Union with the Crown in home policy of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania before the 1569 Parliament in Lublin
The propagated thesis about deliberate and active support of the Union draft by the nobility of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania does not quite accord with the facts. In reality the GDL’s nobility supported only the idea of moderate union, in which the Duchy would retain domestic autonomy. This support was of passive character since the nobility was not a self–dependent and properly organized political force. The political initiative came from the Lord and his Rada (Council). The Rada nobles did not conflict with idea of carrying out home reforms in the state to establish true “noble’s democracy”. This viewpoint was in accordance with political interests of the nobility. With such an approach in the idea of close Union with Poland for “golden nobles’ freedoms” was pointless. The Rada had nothing against the integration with Poland on the principles of joint economic power and indivisible foreign policy. That was necessary to wage an efficient campaign against Muscovy. But Rada’s nobles positively stood for retaining the free Parliament of the GDL in the state–legal structure of the Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth as the main basis for the Duchy’s self–dependency.
The idea of tempered union with Poland to solve military–defendant problems was supported both by the GDL’s magnates and the nobility. Radical propositions of the Poles to incorporate the GDL into Poland did not disaccord with state interests. However, the Radzivil’s policy directed on retarding the time and constant postponing the negotiation on the Union was appreciated neither by the nobility nor by part of magnate elite.
Grand Duke Žyhimont Aŭhust played the key role in signing the Union of Lublin. Since 1562 he had been consecutively aspiring to the realization of that act. Depending on political situation in Poland and the GDL, he was disposed to compromise solutions and was seeking for public support for the Union. In 1567 he summoned the noble’s levy of the GDL, holding a sort of “nobles’ referendum” .The nobles appreciated the idea of convocation of the joint Polish–Lithuanian Parliament to solve the problem of the Union. The latter was successfully realized in Lublin in 1569.