful depends on how one defines its goals; today, many scholars believe that the reform was not really aimed at producing a modern state (in which it failed), but rather attempted to consolidate and distribute power between the Empire and the states in consensus, which it did.

The reform mainly produced the following:

  1. the Eternal Land Piece (Ewiger Landfriede), which established the Reich as a single body of law that excluded feuds as a means of politics between its members;
  2. the Reichskammergericht[?] (Imperial Chamber Court), a supreme court for all of the Reichs territory, possibly the reform's most far-reaching impact;
  3. the establishment of six (from 1512 on: ten) Reichskreise (Imperial Circle Estates) for a more uniform administration of the Reich to better execute the Eternal Land Piece and taxing;
  4. a so-called Reichsregiment (Imperial Regiment), intended as a replacement of the clumsy and slow Reichstag, which never managed to gain much importance though.

The reform was more or less concluded with the 1555 Reichsexekutionsordnung (Imperial Execution Order), which regulated more details of the tasks of the Imperial Circle Estates.



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