Austria was at first the most powerful state within the Confederation, though Prussia, Bavaria, Hanover, Hesse and Saxony also had significant influence. Initially the Confederation was under the presidency of the Emperor of Austria, but after 1845 said presidency rotated among the heads of state of these lesser powers. Austria withdrew from the Confederation in 1848 after refusing to sign the Treaty of Union, which would have forced it to separate from its Hungarian and Bohemian possessions, but remained influential in German politics.
As per the terms of the Treaty of Union, in 1849 King Ludwig I of Bavaria was elected Emperor of Germany as a constitutional monarch. For events following this, see the history of the German Empire .