The death of King William IV on June 20, 1837 had a great impact on Hanover's political positioning, relations, and union with the group of constitutional states in the German Confederation. With William's death, the personal union between Hanover and the United Kingdom ended, and William's brother (Ernest Augustus) took over as ruler of the kingdom of Hanover. Augustus' niece Victoria acceded to the throne of the United Kingdom, but could not inherit Hanover due to the Salic Law in force in Hanover, which barred females from ruling.
About one month after he succeeded to the throne, King Ernst addressed the matter of the Constitution. He stated that he was not bound by it, as his consent had not been asked to it. He also indicated that it would have been different, or perhaps even non-existent, had he been in power at the time of its composition. He declared that it was his aim and ambition to make the necessary changes to the constitution and rewrite it to reflect his values.
Hearing this, Dahlmann, made an attempt to persuade his colleagues at the University of Göttingen senate to disapprove of the king's intent to change the constitution, and take some form of action. None of his over 40 different colleagues were willing to support Dahlmann's view and possibly cause public confliction or unrest during ongoing festivities of the 100 year anniversary of the Georg-August University of Göttingen.
The protest's impact forced the king to take action, and the seven defiant professors were questioned before the university court on December 4. Ten days later, the seven were relieved of their posts at the university, and two of them, the Brothers Grimm, were given three days to leave the country. The university recalled the dismissal as a great loss to the university; confirmed in writings about the event during the time.
While the actual, direct effects of the protest were limited, public sensation and media interest that occurred in Germany and much of Europe was high, and the seven were popular among the general public. While each of the seven had their own personal reasons for defying the king, the fact that they had done so was the central catalyst for the media and public attention. The efforts of the Göttingen Seven outlived each of them, and the impact they caused on German politics at large can be, in some part, attributed to the creation of a liberal republic in Germany.