Wahlinstrumente für die Besetzung der Basler Staats-, Universitäts- und Zunftämter nach der Ballotierordnung von 1688
Wahlinstrumente für die Besetzung der Basler Staats-, Universitäts- und Zunftämter nach der Ballotierordnung von 1688

Paraphernalia used in Basle for the election of city, university and guild officials in accordance with the Ballot Order of 1688 (amended 1718 and 1740)

Basle, 17th/18th century
Box: walnut; balls: ivory, ebony and silver
bags: leather and cloth
height of box 20.4 cm, length 26.1 cm, depth 26 cm
Inv. 1880.103.

Resolution:
4418px x 3272px
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In 1691 the people of Basle rose up in an attempt to break the power of the oligarchy of council families. The so called 'Einundneunzigerwesen' (events of '91) was the only political revolution in a Swiss city state in the period of the Ancien régime to have been at least partially successful. The domination of a clique of a few families - furthered by electoral bribery and nepotism - was curtailed. The power exercised by the inner council ('Kleiner Rat') was reduced and that of the great council ('Grosser Rat') extended so that henceforward the latter had the ultimate say in government. The complicated electoral system introduced in 1688, supplemented in 1718 and refined in 1740 was a product of this wider political context. The so called ballot of 1688 - votes were cast secretly using balls - was intended to prevent the use of undue influence and bribes. As there was even more corruption under this electoral system than before, the 'Losordnung' was introduced in 1718. This brought in a very complicated system for choosing by lot between three candidates; in 1740 the number of possible nominees was enlarged to six.

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