This volume provides a new interpretation of the social and cultural context that shaped German political reforms from the mid-eighteenth to the mid-nineteenth century. Focusing on Electoral Saxony, the analysis demonstrates how the commercial city of Leipzig shaped the Saxon Enlightenment and then had a powerful influence on reforming the territorial state. The study presents extensive archival research to develop a careful account of Leipzig's social and political history and then argues persuasively that the city played a catalytic role in the introduction of a Saxon constitutional monarchy after 1830. The volume emphasizes the role of pre-modern urban political and legal norms in shaping the first liberal reforms in nineteenth-century Germany.