Familia (political party)

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This article is about the Polish political party. For other uses, see Familia (disambiguation).

Familia ("The Family", from Latin familia) was the name of a Polish political party led by the House of Czartoryski and families allied with them, and formed toward the end of the reign of King August II the Strong (reigned 1697–1706, 1709–1733). The Familia's principal leaders were Michał Fryderyk Czartoryski, Great Chancellor of Lithuania, his brother August Aleksander Czartoryski, voivode of Ruthenia (Rus), and their brother-in-law (from 1720), Stanisław Poniatowski, Castellan of Kraków.

During the 1733 interregnum, the Familia supported Stanisław Leszczyński for king, then reconciled with August III (reigned 1733–1763) and became a party of the royal court. Following unsuccessful attempts at reforming the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth undertaken at sejms between 1744 and 1750, the Familia distanced itself from the royal court. In foreign affairs, they represented a pro-Russian orientation.

During the 1763–1764 interregnum, armed Russian intervention allowed the Familia to overcome their opponents. When in 1764 Adam Kazimierz Czartoryski declined to seek the throne, the Czartoryskis agreed to the election, as king, of their kinsman, Stanisław August Poniatowski, one-time lover of Russian Empress Catherine II (the Great). In this period the Familia partially enacted their program of reforms, including the creation of treasury and military commissions limiting the power of treasurers and hetmans. Also, the liberum veto was suspended. Further reforms, however, were blocked by Russia and Prussia; and conservative opponents of the Familia and the King, backed by Russia's Catherine II, in 1767 formed the Radom Confederation and at the infamous Repnin Sejm abolished part of the recently introduced reforms.

After the First Partition of Poland (February 17, 1772), the Familia became the core of magnate opposition to the King and the Permanent Council, while seeking support in Austria, only to shift in 1788 to a pro-Prussian stance. At the Four-Year Sejm (1788–1792), it was only in 1790 that Familia representatives, including Ignacy Potocki, effected a rapprochement with the King and his party, and together with him and the Patriotic Party worked for enactment of the May 3rd Constitution adopted in 1791.

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