1)Explaining Holy Roman Empire in terms of comparing to US. - Pt I, 2 a) Part II, more on Guilds than on Holy Roman Empire, 2 b) Guilds and Distributism, Defined, Defended, 2 c) What Did Social Aid Look like in the Middle Ages? (Link, Quotes and Comment) Or was it sth else?, 3) Holy Roman Empire explained for US, but we are heading back for Rome now, Pt III
No Chicago in Holy Roman Empire.
One thing is for sure, you can rule Chicago out. In 1806 Napoleon ended the traditional form of the HRE of Germanic nation. Austrian Empire is one immediate legitimate successor state, German Union was pretty soon another, but changes were made. HRE of Germanic Nation properly known so in history was the era between Charlemagne and 1806. And in Germany that was before the Industrial Revolution. A city where bulls arrive from all over the place on trainloads, and leave as corned beef in Tin Cans every day to all over the world was basically unthinkable in HRE.
More than one Washington D.C.
But there is another big difference between Chicago and a city that was Reichsunmittelbar - which nearly all important and many less important cities were. Chicago is local authorities in the sense it is a local department of Illinois which is a state of US. Whether or not Illinois can be considered a sovereign state is beside the point, it has at least a legislature, and therefore a legislation other than neighbouring states. So had Lubeck. So had Cologne or Francfurt. They had a status like the one City State of US: Washington DC. It is not part of a State but directly under the Union. The phrase word Reichsunmittelbar means "directly under the empire" or "directly under the realm".(Translated as Imperial Immediacy).
Magdeburg and Lübeck
Magdeburg long had this status too, but lost it. Before that, the Constitution of Magdeburg - Magdeburger Stadtrechte - was model for city states all over the North East, outside the Empire, where German cities connected to mission were protected, originally, against Pagan sackers and captive hunters (for slavery or some places even human sacrifice) by Ensiferi and Teutonic Knights (Riga was at one time sacked by them - when they were in conflict with its Archbishop and the Pope and posing obstacles to the baptism of Gedimynas of Lithuania). For Hanseatic league, it is more often the Constitution of Lübeck - Lübsches Recht - that stands model. And Riga, Reval and Memel, though in the land of the Teutonic and Ensifer Orders followed Lübsches Recht.
I think this means you see a certain point about calling "local authorities" in Lübeck or Cologne or Nuremberg (Munich was not Reichsunmittelbar, but under Duchy of Bavaria) "local authorities": in US this gets you another notion than back then and there.
States developing out of states.
The United States also has states like Virginia or Kentucky and Tennessee or Maryland. Now, Kentucky and West Virginia were originally parts of Province of Virginia, Tennessee of North Carolina. Similarily, both Palatinate and Austria were originally parts of Bavaria, and Savoy of Burgundian Kingdom which came to the HRE in 1032. When Dauphiné of this Kingdom came under France in 1349, Emperor Karl IV made the Savoy Reichsunmittelbar in 1361, and its Count was named Reichsvikar for the old Burgundian territory - a kind of steward for the Kings of Germany/Roman Emperors between death of one and lection of next over all of the Kingdom of Arelate (such stewards were only over large territories, not over the Empire as a whole), even if the loss of Dauphiné restricted the practical authority to Savoy, and some added counties like Geneva county excepting the city (1401) and Nice County including the city (1388). The relations between France and Germany in the Middle Ages and up to Louis XIV even further over three wars started or backed by Germans no longer in the old Empire (1870, when Bismarck tricked his Prussian King into a war by forging the contents of a telegram, 1914, when Berlin flouted Belgian neutrality, possibly 1939 if the Polish soldiers attacking Danzig were really Germans in disguise, but even if not, Hitler had shown bad faith in Austria and Bohemia in 1938) - these German French Relations were a bit like the differends between US and Mexico over 19th C. Florida, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California la Alta ... but Alsace/Elsass and Lorraine/Lothringen changed hands more than once. Over centuries one or other of the two could not keep the upper hand permanently.
Bavaria, Palatinate, Austria
The Duke of Bavaria - very early a Wittenberg - was an elector, one of the men entitled to chose a new King of Germany and Roman Emperor at the death of previous one: but at Reformation a part called Palatinate (Pfalz) was divided from it and became a Protestant elector, also of Wittenberg family. The Palatinate counts gave rise to two royal families: the Pfalz dynasty in Sweden with Charles X Gustavus (who beat the Poles and the Polish Wasas renounced their claim to the Swedish throne, plus lands previously under Ensifer order taken by Wasas), his son Charles XI, his grandchildren Charles XII (our last great warrior king, except Charles XIV John, a k a Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte, but he succeeded an usurper)and reigning queen Ulrika Eleonora whose husband Frederick I have occasion to the quip about the Swedish clock moving from 12 to 1; and their relatives who reconverted to Catholicism when becoming Dukes, later, after 1806 Kings of Bavaria.
Another county had been cut off Bavaria much earlier, when Magyars were still heathen, the Ostmark, which later was raised to a status of Duchy of Austria - not all of today's Austria but Vienna with surrounding Nether Austria and neighbouring Upper Austria. Its best rulers were perhaps the Babenbergs - mostly called Leopold, one of which was a saint, after them came the King of Bohemia, and when he rebelled about not being elected when a poor count of Habsburg was, this Habsburg who was a very pious man and had never dreamt about being elected got both Bohemia and Austria as damages for rebellion of Ottokar.
Bohemia and Hawaii
There is a striking feature of the HRE that one could have a position in it and at same time rule people outside it. But the Kingdom of Bohemia was not a real example of this. Back in the Tenth Century both Bohemia and Moravia though already existing as states, applied for membership so to speak. That is, like Hawaii for the US, their rulers submitted to the larger state that spoke another and larger language and were incorporated. This did not mean, in either case that the old language was abandnoned, but in both cases the larger language was imported. There were German speakers in Prague and Sudeten from Tenth Century to the Twentieth. How is that for fairness in Woodrow Wilson, who supported Czech nationalists who said only Czech must be spoken there? Hitler may have been a jerk for upsetting the peace of Woodrow Wilson, and he certainly was breaking promises made to the allies when he did so. But the situation of these Germans makes it understandable that some looked at Hitler as a hero in 1938. Imagine Hawaian nationalists claiming to expel everyone from Hawaii who speaks no Hawaian and confiscate his property? Or Welsh nationalists wanting to expel all whose mother tongue is English, unless they learn Welsh? That is about the absurdity these men were submitted to. Not because all Czechs are jerks, not because U S Americans voting for Woodrow Wilson were jerks, but Woodrow Wilson himself was a jerk. He was a freemason. And his citizens knew too little of Europe to protest against it. I do sympathise with Americans who do not want to make as bad a show with the Muslims, but when I read an American writing about Sarah Palin - who has at least decent family values and is decent in US matters where US will be setting an example one way or the other - that she knows nothing about Foreign Policy who thereupon implies he knows sufficiently about European History between Wilson and Franco to sum up all fascists in this or that fad Mussolini embraced for some while, I feel knowing little about Old Continents is pretty endemic in US. I will return to this, when asking why HRE and later Austrian Empires were wiped off the map.
Constitution of member states monarchic in HRE
Typically, unlike US, member states so to speak of the HRE were hereditary monarchies. Republics typically were city-states as the Reichsunmittelbare Städte we started this discussion with.
Other states typically were Duchies, Counties, and in one case one Kingdom, Bohemia. Bavaria and Saxony only became Kingdoms after 1806. Prussia was a self-proclaimed Kingdom but outside borders of HRE. As Hungaria for the other great dynasty, for the Habsburgs: but Hungary got its royal status from a Pope giving it to St Stephen. And counties were more like states than like shires. Difference between a duchy and a county? When summoned to war, the army of a duchy was led by a duke, roughly corresponding to a general, but the army of a county by a count (graf), roughly equivalent to a vice-general.
Rural republics featuring Secession: Switzerland, CSA
So, what about rural Republics? Yes, there were. Obwalden, Nidwalden, Uri and Schwyz were such. But none of them were Reichsunmittelbar. They were under Habsburgs, and if the Habsburg in Vienna was no bad guy, his representative over there, a certain Gessler was. William Tell led a rising against him after he had toyed around too much with his Christian conscience. These four Waldstätte - literally forest shires, thus smaller than what counties were in HRE - were the first secessionist states of what in 1648 became Confederatio Helvetica. Yes, the CSA in relation to the Union was a blueprint of Switzerland in relation to the Empire. Except that CSA was beaten, CF was not. Actually these very four cantons were to secede once again in 1847, attempting not full sovereignty but more autonomy than CF Protestant anticlericals in Bern and Zurich wanted to allow them. The Sonderbund of 1847 failed. I was discussing HRE yestarday with a man who claimed monarchy was mostly corrupt - among other things he said most Kings in OT were idolaters or tolerant of Idolatry, which was true enough or Jeroboam, Ahab, Jehu and others in the North Kingdom, but false in the Kingdom of Judah, where only three Kings were bad enough not to figure on the kosher version of Our Lord's genealogy (the one in Saint Matthew, according to principle "unjust ancestor does not count as ancestor"). He also asked whether "accountability to the people" existed there. Obviously the people of Schwyz, Uri, Obwalden and Nidwalden could demand more accountability from the power when William Tell rose against Gessler in full HRE, than when Sonderbund of 1847 failed to rise against anticlericals in central government of Bern, Confederatio Helvetica. And as obviously the lessened real accountability to the people had something to do with Bern Government having better arms than Gessler had. As to formalised "non-violent accountability to the people", as on same discussion I said, has not saved people from school compulsion, from psychiatry, from abortion and contraception funded by the fisc, or - as the example of 1847 shows - from anticlerical outbreaks of persecution against Jesuits and Franciscans.
Did rural republics exist elsewhere? Depends a bit on what era and what level. Under Charlemagne all Empire - France too - was divided into Counties led by Counts nominated by the Emperor, but under the counts you had rural republics comprising all free-men. Know what, here is another parallel: under Charlemagne and under George Washington there were slaves. Under Franz 1806 there were no longer slaves nor are there under present administration of US. Unless you count the victims of Child Welfare, of Psychiatry, of School Compulsion, or the employees of Industrial Corporations. Which were non-extant under Emperor Franz in 1806.
Know what - this is long, I will try to publish this as the first part. A second part will be quotes from a discussion./HGL
PS: And yes, one reason for breaking off is that I am as yet not sure of extent how much the rural republics under Charlemagne survived outside the Waldstätte/wood cantons.