The Polish Democratic Society (Towarzystwo Demokratyczne Polskie, TDP), which announced the Poitiers Manifesto, was one of the most important political organizations of the Polish émigré community. It was made up mostly of November insurgents who left the country to escape repressions after the uprising’s fall in 1831.
The TDP was a radically democratic and republican organization. Its platform called for fighting for independence by means of staging another uprising on Polish territories. The main force was to be peasants, incited to fight with slogans promising radical social reforms, predominantly their being granted the land they cultivated. An introduction to the uprising was to the peasants’ enlightenment through revolutionary ideals, which was to be achieved by TDP emissaries sent to Poland. At the same time the TDP blamed the nobility for the fall of the uprisings staged so far. In the democrats’ opinion, that social stratum’s aversion to reforms and weakening its own position was the reason why peasants did not feel a connection to the Polish cause. Consequently, the insurgents always remained in the minority, unable to form an army capable of defeating the partitioners.
The Poitiers Manifesto, announced in December 1836, is an expression of the above ideas. It is noteworthy that in line with the liberal and democratic ideas as well as Joachim Lelewel’s historical ideas — who was one of the most eminent TDP members — the Manifesto acknowledges all individuals’ inherent freedom and equality. It emphasizes the indispensability of the equality of all people living in the future Commonwealth and at the same time the inherency of the democratic political system, which feudalism had deprived people of.
Among TDP members were many eminent émigrés, who aimed at starting another uprising on the Polish lands. It is enough to say that all three members of the National Government, which was established in 1846 within the framework of the Cracow uprising, had ties with the TDP and the underground it organized.