The May 3rd Constitution introduced political equality between townspeople and nobility (szlachta) and placed the peasants under the protection of the government, thus mitigating the worst abuses of serfdom. The Constitution abolished pernicious parliamentary institutions such as the liberum veto, which at one time had put the Sejm at the mercy of any deputy who might choose, or be bribed by an interest or foreign power, to undo the legislation adopted by that Sejm. The Constitution sought to supplant the existing anarchy fostered by some of the country's magnates with a more democratic constitutional monarchy.
The adoption of the May 3rd Constitution met with hostile political and military responses from the Commonwealth's neighbors. In the War in Defense of the Constitution, the Commonwealth's ally Prussia, under Frederick William II, broke its alliance with the Commonwealth, and the Commonwealth was defeated by Catherine the Great's Imperial Russia allied with the Targowica Confederation, a coalition of Polish magnates and landless nobility who opposed reforms that might weaken their influence.
Despite the Commonwealth's defeat and the ensuing Second Partition of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth (1793), the May 3rd Constitution remained, after the subsequent 1795 demise of the "Republic [or 'Commonwealth'] of the Two Nations", over the next 123 years of Polish partitions, a beacon in the struggle to restore Polish sovereignty. (More at Wiki)
May Third Constitution
The Constitution of May Third 1791 painting by Jan Matejko (1838-1893)
April 25, 2012: Secretary Clinton attended a reception in honor of Poland’s National Day, at the Polish Ambassador’s residence. To view the video and read the complete text of Secretary Clinton's remarks, CLICK HERE.
The May 3rd Constitution was not universally supported by Poland's nobility and was viewed as a threat by many of Poland's neighbors.
"Push Not the River" is a well-written historical romance with all the elements of love, scheming, violence, irony, and tragedy usually associated with this literary genre. It also gives vivid descriptions of the customs, culture and traditions of both the rich and poor of Poland during these turbulent times.
Portret Stanisława Augusta Poniatowskiego w stroju koronacyjnym.
Portrait of Stanislaus Augustus Poniatowski (in coronation robes) the last King and Grand Duke of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (1764–95)
Spektakl patriotyczny pt. "Wstań Polsko Moja" Strachocina 3 maja 2012 r.
3 Maj w Krakowie
Na zblizajaca sie 222 rocznice uchwalenia Konstytucji 3 Maja krotki filmik z pieknych obchodow tego narodowego swieta w Krakowie.