How has life changed since 1800




PARTIAL DOCUMENT:




Peter Brandt
introduction

The political-social transformations in Germany at the turn of the 18th to the 19th century belonged to that European transformation process, which included the transition from one social formation, the feudal class, to a new one, the bourgeois-capitalist. This process was neither uniform nor simultaneous. In fact, depending on the specific conditions in the respective countries, it showed considerable differences, and not just in terms of speed.

When the title of this volume speaks of "modernity", reference is less to certain social-scientific theories that have arisen from the developmental analysis of the Third World and which have been partially adopted by historical science. Rather, we want to refer to the general direction of the accelerated social change in the "saddle time" between the middle of the 18th and the middle of the 19th century. It was only in view of the revolutionary changes around 1800 that the consciousness of a completely new era in relation to "old Europe" was able to develop, and the experience of advancing or lagging behind individual areas or social groups gave rise to a constant incentive for evaluative comparison and change. Social perceptions such as "people / nation", "freedom" and "revolution" acquired a modern meaning, so to speak, and approached our understanding today.

The contributions collected here relate to the last two decades of the 18th and the first two decades of the 19th century, especially the first ten to fifteen years after the turn of the century in Germany. What "Germany" meant around 1800 was less clear than our subtitle suggests. Unless it was used to denote only those areas of German-speaking Central Europe that neither belonged to the German and European great powers Austria and Prussia, nor non-German states were like Alsace to France, had become independent at an early stage like Switzerland, could “German-

land "(or" Teutschland ") refer both to the Old Reich, later the German Confederation, and - by no means unambiguously - to the (supposed) German language and cultural area. Austria, the Danube Monarchy, belonged in both cases with part of its territory. (In order to understand the changes in Austria, of course, the other, non-German parts also have to be looked at.) It was only Bismarck's "small German" unification of the empire of 1867/71 under Prussian leadership that excluded Austria from Germany politically and in the consciousness of contemporaries Even if a certain social and political special development of the Habsburg Monarchy can already be established for the period examined here. In any case, the ideas of what is to be understood by Germany and the German people were in flux around 1800, especially in the period between the dissolution of the Old Empire in 1806 and the establishment of the German Confederation in 1815.

1. Trends in economic development



Attempts have been made to describe the upheaval in Europe as a "double revolution", namely as a meeting of the economic-industrial and political-constitutional upheavals. One originated in Great Britain, where the island situation and world power politics, which are strongly oriented towards trade and export interests cooperated with the combination of exceptionally favorable economic, social, cultural and political conditions as well as a number of technical inventions and brought about the onset of industrialization as early as the last third of the 18th century; their breakthrough came forty to fifty years before even the relatively more advanced ones Continental European states such as Belgium, Switzerland, France and Germany, ie outside the period discussed here. But from the very beginning the "Industrial Revolution" influenced England as a model for innovations and as a superior trading partner in commercial mass production and competitor, entrepreneurial and economic policy activities on the continent, particularly in Germany. There the first mechanical cotton spinning mill was put into operation in 1784 in Ratingen near Düsseldorf.

In 1800 Germany lagged far behind England economically, but in the second half of the 18th century economic growth and social change also accelerated significantly in this country; they had been slowed down for a long time as a result of the denominational division, the fragmentation of territorial states, the extensive exclusion from world trade and, last but not least, the devastation of the Thirty Years' War. In contrast to the relative openness and permeability in the higher strata of English society, the class barriers in Germany remained in place, which were very difficult to overcome. Feudal agrarian structures, the artisan guild system and an anachronistic state constitution - the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation as a loose feudal association that barely offered any starting points for the development of a nation state - hampered the development of the new dynamic forces.

Since more than two thirds of the working population were wholly or predominantly active in agriculture and the vast majority of social wealth was generated in the agricultural sector, agricultural innovations of all kinds were of decisive importance. Without a revolution in the agricultural constitution and agricultural methods, a change in society as a whole would not be possible. This was true for the rented manor, where the conditions for the peasants were usually less oppressive, as well as for the East Elbe manor. In the intensification of agriculture, carried out on the Western European model and propagated by scientists and civil servants, the domain and land tenants in particular showed themselves to be progress-oriented, who were partly supported by a small but growing number of bourgeois landowners. However, the favorable earnings situation in view of the rising agricultural prices was only used by a small number of the self-employed noble landowners, as they dominated especially in eastern Germany, to switch to capitalist forms of appropriation; most of them endeavored to profit from the boom by increasing the feudal services and taxes, also by enlarging the aristocratic land. Even among the farmers, only a minority of larger owners with better rights and less burdens managed to make a significant profit, that again

could be invested. After deducting the "feudal quota", three quarters of the farmers did not retain enough income to make a significant contribution to the economy as producers or consumers. This was the main reason for their skepticism about all innovations.

By the end of the 18th century, the non-agricultural economic sectors were no longer restricted to cities, which had suffered a considerable loss of function in the early modern period. Its population consisted of the holders of civil rights, who as a rule formed a minority, from the mass of the "survivors" ("protective relatives") and from the growing group of the "exiled" or "private", which also included state officials and in many cases the merchants belonged. The decline of most of the old imperial cities was offset by the rise of some trading centers such as Hamburg, Frankfurt am Main and Leipzig, but above all the establishment and growth of the individual state residences. The residential cities formed centers of cultural and economic activity, including the bourgeoisie, which, however, was entirely geared towards the court and therefore, as a rule, could not develop any impetus to overcome feudalism. The majority of the industrial workers (around 1800, according to estimates, almost a quarter of the labor force) worked in the handicrafts, two thirds of them as self-employed masters. In terms of numbers, rural handicrafts, especially in the west and south, were already approaching urban handicrafts. In the cities the guilds saw themselves exposed to growing competition from "botchers" and free masters, but still retained a decisive influence on the local markets and thus functioned as a structurally conservative element.

In addition to foreign trade and trade between the German states, the already capitalist forms of operation of the manufactory and the publishing house expanded in the commercial sector, both technologically still at a craft level. The spread of mostly rural home work, carried out on behalf of a commercial "publisher", which increased sharply at the end of the 18th century, is today in some cases ascribed the significance of "proto-industrialization". The decisive factor was the production of bulk goods, especially textiles, for the anonymous supra-regional market, while the operationally centralized and already

Manufactures organized based on division of labor, founded on the basis of mercantilist-motivated concessions, mostly produced luxury goods. In addition, the first factories were built. In some commercial regions such as the Bergisches Land, the combination of favorable traffic conditions, commercial tradition, entrepreneurship and qualified workers indicated the possibility of independent industrialization. The transition to the "industrial revolution" for Germany, however, will not be possible before the 1830s or 1840s.

The preceding decades can be defined as the preparatory phase because the capitalization of agriculture, especially in Prussia, with the onset of the replacement on a larger scale, gained in intensity and speed, and because the commercial sector - with a very modest but increasing use of modern industrials Production methods - slowly expanded compared to the agrarian one. Even more important were the establishment of an adequate infrastructure and the economic and social reforms, which were pursued with varying degrees of emphasis from state to state, tending to dissolve the manorial-peasant relationship and eliminate the guild compulsion, which created the administrative conditions for the accelerated industrialization, which then in turn entailed further reform measures. The educational institutions, administration and the legal system, all of a high standard by international comparison, played a positive, albeit difficult to measure, role. Already improved in enlightened absolutism, they made up core areas of the reforms at the beginning of the 19th century.

2. The Napoleonic Revolution from without



The other, political branch of the "double revolution" mentioned had a direct impact on German conditions. Among the uprisings and overturnings of the late 18th century, which were quite different in form, content and social sponsorship, the North American independence and constitutional revolution (1775-1783 / 87 ) special attention. It was a novelty and acted like a detonator for the collapse of the old European world of states, where the meeting of different acute

ten crisis phenomena with the structural crisis of the Ancien Régime in France brought about the revolution there. If the internal economic, more precisely: industrialization-promoting importance of the French Revolution is judged with a decidedly skeptical scholarship, then the radical overcoming of the remnants of feudalism by creating a completely new legal and constitutional order as well as a new political culture is indisputable and undisputed - with all elements of continuity, which are to be recorded even in this case.

The world-historical rank of the French Revolution and its special significance for German history emerges, moreover, above all from its military expansion outwards, since the legislative national assembly had reacted to the restorative efforts of Austria and Prussia in particular with the declaration of war (April 20. 1792). In the interrelationship between domestic political radicalization and revolutionary wars, France, since the autumn of 1792 a republic, fought a first broad coalition of European states and counterrevolutionary uprisings at home. By 1815, France had to wage seven coalition wars, not counting the intervention and irregular wars that took place alongside it. The worldwide struggle with England continued with one interruption. In 1793, France saved itself through the introduction of general conscription ("levée en masse"), i.e. through the people's war against the mercenary armies of the invaders, and the dictatorial consolidation of all forces in the hands of the Jacobin-dominated welfare committee. and lower middle-class metropolitan population, this made terror his most important instrument of rule, which became more and more independent. The growing fear of death in one of the waves of executions that hit actual and supposed opponents, together with the end of the acute threat from outside, ensured In the summer of 1794, the "Thermidorians" conspiracy won a majority in the Convention for the overthrow and guillotination of the radical Jacobin leadership circle around Robespierre.

While the upper-class directorial regime in power from the middle of the 1790s was in power within the opposition of the royalists on the one hand, as well as the left Jacobins and early socialists

On the other hand, it was difficult to master the army with the help of the army, the policy of expanding France - and with it its new bourgeois order - by military means began in this period. The direct annexation of what would later become Belgium (1795) and the area on the left bank of the Rhine (1797/98) that belonged to the Reich was supplemented by the formation of subsidiary republics in the Netherlands (1794), Italy (1796/97) and Switzerland (1798). This policy of annexation and hegemony was continued and intensified in the first decade of the new century, with Napoleon as emperor (from 1804) deliberately placing family members and close confidants at the head of dependent principalities.

Napoleon Bonaparte occupied the imagination of his contemporaries immensely and brought about changes in Europe like hardly any other individual in modern history. The ingenious and politically ambitious general stood since the coup d'état of 9/10. November 1799 as the first consul at the head of the French Republic. He officially ended the revolution, specifically sought reconciliation with the old nobility and especially the noble emigrants and the Roman Church, but preserved the foundations of the new order, even after the establishment of the empire, and between 1804 and 1810 led the central legal modifications of the bourgeoisie Society one. In this respect, Napoleon was not only the conqueror but also the finisher of the revolution, and thus in a certain way remained its exponent vis-à-vis the representatives of old Europe.

In relation to Germany in particular, the influences on the part of France only now became the revolution from outside. After the emperor and the empire officially and finally ceded the left bank of the Rhine in 1801, an empire deputation was supposed to determine the contractual compensation for the deputies on the left bank of the Rhine. The main decision of the Imperial Deputation of 1803 resulted in a territorial overturning of the German map, the most important permanent elements of which were the secularization of all ecclesiastical rulers, the mediatization of the smaller and numerous smallest imperial estates and thus the emergence of centralized states in southern and southwestern Germany. In fact, this was tantamount to the destruction of the Old Kingdom and also led to its dissolution within three and a half years.

After Napoleon had crushed the armies of Austria (1805) and Prussia (1806/07) and had forced an extremely tough peace treaty on Prussia, the pressure to reform the German states became overwhelming, and in this extraordinary situation statesmen came into play who under other circumstances would not Had a chance, or at least wouldn't have been successful to the same extent. In Prussia, for example, the new leadership group had a profile that, alongside and in front of the bourgeois civil servants, was characterized by a considerable proportion of the nobility, but it was mostly foreigners (as in Stein, Hardenberg and Scharnhorst), new aristocrats (such as Humboldt and Boyen) and the bourgeoisie who have only now been ennobled (such as Gneisenau and Beyme).

Between 1807 and 1812, continental Europe, apart from the Ottoman Empire, was divided between Russia and France, which directly or indirectly controlled most of western, southern and central Europe. A kind of bourgeois military monarchy pressed the peoples of the dependent and allied states into armed service for the Grand Empire and tried to subordinate the trade and economic policies of the European governments strictly to the interests of France.England's rule over the seas and thus its global position remained unchallenged despite all of Napoleon's victories in the land war (two destruction of the French and Franco-Spanish fleets at Abukir in 1798 and Trafalgar in 1805); the attempt to eliminate another potential enemy with Russia and to include the Russian Empire in the continental bloc failed in 1812 and ushered in the end of the Napoleonic system of rule.

How the repressive and destructive aspects of Napoleon's hegemonic politics, which accompanied the emancipatory and constructive ones from the beginning, came more and more to the fore is shown by the emergence and development of the Rhine Confederation. The Rhine Confederation was founded in the summer of 1806 by sixteen imperial estates at the instigation and under the official protectorate of Napoleon, with the southern German central states forming the core; later practically all German states except Prussia and Austria joined the Rhine Confederation. The main content of the Rhine Confederation Act was the separation of the Old Kingdom and that which was carried out a short time later

"Emperor of the French" to be given political and military allegiance.

3. Civil change around 1800



How Germany would have developed without the onset of revolutionary and Napoleonic France is difficult to say. In fact, it was only the revolution from outside that dissolved the blockade of the necessary development leap by the state and social institutions. As we have already seen with regard to the economy, there was not only progressive potential, but also real progress. In addition, and in some cases more clearly noticeable, the movement was outside the economic sphere. One has rightly repeatedly pointed out the specific importance of the intelligentsia who predominantly worked in government services, the "educated classes" in the parlance of the time, for the mobilization of German society since the middle of the 18th century. To think of a pedagogically oriented reform movement of the Enlightenment; the attitude of protest, especially by dedicated representatives of bourgeois self-confidence since the Sturm und Drang, was a prerequisite for the Enlightenment.

Also constitutive for the German Enlightenment was the belief in the liberating power of human reason, the possibility of earthly happiness and the identity of reason and virtue. The "exit of man from his self-inflicted immaturity" (I. Kant) required, on the one hand, the willingness of individuals to reflect independently and, on the other hand, the discursive exchange of private opinions in public. Basically, the "citizen" of the Enlightenment was not only class, but also Defined across classes, but factually and sometimes even explicitly, it excluded the rural population, the urban lower classes and the petty bourgeoisie. The enlightened citizen should be both a "moral" and an "active" person who is oriented towards performance in working life and commitment to the "common good".

The dissolution of the bourgeois individual from class and corporate thought traditions significantly expanded the scope for subjective experience and autonomous, subjective action. The religious assurance needed to be supplemented by "morality",

whose importance for coping with everyday life was widely discussed by popular philosophers and "moral weekly papers" (whose specific weight, however, declined since the middle of the century). Consequently, child-rearing, which at the end of the 18th century was pursued with a hitherto unknown zeal, aimed at the Families of the new bourgeois classes increasingly rely on the internalization of the given norms, the formation of a "conscience". Even if the new model of the bourgeois nuclear family, characterized by the male / female activity differentiation and the emergence of an affectively charged and at the same time authoritarian-hierarchically structured family space, only gradually established itself, it was again the educated who first emerged from the The social form of the "whole house" began to dissolve.

For a long time, the German enlighteners placed their hopes on the insight of rulers who were supposedly also moved by the thoughts of the new era. They saw them as allies. The reform activities of enlightened absolutism, however, went back even more to the energetic commitment of senior officials than to the initiative of the sovereign. In any case, it required a modern, effectively working bureaucracy. This was all the more true of the reforming administrative state of the Napoleonic period. At least in the large and medium-sized states, the civil servants, while securing a patrimonial element in the loyalty to the ruler, developed traits of a "general class" (GFW Hegel) that transcended the class society. Achievement knowledge and probation through work as criteria for professional advancement favored them better educated and at least predominant bourgeoisie in the state apparatus around 1800. More than anywhere else in the bureaucracy, the representatives of the bourgeoisie and those of the nobility - who were often not ennobled until the 18th century and as a rule non-resident - came so close that they at least functionally formed a single management layer, the mode of operation and standard structure of which were essentially non-formal.

The rationalization of state affairs and the associated bourgeoisisation of the administrative staff required, in order to ultimately have an emancipatory effect, the development of a public

opportunity that didn't exist before. It was inextricably linked with the emergence of a German cultural nation (further development of the standard German language as opposed to the dialect-based folk culture and against the French-speaking aristocratic culture, development of national literature and national theater), the politicization of which then fell in the period around 1800.

It was mainly the comprehensive association movement through which the supernatural, increasingly national communication of the Enlightenment in the bosom of the feudal-absolutist order shaped the new bourgeois society. In the second half of the 18th century, in addition to the Masonic lodges, it was first the "Economic" and "Patriotic Societies" that sought practical improvements, then the "Reading Societies" that had sprung up from the ground since the 1770s The common acquisition of literature, which is often barely affordable even for representatives of the upper class, as well as the discussion of what had been read, mainly periodicals, non-fiction and reference works, less of fiction. The founding of reading societies was only a part of a more general process, including commercialization and the quantitative expansion of book production, the book trade and the newspaper and magazine system as well as the general change in reading behavior.In the early 19th century, further types of associations emerged in the agricultural, commercial, charitable, scientific and cultural fields; e socialized well into the petty bourgeoisie and began to produce regional and Germany-wide associations.

4. From contemplative revolutionary enthusiasm to building a new state through the reform bureaucracy



"Patriotism" was the key concept of the political self-image of the educated in the last third of the 18th century. This meant not only an attitude, but also an attitude of active attachment, which led to the desire for - whatever - freedom and civic welfare in the The patriotism could affect the closer homeland, the territorial state or the German cultural nation

or refer to the still existing Old Reich. Politically, it usually meant national patriotism with a simultaneously culturally national and distinctly cosmopolitan tendency. The emergence of political currents in Germany can be observed as early as 1770, which were essentially developed on the eve of the French Revolution.

Early liberalism, to which most of the political articulations of the educated can be attributed, was concerned with the autonomy of the individual, which was to be guaranteed through the creation of a sphere of secure and equal rights. The demand for "freedom" was directed, on the one hand, with increasing severity against the feudal privileges of the nobility and, on the other hand, increasingly against "prince arbitrariness", in particular against encroachments on the judiciary. If the goal of the constitutional state did not necessarily contradict the aspirations of enlightened absolutism, the debate aimed at constitutional reform of the monarchy, including the doctrine of Montesquieu (like Rousseau's among the radicals) and the English constitutional development, posed, even if it did not the intention was to indirectly call into question the agreement of the early liberals with the princes. Since in Germany the enlightenment from above - on the part of a number of rulers - and from below - on the part of the bourgeois public who support, press and, where necessary, criticize the governments - at the same time, it was believed that an irreversible development had started. One was convinced of the relative intellectual and political progressiveness of Germany in Europe and assumed a progressive automatic development which would only be disturbed by carelessness. This view also explains the initially overwhelmingly positive reception, right down to the ranks of the aristocracy, of the French Revolution, which was interpreted as a consequence and realization of the Enlightenment philosophy, while at the same time rejecting an overthrow of the state and social order in the German states. From Kant to Hegel and from Klopstock to Schiller, the great German intellectuals celebrated "Gaul's Freedom". A certain turning away from the French Revolution, if not from its liberal component, could, however, be registered as early as autumn 1790, since the September massacres in 1792 and 1792 the execution of Louis XVI in January 1793

the established intelligentsia declared almost unanimously against revolutionary France.

In contrast to the moderate liberals, the so-called "German Jacobins" were not deterred by the dictatorship of the welfare committee, even if they did not necessarily welcome it in all its aspects. They admitted themselves in all differentiations to popular sovereignty, to egalitarian democracy and to necessity The revolutionary action Although the educated bourgeoisie also predominated here, for the first time artisans and peasants belonged to the political clubs ("people's societies"), which in West Elbe Germany were by no means an entirely insignificant factor in terms of quantity. The republican wave in the young intelligentsia of the 1790s suggests that the affinity for revolutionary ideas was stronger among the non-established, socially unstable academics than among the educated bourgeoisie as a whole. The early Romantics felt drawn to the revolutionary activism that so repelled the moderate Enlightenmentists.

Overall, however, as a minority of the educated, the "German Jacobins" remained largely isolated from the broader strata of the people. proven above all in the Rhineland, Saxony and Silesia, but they were always localized and the revolutionaries mostly did not succeed in giving them a conscious political orientation.

In any case, the revolutionary wars from the beginning not only meant a chance to be asserted, but also a serious burden on the revolutionary-democratic current. First, the anti-Enlightenment course of restoration and repression, which had already started in some German states before 1789, intensified. Second, counter-revolutionary propaganda began to denounce the Jacobin bourgeois patriotism as well as enlightenment cosmopolitanism as "un-German," a slogan that found support in the objective fact that the German republicans were dependent on French support (although in fact they were dependent on the military authorities more and more disabled) and adopted their political models from France. Third, suffered in the

areas occupied by France, the simple population among the foreign troops, and traditionally oriented social groups such as the guild craftsmen clashed with some of the liberalizing and especially the anti-clerical measures.

But when the weak beginnings of a revolution dependent on France were strangled from below, the territorial reorganization began from above with the territorial reorganization of the Rhenish Bund and Prussian reforms, which - in different degrees - encompassed or were intended to encompass all areas of society. The focus in southern and western Germany was on the integration of large areas that had been acquired, and the enforcement of statehood in general; In Prussia, it was first about improving the state's efficiency in the face of the obligations arising from the defeat and the peace treaty. Despite the obvious continuities with enlightened absolutism, the reforms at the beginning of the 19th century represented a new quality: In contrast to the 18th century, they reached such an intensity, systematically related to one another, that they were largely free of the new, at the same time civic and market capitalist social order Prepared the way. They had a system-changing character.

The reforms not only created a modern government and administrative organization, made the bureaucracy the politically ruling class and, with the separation of the judiciary from the administration, also met an economic need for calculability. With different priorities and different successes, they shaped the traditional order in the areas of tax and customs legislation, the emancipation of Jews, local self-government, education, army organization, agriculture and trade.

Apart from the fact that the reform period in the west and south German states of the Rhine Confederation began earlier, it would hardly be possible to estimate the modernizing effect of the Rhine Confederation reforms to be consistently higher than the Prussian reforms. While the class privileges of the nobility in the Confederation of the Rhine were further abolished, Prussia went considerably further in the liberal-capitalist unleashing of the economy in the countryside and in the cities. The reception of Adam Smith's teachings, especially at Königsberg University, also had an impact.

The capitalist transformation of the Prussian landed property by means of the "peasant liberation" initiated in 1807/11, however, at the same time laid the foundation for the hegemony of the "Junkers" that extended into the 20th century, contrary to the intention of at least some of the reformers.

It has become clear that the intervention of the Napoleonic troops set the great reform movement in Germany in motion from 1800 to 1820; But the leading politicians now also in the most important states of the Rhine Confederation operated with completely independent concepts and based on independent methods, which resulted from the above-described conditions of the years around 1800. The reforms stood in an irresolvable, almost paradoxical contradiction: on the one hand, the pressure exerted by the international state system, specifically: France, but also internal
Social crisis phenomena such as the anachronism of the imperial constitution, the disproportionate increase in mass poverty to population growth and the threatened exhaustion of energy reserves due to increasing shortages of wood required state reorganization and social restructuring; in order to meet the needs of the progressive, anti-class forces, reforms should have cut even deeper. On the other hand, the number and relative weight of these social groups, the educated bourgeoisie and the economic bourgeoisie, were not large enough to support and drive the determined reformers forward. In the end, the nobility retained considerable, and even dominant, influence for a long time, even if, as a feudal class, they no longer had any prospects. From now on, the state or the individual states took more and more into account the requirements of capitalism and civil society, but dominated civil society precisely when it came to shaping innovations. The administrative, constitutional and, increasingly, constitutional state remained at the same time the authoritarian state, and that was a legacy of the reform era after 1800 even more than of absolutism, which does not mean that there were not multiple opportunities to change this basic pattern of modern German history, so for example in the revolution of 1848/49.

* * *

The contributions gathered in this volume deal on the one hand with the processes in the state sphere and on the other hand - in their wake - the emergence of political ideas and activities in society, specifically: in the new bourgeoisie.This accentuation is not arbitrary, because the turn from the 18th to the 19th century was not such a drastic turning point for the basic economic and social processes mentioned above.

For this reason, questions of economic and social policy are included in Jörg Engelbrecht's broad overview, but mainly taken up from the point of view of the state's reorganizing interventions in non-state areas. In line with recent research and contrary to the Borussian tradition of historiography in Germany, Engelbrecht particularly praises the reform work in the Rhineland annexed by France and in the states of the Rhine Confederation that are differently closely associated with the Empire; The restrictive conditions under which the reform bureaucracy worked to achieve its goals and the burdens that resulted from this - partly inevitably and intentionally, partly accidentally and unintentionally - also become clear.

Compared to Engelbrecht's article, Arthur Schlegelmilch's contribution is characterized by a thematically restricted question. He examines the beginnings of the constitutional state in Germany up to around 1820, when the first wave of the Constitutionalization (which did not yet mean parliamentarization) broke out on the offensive of the counter-revolutionary-counter-reformist forces led by Metternich. Under Joseph II, the Danube Monarchy experienced the most radical variant of enlightened absolutism; Josephinism and Leopold's government in Tuscany can be considered a historical experiment for its progressive potential. Their assessment depends, among other things, on how important the Rhenish-Prussian reforms of the early 19th century are to be assessed. Schlegelmilch is not concerned with the traditional history of constitutional law, but with the systematic comparison of constitutional realities.

My essay on Germany's anti-Napoleonic wars of liberation in 1813/14 and 1815 picks up on a topic that has been dealt with extensively by traditional historiography until the last post-war period and that has also attracted a lot of attention in the GDR. In the course of the (overdue) social history expansion of West German historical studies since the 1960s and 1970s, the great importance of the Wars of Liberation - both in terms of their objective, factual relevance and in terms of their use as a central (and controversial) national historical myth of the subsequent period - became all too strong relativized. I would like to overcome the earlier oppositions of revolution and reform, of the Confederation of the Rhine and Prussia, of "French rule" and "German uprising", which were ultimately taken over from the front positions of contemporaries, and to place the wars of liberation in the larger context of the innovative content of the Napoleonic and early post-Napoleonic periods . Last but not least, this includes the question of their share in community-German nation-building. The liberation movement of 1813, with all its contradicting manifestations, was certainly a reaction to Napoleon and French supremacy, but in a dialectical sense: unlike in the 1790s, the main response to the revolutionary establishment of the bourgeois nation and a new war culture in France was no longer looking backwards, but with its own, novel concepts, which the French model was often difficult to hide.

The following two case studies are intended to illustrate the politicization of at least considerable parts of the German population around and after 1800, especially from 1813 onwards. Mahmoud Kandil's essay shows how the imperial and military-expansive characteristics of the Napoleonic system permanently injured the immediate vital interests of broad strata of the people and also did not allow the free discourse of the educated any more than "despotism" of the old type. The resistance against the Grand Duchy administered on behalf of Napoleon Kandil rightly assigns Berg to the social protest and not to the emerging national movement, even if that de facto contributed to the weakening and - in the autumn of 1813 - to the dissolution of French rule. Kandil's study provides a vivid example of how

how we, in relation to this time, have to imagine the collective self-activity of "popular masses".

In the Prussian part of the Grand Duchy of Berg before 1806 (and again after 1813), in the Grafschaft Mark, one of the "patriotic" newspaper and magazine projects that Peter Brandt is investigating was located with the "Hermann". Notwithstanding the limited originality of most of the articles, the content of "Hermann" in all its diversity illustrates the political and social thinking of a regional bourgeois elite between liberation and restoration. The debates held in "Hermann" were part of a political mobilization in society, the but went much further than was long assumed. The thesis that one can certainly speak of the first stage of a national and constitutional movement for the second decade of the 19th century gains plausibility when phenomena such as the expansion of the press and associations in general with the southwest German community liberalism and the beginnings of organized social nationalism are related.

Finally, a contribution has been included that investigates the phenomenon of the creation of political meaning through the formation of myths, which is characteristic of the "Spirit of 1813". Using the example of Queen Luise of Prussia, who has been transfigured into a figure of light, Patricia Drewes analyzes how the legend was shaped by the conditions in which it was created and how it was transformed predominantly bourgeois-reformist-oriented to a predominantly royalist-conservative myth in the later course of the 19th century. Ms. Drewes' remarks give us access to the deeper layers of the political mentality of the bourgeoisie at the beginning of the 19th century The ruling house was determined by relatively modern models.

Finally, I would like to thank the other contributors who wrote their essays especially for this issue, Stephanie Berggötz for help with the editorial and technical preparation of the print templates, and Dieter Dowe and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation for including this collection in the series.


© Friedrich Ebert Foundation | technical support | net edition fes-library | March 2000