"Czwarty stan?" : aspekty społeczno-ustrojowe, prawne, administracyjne i kulturowe warunkujące rozwój stanu panów (Herrenstand) na Śląsku w okresie nowożytnym (XVI-XVIII w.)
The fourth estate of the realm?” : socio-political, legal, administrative and cultural aspects of development of Herrenstand in Silesia in the Habsburg epoch (16-18th century)
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In connection with the development of research on legislation determining the position of the German aristocracy, its role in administration, society and development of culture, a number of doubts have arisen in Polish science related to the need to transpose the concepts into Polish, but maybe even more, to give them appropriate content and even certain emotional charge. The problem became evident especially in relation to Herrenstand (Herrenkaste, Herrenklasse). Interestingly, despite the historicity of this concept, the European, as well as the German, historiography abandoned the general formulation of „aristocracy”. In fact, it is not only about the state elite, i.e. the nobles, which were common in countries under the influence, let us remember the German and Austrian legal and social cultures. Speech about an independent social stratum that has isolated and emancipated itself over the centuries. The main problem today is the restoration of the original form, as postulated by the author in research that has been carried out for over ten years, and its introduction to the scientific circle in the form of the term „estate of lords”. The main question of the article remains: Could we regard Herrenstand as separate and independent estate of the realm or not? Since there exist many indices of real possibility from the legal perspective, it could be at least very rational and reasonable.
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