National Assembly
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In politics, a national assembly is either a
unicameral Unicameralism (from ''uni''- "one" + Latin ''camera'' "chamber") is a type of legislature, which consists of one house or assembly, that legislates and votes as one. Unicameral legislatures exist when there is no widely perceived need for multic ...
legislature A legislature is an deliberative assembly, assembly with the authority to make laws for a Polity, political entity such as a Sovereign state, country or city. They are often contrasted with the Executive (government), executive and Judiciary, ...
, the
lower house A lower house is one of two Debate chamber, chambers of a Bicameralism, bicameral legislature, the other chamber being the upper house. Despite its official position "below" the upper house, in many legislatures worldwide, the lower house has co ...
of a
bicameral Bicameralism is a type of legislature, one divided into two separate Deliberative assembly, assemblies, chambers, or houses, known as a bicameral legislature. Bicameralism is distinguished from unicameralism, in which all members deliberate and ...
legislature, or both houses of a bicameral legislature together. In the English language it generally means "an assembly composed of the representatives of the nation." The population base represented by this name is manifestly the nation as a whole, as opposed to a geographically select population, such as that represented by a provincial assembly. The powers of a National Assembly vary according to the type of government. It may possess all the powers of government, generally governing by committee, or it may function solely within the legislative branch of the government. The name also must be distinguished from the concept. Conceptually such an institution may appear under variety of names, especially if "national assembly" is being used to translate foreign names of the same concept into English. Also, the degree to which the National Assembly speaks for the nation is a variable. To achieve a quorum, the ancient Athenian Assembly employed Scythian police to arrest citizens at random from the street. On the other hand, the early Parliaments of Europe were mainly of an aristocratic composition. The word had its origins and inspirations from the National Assembly that was responsible for drafting a constitution during the
French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) was a period of radical political and societal change in France France (), officially the French Republic ( ), is a country primarily located in Western Europe. It also comprises of Overseas France, ...
. The exact words, "national assembly," have been used prolifically in the international community of nations since the 18th and 19th centuries, considered the
Age of Revolution The Age of Revolution is a period from the late-18th to the mid-19th centuries during which a number of significant revolutionary movements occurred in most of Europe and the Americas. The period is noted for the change from Absolutism (Europe ...
in western Europe. Nations that formed republics in this age subsequently formed empires. Extensive cross-cultural influences brought much of their language and institutions to the provinces. When these empires collapsed finally, the emancipated countries formed states and other institutions on the model of the former imperial nations. Some examples of international influences are as follows: In
Germany Germany,, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central Europe. It is the second most populous country in Europe after Russia, and the most populous member state of the European Union. Germany is situated between ...
, a Nationalversammlung was elected following the revolutions of 1848–1849 and 1918–1919, to be replaced by a permanent
parliament In modern politics, and history, a parliament is a legislative body of government. Generally, a modern parliament has three functions: Representation (politics), representing the Election#Suffrage, electorate, making laws, and overseeing ...
( Reichstag) later. The legislature of the Estado Novo regime in
Portugal Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic ( pt, República Portuguesa, links=yes ), is a Sovereign state, country whose mainland is located on the Iberian Peninsula of Southern Europe, Southwestern Europe, and whose territory also includes ...
was known as the National Assembly. The national assembly was also defined in the Republic of China constitution. This is different from the
Legislative Yuan The Legislative Yuan is the Unicameralism, unicameral legislature of the Republic of China (Taiwan) located in Taipei. The Legislative Yuan is composed of 113 members, who are directly elected for 4-year terms by people of the Free Area of the ...
by the ROC constitution. In 2005, Taiwan revised the constitution and the national assembly was abolished. Examples have multiplied greatly under the policy of self-determination adopted by the western nations. Many more are to be found in the articles listed below.


Origin of the expression

Perhaps the best known National Assembly was that established during the
French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) was a period of radical political and societal change in France France (), officially the French Republic ( ), is a country primarily located in Western Europe. It also comprises of Overseas France, ...
in 1789, known as the '' Assemblée nationale''. Consequently, the name is particularly common in
Francophone French became an international language in the Middle Ages In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or medieval period lasted approximately from the late 5th to the late 15th centuries, similar to the Post-classical, post-classical ...
countries. It was also the name of the legislature during
France France (), officially the French Republic ( ), is a country primarily located in Western Europe. It also comprises of Overseas France, overseas regions and territories in the Americas and the Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic, Pacific Ocean, Pac ...
's Second Republic and the Third Republic, and since 1946 has been the
lower house A lower house is one of two Debate chamber, chambers of a Bicameralism, bicameral legislature, the other chamber being the upper house. Despite its official position "below" the upper house, in many legislatures worldwide, the lower house has co ...
of the French
parliament In modern politics, and history, a parliament is a legislative body of government. Generally, a modern parliament has three functions: Representation (politics), representing the Election#Suffrage, electorate, making laws, and overseeing ...
, first under the Fourth Republic, and from 1958, the Fifth Republic. The expression, however, did not originate in 1789. It was already in use in the French language of the times.
Louis XIII of France Louis XIII (; sometimes called the Just; 27 September 1601 – 14 May 1643) was King of France from 1610 until his death in 1643 and King of Navarre (as Louis II) from 1610 to 1620, when the crown of Navarre was merged with the French crown. ...
(1601–1643), ''par la grace de Dieu Roy de France & de Navarre'', in a ''Declaration'' of April 14, 1627, concerning the sovereignty of his kingdom, prohibits ministers of foreign countries from any jurisdiction in France, citing, as precedent, his ''Lettres de Declaration'' of April 17, 1623, forbidding religious officials from treating with foreign countries. He describes his ''Declaration'' as ''ordonné qu'en Assemblées Provinciales & Nationales des nosdites sujets''. This was the "registration" that the
Parlement A ''parlement'' (), under the French Ancien Régime, was a Provinces of France, provincial appellate court of the Kingdom of France. In 1789, France had 13 parlements, the oldest and most important of which was the Parliament of Paris, Parl ...
of Paris refused to perform for
Louis XVI of France Louis XVI (''Louis-Auguste''; ; 23 August 175421 January 1793) was the last King of France before the fall of the monarchy during the French Revolution. He was referred to as ''Citizen Louis Capet'' during the four months just before Execution ...
in 1787–1788. When the
Estates-General of 1789 The Estates General of 1789 was a general assembly representing the French estates of the realm: the clergy (First Estate), the nobility (Second Estate), and the commoners (Third Estate). It was the last of the Estates General (France), Estates ...
formed the
National Assembly In politics, a national assembly is either a unicameral legislature, the lower house of a bicameral legislature, or both houses of a bicameral legislature together. In the English language it generally means "an assembly composed of the repre ...
of 1789, they did not believe they were instituting anything new. In the Assembly of Notables of 1787,
Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de La Fayette (6 September 1757 – 20 May 1834), known in the United States as Lafayette (, ), was a French aristocrat, freemasonry, freemason and military officer who fought in the Ameri ...
had used National Assembly and Estates General synonymously when he suggested that France needed a national assembly to solve its financial problems. National Assembly is also found in some Commonwealth countries. Its use there is not a translation of ''Assemblée nationale'', as the phrase is equally embedded in the English language. For example, at the end of the
First English Civil War The First English Civil War took place in Kingdom of England, England and Wales from 1642 to 1646, and forms part of the 1639 to 1653 Wars of the Three Kingdoms. They include the Bishops' Wars, the Irish Confederate Wars, the Second English ...
, an Act of Parliament, 1648, "Concerning the Members of the Classical and Congregational Presbyteries, in the several counties of the Kingdom of England, and Dominion of Wales," establishes a national congregational church in England and Wales, corresponding to the presbyteries of Scotland. The language is: "The National Assembly shall be constituted of members chosen by and sent from the several Provincial Assemblies." This National Assembly appears to have no direct link to any French words, although the concept is the same.


Unicameral national legislatures


Lower house of bicameral national legislature


Upper house of bicameral national legislature


Entire bicameral legislature


Historical


Other historical


Other


See also

* List of national legislatures


Notes


References

{{reflist Legislatures