Les origines de la Constitution fédérale de 1848

Jean-Charles Biaudet

Jean-Charles Biaudet, Les origines de la Constitution fédérale de 1848 (Publi­cations de l’Université de Lausanne, Centenaire de la Constitution fédérale de 1848, vol. 5), Lausanne: F. Rouge, 1949, pp. 7-33.

Introduction/Historical Situation and Systematic Context

On the occasion of the first centenary jubilee of the Swiss Federal Constitution from September 1848 several volumes were published, whereas in 1891 the Swiss Government had invited Carl Hilty to publish an account (Les constitution fédérales de la Confédération suisse – Exposé historique écrit sur la demande du Conseil fédéral à l’occasion du sixième centenaire de la première alliance perpétuelle du 1er août 1291, Neuchâtel: Imprimerie Attinger frères, 1891; reprint: Les Éditions de l’Aire 1991). In 1948 the published book consisted in a volume of collected essays, edited by the Faculties of Law of the Swiss Universities (Die Freiheit des Bürgers im schweizerischen Recht, Festgabe zur Hundertjahrfeier der Bundesverfassung, Zürich: Polygraphischer Verlag, 1948), and William E. Rappard published a volume presenting the constitutional development between the adoption of the constitution of 1848, the successful total revision of the Swiss Federal Constitution in May 1874, to the centenary celebration (La consitution fédérale de la Suisse 1848-1948 (Die Bundesverfassung der Schweizerischen Eidgenossenschaft 1848-1948), Boudry: La Baconnière, 1948 (Polygraphischer Verlag AG, Zürich 1948)). Separately, a small volume has been published by the editor François Rouge in Lausanne, containing the two conferences held on 8 and 15 November 1948 at the “Salle Tissot” of the “Palais de Rumine” in Lausanne, when Jean-Charles Biaudet and Marcel Bridel held their respective lectures which are consulting even today (compare no. 5.8 of this Legal Anthology).

Content, Abstracts/Conclusions, Insights, Evidence

Jean-Charles Biaudet, dealing with the origins of the Swiss Federal Constitution of 1848, covered in his contribution the periods of so-called Helvetic, Restauration and Regeneration, leading to the attempts to found the Federal state and the preparatory work of the first Swiss Federal Constitution itself (see nos. 0.6 and 0.8 of this Legal Anthology).

It is noteworthy, that the foundation of the Swiss Federal authority was due to a civil war between the protestants and the Catholics, and in function to the victory of the radical liberalist over the retro-orientated conservatives. However, this change has been administrated with caution and political virtue in order to enable the adoption of the Swiss Federal Constitution.

Further Information About the Author

Jean-Charles Biaudet, born on 19 February 1910 in Montreux, died on 7 August 2000 in Cully, spent his life in Algérie and Paris until 1930. From 1932 to 1933 he was a teacher at the institution “Le Rosey” in Rolle. In 1936, he finished his studies at the University of Lausanne, and in 1940 he received his doctorate. Between 1943 and 1950 he was an archivist at the State Archive of the Canton de Vaud, and from 1950 to 1955 he was director of the University Library in Lausanne. In 1945 he signed as a private lecturer, in 1955 he was nominated extraordinary professor, and from 1961 to 1979 he had the chair for modern history at the University of Lausanne (where he was also dean of his faculty and vice president of the University). He was also the editor in chief of the “Journal for Swiss History” (“Schweizerische Zeitschrift für Geschichte”).

Selected Works of the Same Author

Jean-Charles Biaudet: La Révolution Vaudoise de 1845, Lausanne: F. Rouge, 1946.

For Further Reading

Carl Hilty: Les constitution fédérales de la Confédération suisse – Exposé historique écrit sur la demande du Conseil fédéral à l’occasion du sixième centenaire de la première alliance perpétuelle du 1er août 1291, Neuchâtel: Imprimerie Attinger frères, 1891 (reprint: Les Éditions de l’Aire 1991);

William E. Rappard: La consitution fédérale de la Suisse 1848-1948 (Die Bundesverfassung der Schweizerischen Eidgenossenschaft 1848-1948), Boudry: La Baconnière, 1948 (Polygraphischer Verlag AG, Zürich 1948);

Die Freiheit des Bürgers im schweizerischen Recht, Festgabe zur Hundertjahrfeier der Bundesverfassung, ed. by the Law Faculties of the Swiss Universities, Zürich: Polygraphischer Verlag, 1948.

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You can find a scan (PDF) of the original text here: Biaudet Constitution0001