The dynasty of the Jagiellonian extinct in 1572, with the death of Sigismund Augustus, under whose reign the royal union with Lithuania was achieved, the principle of the eligibility of the sovereign was fully consolidated in Poland. All the nobility took part in the election, agreeing to the purpose in large numbers in the vicinity of Warsaw (the so-called viritim election). The newly elected king swore the so-called articuli, containing almost the constitutional principles of the state, as well as the pacta conventa, which included the personal commitments of the sovereign (later the articles were included in the pacta conventa). In the articles of the year 1573 there was the resolution (calledarticulus de non praestanda oboedientia), which authorized the nobility to refuse to obey the sovereign, should the latter break the laws, subject to a triple admonition. In practice, this has never happened. However, starting from the second half of the century. XVII, the nobility sometimes formed the so-called confederations, which, if they understood the whole state, considered themselves above the sovereign.
Legislative power passed almost entirely to the diet, which was common for Poland and Lithuania, and which met under the title of ordinary diet every two years for the duration of six weeks, and which, moreover, in case of necessity, was summoned by the king for a duration of generally two weeks. The diet, however, was heavily subordinated to the diets, which gave the elected deputies their instructions. A serious flaw in the diet was caused by the fact that it was required to decree unanimously (nemine contradicente); In the second half of the century. XVII the principle of unanimity was further extended, to the point that, during the sessions of the diet, only one deputy was enough to oppose the continuation of its deliberations, and even to dissolve it (liberum veto). The diet sometimes remedied this by accepting the principle of the so-called confederation; in which cases it decreed by majority.
The diet also gave the political direction to the state, often opposing the policy of the sovereign. From the year 1573 four senators were required to be in turn every quarter with the person of the sovereign, who had to have recourse to their council in governing; these senators, called “resident senators”, did not constrain the king’s freedom of action too much. What limited the executive power of the sovereign was the fact that the officials were appointed for life, and could only be revoked through judicial proceedings, in the case of violation of their duties. A further limitation of the royal power is connected with the institution, in the year 1775, of the permanent council, whose 36 members were elected from the diet for the duration of two years; said council decreed by majority of votes; the king was entitled to only one vote, and one second, in the event of a tie. There was no major change in the organization of the offices at that time; the Grand Duchy of Lithuania continued to have its own offices. In the field of the judiciary, an advantageous reform was carried out in the year 1578, with the establishment of the court of the crown (in Lithuania in 1581), as the supreme court of appeal. This tribunal, which functioned in a stable way, was made up of noble and ecclesiastical deputies, the first elected by the Dietines, the second by the chapters. In the field of the judiciary, an advantageous reform was carried out in the year 1578, with the establishment of the court of the crown (in Lithuania in 1581), as the supreme court of appeal. This tribunal, which functioned in a stable way, was made up of noble and ecclesiastical deputies, the first elected by the Dietines, the second by the chapters. In the field of the judiciary, an advantageous reform was carried out in the year 1578, with the establishment of the court of the crown (in Lithuania in 1581), as the supreme court of appeal. This tribunal, which functioned in a stable way, was made up of noble and ecclesiastical deputies, the first elected by the Dietines, the second by the chapters.
These norms of the state body of the Polish republic were sanctioned in the cardinal laws of the years 1768 and 1775, guaranteed in turn in the treaties with Russia. This does not mean that they had already previously been the object of criticism by the political literature of the time. Reforms were called for (Stanislao Karwicki 1708, Stanislao Leszczyński 1733, Stanislao Konarski 1761-1764); after the first partition of Poland the criticism increased again (Stanislao Staszic, Ugo Kollataj). Finally, the so-called Four Years Diet (1788-1792) began to introduce reforms, definitively crowned by the promulgation of the constitution of May 3, 1791. Although English and especially French political thought (Montesquieu, Rousseau, Mably) had an influence on this reform, however, it arose above all from the knowledge of the defects of the current state organization. Contrary to what happened in France – where there was a tendency to limit the sovereign power – in Poland the power of the king was strengthened through the institution of his inheritance and through the attribution to the sovereign of the executive power; at the same time thearticulus de non praestanda oboedientia, and, following the English model, introduced the principle of non-responsibility of the sovereign, with the simultaneous responsibility of the countersigned ministers of the acts issued by the king. In the diets the liberum veto was abolishedand unanimity, replacing the latter with the recognition of the majority principle (absolute or relative). As for the conditions of the population, the constitution preserved the division of it into classes, but significantly improved the conditions of the bourgeoisie, which recognized the right to buy land, to hold some offices, as well as some civic rights. The rural population was placed under the protection of the law, thereby limiting, without abolishing it, the patrimonial power. The promulgation of the constitution, which guaranteed the strengthening of the state, accelerated the second partition of Poland (1793) and the new constitution, decreed under the pressure of Russia, went back to the ancient principles; however, it did not have time to fully enter into force, since, in 1795,