The republic of Switzerland, formerly a league of semi-independent states, or ‘Staatcnbund,’ has become a united confederacy, or ‘Bundesstaat,’ since the year 1848. The present constitution, based on fundamental laws passed in 1848, came into force May 29, 1874, having received the national sanction by a general vote of the people, given April 19, 1874. It vests the supreme legislative and executive authority in a parliament of two chambers, a ‘Standerath,’ or State Council, and a ‘Nationalrath,’ or National Council. The first is composed of forty-four members, chosen by the twenty-two cantons of the Confederation, two for each canton. The ‘Nationalrath’ consists of 135 representatives of the Swiss people, chosen in direct election, at the rate of one deputy for every 20,000 souls.
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