These changes and differences are only inexplicable, to those who will not see the ethnographical miracles taking place un- der their noses. The fishermen and tillers of the soil in the Scandi- navian peninsula, afterward the settlers in the Saxon plain and in England, recognized him who ruled over their settled place of abode as king; while roam- ing bands of fighting men would naturally attach themselves to the head of the tribe, as the leader in war, and recognize him as king.
As late as the death of Charlemagne, when his powerful grip re- laxed, the tribes of Germans, for they were little more even then, fell apart again. The monarchy grew out of the weakening of feudalism, and feudalism had been the gradual setting, in law and custom, of a way of living together, of these detached tribes and clans, and their chiefs.
A powerful warrior was rewarded with a horse, a spear ; later, when territory was conquered and the tribe settled down, land was given as a reward. Land, however, does not die like a horse, or wear out and get broken like a spear, and the problem arises after the death of the owner, as to who is his rightful heir. Does it revert to the giver, the chief of the tribe, or does it go to the children of the owner?
He becomes a duke, a dux or leader, a count, a margrave, a baron, and a few such power- ful men stand by one another against the king. Out of these conditions grow limited monarchies or absolute monarchies and na- tional nobilities. More than any other one factor, the Crusades broke up feudalism. The great noble, impelled by a sense of religious duty, or by a love of adventure, arms himself and his followers, and starts on years of joumeyings to the Holy Land. Ready money is needed above all else.
Lands are mortgaged, and the money-lender and the merchant buy lands, houses, and eventually power, and buy them cheap. The returning nobles find their affairs in disarray, their fields cultivated by new owners, towns and cities grow up that are as strong or stronger than the castle. Before the Crusades no roturier, or mere tiller of the soil, could hold a fief, but the demand for money was so great that fiefs were bought and sold, and Philippe Auguste solved the prob- lem by a law, declaring that when the king invested a man with a sufficient holding of land or fief, he became ipso facto a noble.
There can be no aris- tocracy except of the powerful, which lasts. The Crusades brought about as great a shifting of the balance of power, as did later the rise of the rich merchants, industrials, and nabobs in England. As the power of the nobles decreased, the central power or the power of the kings increased; increased indeed, and lasted, down to the greatest crusade of all, when democracy organized itself, and marched to the redemption of the rights of man as man, with- out regard to his previous condition of servitude. During the thousand years between the time when we first hear of the German tribes, in B.
C, and the year 1, which marks the beginnings of what is now the Prussian monarchy, customs were be- coming habits, and habits were becoming laws, and the political and social origins of the life of our day were being beaten into shape, by the exigencies of living together of these tribes in the woods of Ger- many. There it was that the essence of democracy was distilled. Democracy, Demos, the crowd, the people, the nation, were already, in the woods of Germany, the court of last resort.
They growled dissent, and they gave assent with the brandishing of their weapons, javelins, or ballots. The chief aim of their organized government, such as it was, seems to have been to leave themselves free to go about their private business, with as little interference from the demands of public business as possible. The chief concern of each one was to se- cure his right to mind his own business, under cer- tain safeguards provided by all. If those delegated to govern became autocratic, or evil-doers, or used their power for self-advancement or self-enrich- ment, they were speedily brought to book.
The philosophy of government, then, was to make men free to go about their private business. That the time might come when politics would be the ab- sorbing business of all, dictating the hours and wages of men under the earth, and reaching up to the in- stitution of a recall for the angel Gabriel, and a referendum for the Day of Judgment, was un- dreamed of. The chiefs of the clans, the chiefs of the tribes, the kings of the Germans, and finally the emperors were all elective.
The divine right of kings is a purely modem development. These hereditary mayors of the palace drifted into ever greater and greater control, until they became hereditary kings. The title was only hereditary, however, because it was convenient that one man of experience in an office should be succeeded by an- other educated to, and familiar with, the same ex- periences and duties, and this system of heredity continues down to this day in business, and in many professions, and so long as there is freedom to oust the incompetent, it is a good system.
There can never be any real progress until the sons take over the accumulated wisdom and experience of the fathers; if this is not done, then each one must begin for himself all over again.
The hereditary principle is sound enough, so long as there is freedom of de- capitation in cases of tyranny or folly. There has continued all through the history of those of the blood of the German tribes, whether in Germany, England, America, Norway, Sweden, or Denmark, the sound doctrine that ability may at any time take the place of the rights of birth.
Power, or command, or leadership by heredity is looked upon as a convenience, not as an unimpeachable 'right. He did for the first time for Europe what Akbar did in his day for India. In forty-five years he headed fifty-three campaigns against all sorts of enemies. He was a student, an architect, a bridge-builder, though he could neither read nor write, and even began a canal which was to connect the Danube and the Rhine, and thus the German Ocean, with the Black Sea.
He is one of many moniunents to the futility of technical education and mere book-learning. The Pope, roughly handled, because negligently protected, by the Roman emperors, turns to Charle- magne, and on Christmas Day. Just a thousand years later, another insists that he has succeeded to the title by right of conquest, and gives his baby son the title of " King of Rome," and just a thousand years after the death of Charlemagne, in , Napoleon retires to Elba.
There is a witchery about Rome even to- day, and an emperor still sits imprisoned there, claiming for himself the right to rule the spiritual and intellectual world: He was succeeded again by his three sons, Lothair, Pepin, and Louis by his first wife, and Charles, who was his favorite son, by his second wife. He had already divided the great heritage left him by Charlemagne between his three sons Lothair, Pepin, and Louis; but now he wished to make an- other division into four parts, to make room for, and to give a kingdom to, his son Charles by his sec- ond wife.
At his death war breaks out. Pepin dies, leaving, however, a son Pepin to inherit his kingdom of Aquitaine. Louis and Charles attempt to take his kingdom from him, his tmcle Lothair defends him, and at the great bat- tle of Fontenay Louis and Charles defeat Lo- thair. Lothair gains the adherence of the Saxons, and Charles and Louis at the head of their armies confirm their alliance, and at Strasburg the two armies take the oath of allegiance: In another treaty signed at Verdun, between the two brothers Lothair and Louis and their half- brother Charles, separated for the first time the Netherlands, the Rhine country.
Germany and France, therefore, by the Treaty of Verdun in , became distinct kingdoms, and modem geography in Europe is bom. From the death of Henry the Fowler, in , down to the nomination of Frederick I of Bavaria, sixth Burgrave of Nuremberg, to be Margrave of Brandenburg, in 1, the history of the particular Germany we are studying is swallowed up in the his- tory of these German tribes of central Europe and of the Holy Roman Empire. It is, perhaps, of all periods in history, the most interesting to Americans, for then and there our civilization was bom.
In other lands, in Spain or Gaul or Italy, though they were equally conquered by German peoples, religion, social life, administrative order, still remained Roman. The Roman Empire, tottering on a foundation of, it is said, as many as fifty million slaves — even a poor man would have ten slaves, a rich man ten or twenty thousand — and overrun with the mongrel races from Syria, Greece, and Africa, and hiding away the remnants of its power in the Orient, became in a few centuries an easy prey to our ancestors " of the stem blue eyes, the ruddy hair, the large and robust bodies.
Nempe quod haec illis natura est omnibus una," writes Juvenal of their resemblance to one another. What do these men and movements mean? I am wofuUy wrong in my ethnographical calculations if these things do not mean, that the people of whom Tacitus wrote, "No man dictates to the assembly; he may per- suade but cannot command," were shaping and moulding the life of Europe, with their passionate love of individual liberty, with their sturdy in- sistence upon the right of men to think and work without arbitrary interference. Out of this fur- nace came constitutional government in England, and republican government in America.
We owe the origins of our political life to the influence of these German tribes, with their love of individual freedom and their stem hatred of meddlesome rulers, or a meddlesome state or legislature. Germany had no literature at this time. When Froissart was writing French history, and Joinville his delightful chronicles; when Chaucer and Wy- cliffe were gayly and gravely making play with the monks and priests, the only names known in Ger- many were those of the mystics, Eckhart and Tau- ler.
When the time came, however, Germany was defiantly individualist in Luther, and Protestantism was thoroughly German. This is roughly the setting of civiliza- tion, in which the first HohenzoUems found themselves when they took over the Mark of Brandenburg, in the early years of the fifteen cen- tury. Here is a list of them, of no great interest in themselves, but showing the direct descent down to the present time; for from the Peace of Westphalia to the French Revolution the German states were without either men or measures, except Fred- crick the Great, that call for other than dreary com- ment: It is only necessary to indicate that to articulate this skeleton of history, clothe it with flesh, and give it its appropriate arms and costumes would entail the putting of all mediaeval European history upon a screen, to deliver oneself without apology from any such task.
It may be for this reason that there is no history of Grermany in the English tongue, that ranks above the ele- mentary and the mediocre. There is a masterly and scholarly history of the Holy Roman Empire by an Englishman, which no student of Germany may neglect, but he who would trace the beginnings of Grermany from B. It is even with mis- givings that the student picks his way from the time of the Great Elector to Bismarck, and to modem Germany.
The Peace of Westphalia, , marks the end of the Thirty Years' War, and finds Germany with a population reduced from sixteen millions to four millions. The Great Elector wrested east Prussia from Poland, he defeated and drove off the Swedes, whom Louis XIV had drawn into an alli- ance against him, he travelled from end to end of his cotmtry, seeking out the problems of distress and remedying them by inducing immigration from Holland, Switzerland, and the north, by building roads, bridges, schools, and churches, and by en- couraging planting, trade, and commerce.
He built the Frederick William Canal connecting the Oder and the Spree, and introduced the potato to his countrymen. Germany now produces in nor- mal years fifteen hundred million bushels of pota- toes. The splendid equestrian statue of the Great Elector on the long bridge at Berlin, is a worthy monument to the first great HohenzoUem. This novus homo among sovereigns was now a fellow king with the rulers of England, France, Denmark, and Sweden, and the only crowned head in the empire, except the Emperor himself, and the Elector of Saxony, who had been chosen King of Poland in By persistent sycophancy he had pushed his way into the inner circle of the crowned.
Those who have picked social locks these latter days by similar sycophancies, by losses at bridge in the proper quarter, by suffering sly familiarities to their women folk, and by wearing their personal and family dignity in sole leather, may know something of the humiliating experiences of this new monarch. He was a feeble fellow, but his son and successor, Frederick William I, " a shrewd but brutal boor," so Lord Rosebery calls him, and there could not be a better judge, amazed Europe by his taste for col- lecting tall soldiers, by his parsimony, his kennel manners in the treatment of his family and his sub- jects, and leaves a name in history as the first, greatest, and the imique collector of human beings on a Bamumesque scale.
All known collectors of birds, beetles, butterflies, and beasts accord him an easy supremacy, for his aggregation of colossal grenadiers. It is temptingly easy to be epigrammatic, perhaps witty, at the expense of Frederick William I of Prussia. Only the ignorant and the envious, nibble at the successes of other men, with vermin teeth and venomous tongue.
Those people who can never praise anything whole-heartedly come by their cau- tious censure from an tmeasy doubt of their own deserving. His habitual roughness to his son was! One is tempted to believe that the father was a man of robuster judgment in such matters than the son, whose own rather mediocre literary equipment, made him the easy prey of that acidulous vestal of literature, Voltaire. March the 31st, , this eccentric miser died, to be succeeded by his son, Frederick II, " the Great," then twenty-eight years old.
Here was a surprise indeed. Of these German kings and princes in their small dominions it has been written: They built huge palaces, as like Versailles as their means would permit, and generally beyond those limits, with foimtains and avenues and dis- mally wide paths. Even in our own day a German monarch has left, fortunately unfinished, an accu- rate Versailles on a damp island in a Bavarian lake.
In those grandiose structures they cherished a blighting etiquette, and led lives as dull as those of the aged and torpid carp in their own stew-ponds. Then, at the proper season, they would break away into the forest and kill game. Moreover, still in imitation of their model, they held, as a necessary feature in the dreary drama of their existence, ponderous dalliances with unattractive mistresses, in whom they fondly tried to discern the charms of a Montespan or a La Valliere.
This monotonous programme, sometimes varied by a violent contest whether they should occupy a seat with or without a back, or with or without arms, represented the even tenor of their lives. He cared no more about a united Germany than we care for a imited America to include Can- ada, Mexico, and the Argentine.
He cared no more for Bavarians and Saxons than for Swedes and Frenchmen, and, as we know, he was utterly con- temptuous of German literature or the German language. He redeemed the shallowness and the torpidity of those other mediocre rulers by resisting, and resisting successfully, for what must have been to him seven very long years, the whole force of Austria and some of the lesser German powers, with the armies of Russia and France back of them. He had a turbulent home life; his father on one occasion even attempted to hang him with his own hands with the cords of the window curtains, and when he fled from home he captured him and pro- posed to put him to death as a deserter, and only the intervention of the Kings of Poland and Swe- den and the Emperor of Germany prevented it.
His accomplice, however, was summarily and merci- lessly put to death before his eyes. There is no illustration in all history, of such a successful out- come of the rod theory in education, as this of Frederick the Great. The father put into practice what Wesley preached: Let a child from a year old be taught to fear the rod and to cry softly. It is seldom that such insane vanities leave such a fair estate and an heir with such unique abilities for' its skilful exploitation.
Of Frederick's wars against Austria, against France, Russia, Saxony, Sweden, and Poland; of his vic- tories at Prague, Leuthen, Rossbach, and Zomdorf ; of his addition of Silesia and Polish Prussia to his kingdom; of his comical literary love affair with Voltaire; of his brutal comments upon the reigning ladies of Russia and France, which brought upon him their bitter hatred ; of his restoration and im- provement of his country; of his strict personal economy and loyalty to his own people, scores of volumes have been written.
The hero-worshipper, Carlyle, and the Jove of reviewers, Macaulay, have described him, and many minor scribes besides. It is said of his victory of Rossbach, in , that then and there began the recreation of Ger- many, the revival of her political and intellectual life, and union under Prussia and Prussian Kings. He first made a Prussian proud to be a Prussian. This last quarter of the eighteenth century in Germany saw the death of Lessing in , the publication of Kant's "Kritik der Reinen Ver- nunft" in the same year, and the death of the great Frederick in These names mark the physical and intellectual coming of age of Germany.
Lessing died misunderstood and feared by the card- board literary leaders of his day, meii who still wrote and thought with the geometrical instruments handed them from France ; Kant attempted to push philosophical inquiry beyond the bounds of human experience, and Frederick left Prussia at last not ashamed to be Prussia. Napoleon was eighteen years old when Frederick died, and he, next to Bismarck, did more to bring about German unity than any other single force. Unsuccessful Charle- magne though he was, he without knowing it blazed the political path which led to the crowning of a German emperor in the palace at Versailles, less than a hundred years after the death of Frederick the Great.
In at Montebello, Napoleon said: In financial, law, and educational matters he had made his in- fluence felt for good. He distributed work-horses and seed to his impoverished nobles ; he encouraged silk, cotton, and porcelain industries; he built the Finow, the Planesche, and Bromberger Canals; he placed a tariff on meat, except pork, the habitual food of the poor, and spirits and tobacco and coffee were added to die salt monopoly; he codified the laws, which we shall mention later; he aided the common schools, and in his day were built the opera- house, library, and university in Berlin, and the new palade of Sans Souci at Potsdam.
Almost exactly one hundred years after the death of Frederick the Great, there ended practically, at the death of the Emperor William I, in , the political career of the man, who with his personally manufactured cement of blood and iron, bound Ger- many together into a nation. How difficult was the task to bring at last an emperor of all Germany to his crowning at Ver- sailles, January i8, , and how mighty the artificer who accomplished the work, may be learned from a glance at the political, geographical, and patriotic incoherence of the land that is now the German Empire. Germany had no definite national policy from the death of Frederick the Great till the reign of Bismarck began in Hazy discussions of a con- federation of princes, of a Prussian empire, of lines of demarcation, of acquisitions of German ter- ritory, were the phantoms of a policy, and even these were due to the pressure of Prussia.
The general political torpidity is surprisingly dis- played, when one remembers that Goethe , who lived through the French Revolution, who was thirty-seven years old when Frederick the Great died, and who lived through the whole flam- ing life of Napoleon, was scarcely more stirred by the political features of the time than though he had lived in Seringapatam. He was a superlatively great man, but he was as parochial in his politics as he was amateurish in his science, as he was a mixture of the.
What a blossoming of literary activity! But no one of them, these the leaders of thought in Ger- many, at the time when the world was approaching the birthday of democracy through pain and blood, no one of these was especially interested in politics. There was theoretical writing about freedom. Heine mocked at his countrjrmen and at the world in general, and deified Napoleon, from his French mattress, on which he died, in , only fifty-seven years old. Fichte ended a course of lectures on Duty, with the words: We shall resume if our country become free, or we shall have died to regain our liberty.
Herder criticised his countrymen for their slavish following of French forms and models in their literature, as in their art and social life. And well he might thus criticise, when one remembers how cramped was the literary vision even of such men as Voltaire and Heine. We have al- ready mentioned some of Voltaire's literary judg- ments in the preceding chapter, and Heine ventured to compare Racine to Euripides! No wonder that Germany needed schooling in taste, if such were the opinions of her advisers.
Such literary canons as these could only be accepted by minds long inured to provincial, literary, and social slavery. Not even to-day has Germany escaped from this bondage. In Baden three words out of ten that you hear are French, and the German wherever he lives in Germany still invites you to Mittagessen at eight p. To make the German even a German in speech and ideals and in independence has been a colossal task. One wonders, as one pokes about in odd comers of Germany even now, whether Herder's caustic contempt, and Bismarck's cavalry boots, have made every German proud to be a German, as now he surely ought to be.
The tribal feeling still exists there. Fichte's lectures on Nationality were suppressed and Fichte himself looked upon askance. The Schlegels spent a lifetime in giving Germany a translation of Shakespeare. Hegel wrote the last words of his philosophy to the sound of the guns at the battle of Jena. Goethe writes a paragraph about his meeting with Napoleon. Mettemich, bom three years before the American Revolution, and who died a year before the battle of Bull Run, de- clared: MuUer and Schultze and Fischer and Kruger, the small shop-keepers and others of their ilk, and their friends thought?
Even forty years later Friedrich Hebbel, in , paid a visit to the Industrial Ex- position in Paris. He writes in his diary: As Voltaire phrased it, France ruled the land, England the sea, and Ger- many the clouds, even as late as the middle of the nineteenth century. This is the more worth noting, as giving a peg upon which to hang Germany's astounding progress since that time. Even as late as Bismarck's day he complained of the German: The outstanding personalities of the time were patriots, soldiers, politicians, not a dreamer among them.
England was so nonchalantly free already, that the betting-book at White's Club records that, " Lord Glengall bets Lord Yarmouth one hundred guineas to five that Buonaparte returns to Paris before Beau Brummel returns to London! The Grand Duke of Sachsen- Weimar-Eisenach with his tiny court, his Falstaffian army, his mint and his customs-houses, with his well-conducted theatre and his suite of litterateurs, was one of three hundred rulers in the Germany of that time.
This institution had no political power, was merely a theoretical political ring for the theoret- ical political conflicts of German agitators and dreamers, and was composed of the representatives of this tangle of powerless, but vain and self-con- scious little states. After Napoleon's day it became a struggle between Prussia and Austria. Austria had only eight out of thirty-six million German population, while Prussia was practically entirely German, and Prussia used her army, politics, and commerce to gain control in Ger- many.
Even to-day Austria-Hungary contains the most varied conglomeration of races of any nation in the world. Austria has 26,, inhabitants, of whom 9,, are Germans, 1,, Italians and Rumanians, 6,, Bohemians and Slovacs, 8,, Poles and Ruthenians, 2,, Slovenes and Croatians. Of the 19,, of Hungary there are 9,, Magyars, 2,, Germans, 2,,- Slovacs and Ruthenians, 3,, Rumanians, and nearly 3,, Southern Slavs.
Weimar was one of the three hundred capitals of this limp empire, with tariffs, stamps, coins, uniforms, customs, gossip, interests, and a sovereign of its own. Zimmermann as a valued correspondent; its Grand Duke Karl August and his consort; Herder, who jealous of the renown of Goethe, and piqued at the insufficient con- sideration he received, soon departed, to return only when the Grand Duchess took him under her wing and thus satisfied his morbid pride; its love affair, for did not the beautiful Frau von Werthem leave her husband, carry out a mock funeral, and, heralded as dead, elope to Africa with Herr von Einsiedel?
But Weimar was as far away from what we now agree to look upon as the great events of the day, as were Lords Glengall and Yarmouth at White's, in Saint James's. It requires imagination to put Goethe and Schiller and Wieland in the bow window at White's, and to place Lords Glengall and Yarmouth in Frau von Stein's drawing-room in Weimar; but the discerning eye which can see this picture, knows at a glance why England misunderstands Germany and Ger- many misunderstands England.
In the one the winner of the Derby is of more importance than any philosopher; in the other, philosophers, poets, professors, and pla5rwrights are almost as well known, as the pedigrees of the yearlings to be sold at Newmarket, are known at White's. One could easily write a chapter on Weimar and its self-satisfied social and literary activities. There were three htmdred or more capitals of like com- plexion and isolation: No intelligent man ever objected to the French Revolution because it stood for hiunan rights, but because it led straight to human wrongs.
The dream was angelic, but the nightmare in which it ended was devilish. The French Revolution was the most colpssal disappointment that humanity has ever had to bear. More than the demagogue gives us credit for, are the great majority of us eager to help our neighbors. The trouble is that the demagogue thinks this, the most difficult of all things, an easy task. God and Nature are harsh when they are training men, and we, alas, are soft, hence most of our failures.
He knew that there is no real culture without character, and that the mere aptitude for knowing and doing without character is merely the simian devemess thai often dazzles but never does anything of importance. This lover, who won whole nations as other men win a maid or two ; this ruler. Steinmetz, Claus Spreckels, Hugo Mtinsterberg, and a catalogue of others, have been leaders in fi- nance, in industry, in war, in politics, in educational and philanthropic enterprises, and in patriotism. If the man be great enough, cities vie with each other to claim him as their child; he acquires an Homeric versatility in cradles. The fishermen and tillers of the soil in the Scandi- navian peninsula, afterward the settlers in the Saxon plain and in England, recognized him who ruled over their settled place of abode as king; while roam- ing bands of fighting men would naturally attach themselves to the head of the tribe, as the leader in war, and recognize him as king. Every man, even to-day, " Who each for the joy of the working, and each in his sep- arate star, Shall draw the Thing as he sees It for the God of Things as They Are," has a grain of this salt of divine independence in him. It is, however, so much a fact that to neglect a discussion of this personality would be to leave even so slight a sketch of Germany as this, hopelessly lop-sided.
Cor- rection must be given with a rod, not with a sop. There lies all the trouble. The French Revolu- tion fotmd us all sjrmpathetic, but making men of equal height by lopping off their heads; making them free by giving no one a chance to be free; making them fraternal by insisting that all. It was no fault of the French Revolution that it was no revolution at all, in any political sense. Men maddened by oppression hit, kick, bite, and bum.
They are satisfied to shake the burden of the moment off their backs, even though the burden they take on be of much the same character. You have only to tempt a portion of the population into temporary idleness, by promising them a share in a fictitious hoard lying in an imaginary strong-box which is supposed to contain all human wealth.
You have only to take the heart out of those who would will- ingly labor and save, by taxing them ad misericor- diam for the most laudable philanthropic objects. Many people are slowly awakening to the fact in England and in America, that plain citizen " Jim " can be a most merciless tyrant in spite of his impretentious name and title. No royal tyrant ever dared to attempt to gain his ends by dynamiting innocent people, as did the trades-unionists at Los Angeles, or to starve a whole population as did the trades-unionists in London. We have not escaped tyranny by chang- ing its name.
The idea of the Contrat Social and of all its dilutions since, has been that individuals go to make up society, and that society under the name of the state must take charge of those in- dividuals. The French Revolution was a failure because it fell back upon that tiresome and futile philosophy of government which had been that of Louis XIV. Louis XIV took care of the individual units of the state by exploiting them. He was a sound enough Socialist in theory.
France gained nothing of much value along the lines of political philosophy. Whether it is Louis XIV who says " Tetat c'est moi '' or the citizens banded together in a state, who claim that the functions of the state are to meddle with the business of every man, matters little. In no political or philosophical sense was the French Revolution a revolution at all. It was a change of administration and leaders, but not a change of political theory.
The French Revolution put the state in impartial supremacy over all classes by destroying exemptions claimed by the nobility and the clergy, and thus extended the power of the state. The English Revolution without bloodshed reduced the power of the state, not for the advantage of any class, but for individual liberty and local self-govern- ment. We Americans are the political heirs of the latter, not of the former, revolution.
Germany was stirred slightly to hope for freedom, but stirred mightily to protest against anarchy later. These were the two influences from the French Revolution that affected Germany, and they were so contradictory that Germany herself was for nearly a hundred years in a mixed mood. One influence enlivened the theoretical democrat, and the other sent the armies of all Europe post-haste to save what was left of orderly government in France. But Prussia was not what she had been under Frederick the Great.
The economic and political errors of the French Revolution found their best practical exponent in Frederick the Great. In the introduction to his code of laws we have already mentioned are the words: The fine army grew pallid and without spirit, the citizens lost their individual pride, the nation as a whole lost its vigor, and when Napoleon marched into Berlin, he remarked that the country hardly seemed worth con- quering. The century from the death of Frederick the Great, in , to the death of William the First, in , includes, in a convenient period to remem- ber: Frederick William IV, a loquacious, indiscreet, loose-lipped sovereign, of moist intellect and myth- ical delusions, was King of Prussia from to , when his mental condition made his retire- ment necessary, and he was succeeded by his brother, Frederick William Ludwig, first as regent, then as king in , known to us as that admirable King and Emperor, William I, who died in Perhaps the most remarkable characteristic of these sovereigns, to those of us who look upon Ger- many to-day as autocratically governed in fact and by tradition, is their willing surrender to the people, on every occasion when the demand has been, even as little insistent as the German demand has been.
In the case of Frederick William IV, his claim, at least in words, upon his divine rights as a sovereign was the mark of a wavering confidence in himself. He was not satisfied with a rational sanction for his authority, but was forever assuring his subjects that God had pronounced for him ; much as men of low intelligence attempt to add vigor to their statements by an oath. He was caricatured by the journals of the day, and laughed at by the wits, including Heine, and pictured as a king with " Order " on one hand, " Counterorder " on the other, and " Dis- order " on his forehead.
Though Frederick William II marched into France in , to support the French monarchy, neither his army nor his people were prepared or fit for this enterprise, and he soon retired. In , Prussia joined Russia in a second partition of Poland, but in , angry with what was con- sidered the double dealing of Austria and Russia, Prussia concluded a peace with France, the treaty of Basle was signed in , and for ten years Prussia practically took no part in the Napoleonic wars.
Napoleon took over the lands on the left bank of the Rhine, took away the freedom of forty-eight towns, leaving only Hamburg, Bremen, Frankfort, Augsburg, and Nuremberg, and in he took Hanover. In that same year the Electors of Wiirtem- berg and Bavaria were made kings by Napoleon. In Frederick William III, driven by the grossest insults to his cotmtry and to his wife, finally declared war against France; there followed the battle of Jena, in which the Germans were routed, and in that same year Napoleon marched into Berlin unopposed.
In the Russian Emperor was persuaded to make peace, and Prussia without her ally was helpless. The Peace of Tilsit, in July, , deprived Prussia of the whole of the territory be- tween the Elbe and the Rhine, and this with Bnms- wick, Hesse-Cassel, and part of Hanover was dubbed the Kingdom of Westphalia, and Napoleon's youngest brother Jerome was made king.
The Polish territory of Prussia was given to the Elector of Saxony, who was also rewarded for having de- serted Prussia after the battle of Jena by being made a king. Prussia was further required to reduce her army to forty-two thousand men. It is neither a pretty nor an inspiriting story, this of the mangling of Germany by Napoleon; of the German princes bribed by kingly crowns from the hands of an ancestorless Corsican; but it all goes to show how far from any sense of common aims and duties, how far from the united Vaterland of to- day, was the Germany of a himdred years ago.
This Prussia that sent twenty thousand troops to aid Napoleon against Russia, and which during the retreat from Moscow went over bodily to the enemy; this Prussia whose vacillating Jcing simpered with delight at a kind word from Napoleon, and shivered with dismay at a harsh one; this army with its officers as haughty as they were incapable, and its men only prevented from wholesale desertion by severe punishment, an army rotten at the core, with a coat of varnish over its worm-eaten fabric; this Prussia humiliated and disgraced after the battle of Jena, in , in seven years' time came into its own again.
Vom Stein, Schamhorst, the son of a Hanoverian peasant, and Hardenberg put new life into the state. At Waterloo the ptunmelled squares of red-coats were relieved by these Prussians, and Bliicher, or " Old Marschall Vorwarts " as he was called, redeemed his countrymen's years of effem- inate lassitude and vacillation. Neck or nothing, hell for leather, Through or over, sink or swim, Such was Vorwarts— here's to him I " Napoleon goes to Saint Helena and dies in He squeezed three hundred states into thirty-eight, and the very year of Waterloo, on April the 1st, a German Napoleon was bom who was to further squeeze these states into what is known to- day as the German Empire.
The Congress of Vienna was a meeting of the European powers to redistribute the possessions, that Napoleon had scattered as bribes and rewards among his friends, relatives, and enemies, so far as possible, among their rightful owners. Prussia claimed the right to annex Saxony; Russia demanded Poland, and against them were leagued England, Austria, and France, France represented by the Mephistophelian Talleyrand, who strove merely to stir the discord into another war. In the midst of their delibera- tions word came that the wolf was in the fold again.
Napoleon was riding to Paris, through hysterical crowds of French men and women, eager for an- other throw against the world, if their Little Corporal were there to shake the dice for them. He had another throw and lost. The French Revolution in , followed by the insurrection of all Europe against that strange gypsy child of the Revolution, Napoleon, from , ended at last at Waterloo.
This lover, who won whole nations as other men win a maid or two ; this ruler. Montausier, was safely disposed of at Saint Helena, and the ordinary ways of mortals had their place in the world again. The Congress of Vienna reassembled, and the readjustment of the map of Europe began over again. Prussia is given back what had been taken away from her. A German confederation was formed in to resist encroachments, but with no definite political idea, and its diet, to which Prussia, Austria, and the other smaller states sent represen- tatives, became the laughing-stock of Europe.
Jeal- ous bickerings and insistence upon silly formalities paralyzed legislation. Lawyers and others who presented their claims before this assembly from were paid in ! The liquidation of the debts of the Thirty Years' War was made after two htmdred years, in ! The laws for the military forces were finally agreed upon in , and put in force in ! There were three principal forms of government among these states: One of the first rulers to grant such a constitution to his people was the Grand Duke who presided over the little court at Weimar.
The mass of the people were wholly indifferent. The intellectuals were divided among themselves. The schools and universities after form asso- ciations and societies, the Burschenschaft, for ex- ample, and in a hazy professorial fashion talk and shout of freedom. They were of those passionate lovers of liberty, more intent on the dower than on the bride; willing to talk and sing and to tell the world of their own deserts, but with little iron in their blood.
When a real man wants to be free he fights, he does not talk; he takes what he wants and asks for it afterward; he spends himself first and affords it afterward. These dreamy gentlemen could never make the connection between their assertions and their actions. They were as inconsistent, as a man who sees nothing unreasonable in circulating ascetic opinions and a perambulator at the same time. They were dreary and technical advocates of liberty. At a great festival at the Wartburg, in 7, the students got out of hand, burned the works of those conservatives, Haller and Kotzebue, and the Code Napoleon.
This youthful folly was purposely ex- aggerated throughout Germany, and was used by the party of autocracy to frighten the people, and also as a reason for passing even severer laws against the ebullitions of liberty. From the opinions of the more en- lightened changed. The fear of Napoleon was grad- ually forgotten, and the hatred of the absolutism of Prussia and Austria grew.
In constitutions were demanded and were guardedly granted in Bnmswick, Saxony, Hanover, and Hesse-Cassel. In things had gone so far that at a great student festival the black, red, and gold flag of the Burschenschaft was hoisted, toasts were drunk to the sovereignity of the people, to the United States of Germany, and to Europe Republi- can! This was followed by further prosecutions. Prussia condemned thirty-ninfe students to death, but confined them in a fortress.
The prison-cell of the famous Fritz Reuter may be seen in Berlin to-day. In Hesse, the chief of the liberal party, Jordan, was condemned to six years in prison; in Bavaria a jour- nalist was imprisoned for four years, and other like pimishments followed elsewhere. It was in , when Queen Victoria came to the throne, that Han- over was cut off from the succession, as Hanover could not descend to a woman.
The Duke of Cum- berland became the ruler of Hanover, and Eng- land ceased to hold any territory in Europe. From there was comparative quiet in the political world. The rulers of the various states succeeded in keeping the liberal professorial rhetoric too damp to be valuable as an explosive.
In when the first stone was laid for the completion of the Cologne Cathedral, at a banquet of the Ger- man princes presided over by the King of Prussia, the King of Wiirtemberg proposed a toast to " Our common country! At a congress of Germanists at Frankfort, in , professors and students, jurists and histor- ians, tsdked and discussed the questions of a German parliament and of national unity more perhaps than matters of scholarship. In Professor Gervinus fotmded at Heidel- berg the Deutsche Zeitung, which was to be liberal, national, and for all Germany.
I should be sorry to give the impression that I have not given proper value to the work of the Ger- man professor and student in bringing about a more liberal constitution for the states of Germany. Lie- big of Munich, Ranke of Berlin, Sybel of Bonn, Ewald of Gottingen, Mommsen in Berlin, DoUinger in Munich, and such men as Schiemann in Berlin to- day, were and are, not only scholars, but they have been and are political teadiers; some of them vio- lently reactionary, if you please, but all of them stir- ring men to thinic.
Indeed I am not sure, that the most notable feature of political life in England to-day, is not a grow- ing revolt against legislation by tired lawyers, and an increasing demand for common-sense governing again, even if the governing be done by those with small respect for " damned intellect.
We must go rapidly through this period of seething and of po- litical teething. The parliament at Frankfort with nothing but moral authority discussed and de- claimed, and finally elected Archduke John of Aus- tria as " administrator " of the empire. There fol- lowed discussions as to whether Austria should even become a member of the new confederation.
Two parties, the "Litttle Germanists" and the "Pan Germanists," those in favor of including, and those opposed' to the inclusion of Austria, fought one an- other, with Prussia leading the one and Austria, with the prestige of having been head of the former Holy Roman Empire, the other. In Austria withdrew altogether and the King of Prussia was elected Emperor of Germany, but refused the honor on the ground that he could not accept the title from the people, but only from his equals.
The Prussian guards were sent to Dresden to quell the rioting there and took the city after two days' fighting. The parlia- ment itself was dispersed and moved to Stuttgart, but there again they were dispersed, and the end was a flight of the liberals to Switzerland, France, and the United States. We in America profited by the coming of such valuable citizens as Carl Schurz and many others.
There were driven from Ger- many, they and their descendants, many among our most valuable citizens. The descendant of one of the worthiest of them. Admiral Osterhaus, is one of the most respected ofiicef s in our navy, and will one day command it, and we could not be in safer hands. In both the King of Prussia and the Emperor of Austria called congresses, but Prussia finally gave up hers, and the ancient confederation as of before met as a diet at Frankfort and from Bismarck was the Prussian dele- gate and Austria presided over the deliberations.
A factor that made for unity among the German states was the ZoUverein. From under the leadership of Prussia the various states were persuaded to join in equalizing their tariffs. Ger- man industry and commerce had their beginnings in these agreements. The hundreds of different cus- toms duties became so exasperating that even jealous little governments agreed to conform to simpler laws, and probably this commercial necessity did more to bring about the unity of Germany than the King, or politics, or the army.
With the struggles of the various states to ob- tain constitutions we cannot deal, nor would it add to the understanding of the present political con- dition of the German Empire.
Prussia, after riots in Berlin, after promises and delays from the vacillating King, who one day orders his own troops out of the capital and his brother, later William I, to England to appease the anger of the mob, and parades the streets with the colors of the citizens in revolt wrapped about him; and the next day, surly, obstinate, but ever orating, holds back from his pledges, finally accepts a con- stitution which is probably as little democratic as any in the world. Of the sixty-five million inhabitants of the Ger- man Empire, Prussia has over forty millions.
The Landtag of Prussia is composed of two chambers, the first called the Herrenhaus, or House of Lords, and the second the Abgeordnetenhaus, or Chamber of Deputies. This upper chamber is a mere drawing-room of the sovereign's courtiers, though there may be, and as a matter of fact there arc at the present time, representatives even of labor in this chamber, but in a minority so complete that their actual influence upon legislation, except in a feeble advisory capacity, amounts to nothing.
In this Her- renhaus, or upper chamber, of Prussia there are at this writing among the members 3 bankers, 8 representatives of the industrial and merchant class, and I mechanic; 12 in all, or not even four per cent. Even in the lower chamber, or Abgeordnetenhaus, there are only 10 merchants, 19 manufacturers, 7 labor representa- tives, and I bank director, or 37 members who rep- resent the commercial, manufacturing, and indus- trial interests in a total membership of In the other states of Germany much the same conditions exist.
In Bavaria, in the upper house, or Kammer der Reichsrate, there is no representa- tive, and in the lower house of members only 29 representatives of the industrial world. In Wiirtemberg, in the upper chamber with 51 members there are 3 industrials; and in the second chamber with 63 members there are 17 industrials. In Baden, of the 37 members of the upper house there are 6 industrials; of the 73 members of the lower house there are 23 representatives of com- merce and industry.
This condition of political inequality is the re- sult of the maintenance of the old political divisions, despite th6 fact that in the last thirty years the whole complexion of the country has changed radically, due to the rapid increase of the city populations rep- resenting the industrial and commercial progress of a nation that is now the rival of both the United States and Great Britain. In more than one in- stance a town with over , inhabitants will be represented in the legislature in the same propor- tion as a country population of 30, Stettin, for example, with a population of ,, which is a seventh of the total population of Pomerania, has only 6 of the 89 provincial representatives.
Fur- ther, the three-class system of voting in Prussia and in the German cities, is a unique arrangement for giving men the suffrage without either power or privilege. According to this system every male in- habitant of Prussia aged twenty-five is entitled to vote in the election of members of the lower house. The voters, however, are divided into three classes.
The first third is paid by the highest tax-payers; the second third by the next highest tax-payers, and the last third by the rest. The first class consists of a comparatively few wealthy people ; it may even happen that a single individual pays a third of the taxes in a given dis- ffrict. These three classes then elect the members of an electoral college, who then elect the member of the house. In Prussia it may be said roughly that , wealthy tax-payers elect one-third ; , tax-payers elect one-third, and the other 6,, voters elect one-third of the members of the electoral college, with the consequence that the 6,, are not represented at all in the lower house of Prussia, In order to make this three-class system of voting quite clear, let us take the case of a city where the same principle may be seen at work on a smaller scale.
In , in the city of Berlin, there were: The voters elected one-third, 32, voters elected one-third, and , elected one-third of the town councillors. In this same year in Berlin there were: As a result of these divisions according to taxes paid, of the town councillors elected, only 38 were Social-Democrats, though Berlin is overwhelm- ingly Social-Democratic, and consequently the af- fairs of this city of more than 2,, inhabitants are in the hands of 33, persons who elect two- thirds of the town councillors.
In the city of Diisseldorf there were, excluding the suburbs, 62, voters at the election for town councillors in These 7, voters of the first and second classes were in complete control of the city government by a clear majority of two-thirds. It is this three-class system of voting that makes Prussia, and the Prussian cities as well, impregnable against any assault from the democratically inclined. Further, the executive government of Prussia is conducted by a ministry of state, the members of which are appointed by the King, and hold office at his pleasure, without con- trol from the Landtag.
How little the people succeeded in extorting from King Frederick William IV in the way of a con- stitution may be gathered from this glimpse of the present political conditions of Prussia. The local government of Prussia is practically as centralized in a few hands as the executive gov- ernment of the state itself. The largest areas are the provinces, whose chiefs or presidents also are appointed by the sovereign, and who represent the central government. Each province is divided into two or more gov- ernment districts, of which there are thirty-five in all.
At the head of each of these districts is the district president, also appointed by the crown. In addition there is the Kreis, or Circle, of which there are some , with populations varying from 20, to , Though the Landrath is nominated by the circle assembly for appointment by the crown, he can be dismissed by his superiors of the central hierarchy. As his pro- motion, and his career in fact, is dependent upon these superiors, he naturally sides with the central government in all cases of dispute or friction.
Further, and this is important, all officials in Ger- many are legally privileged persons. All disputes between individuals and public authorities in Ger- many are decided by tribunals quite distinct from the ordinary courts. These courts are specially con- stituted, and they aim at protecting the officials from any personal responsibility for acts done by them in their official capacity. In America, and I presume in Great Britain also, any disputes between public authorities and private individuals are settled in the ordinary courts of justice, under the rules of the ordinary law of the land.
This super-common-law position of the Prus- sian official is a fatal incentive to the aggravating exaggeration of his importance, and to the indif- ference of his behavior to the private citizen. There may be officials who are uninfluenced by this shel- tered position, indeed I know personally many who are, but there is equally no doubt that many suc- cumb to arrogance and lethargy as a consequence. The whole Prussian doctrine of local self-government, too, is entirely different from ours.
Their idea is that self-government is the performance by locally elected bodies of the will of the state, not necessarily of the locality which elects them. Local authorities, whether elected or not, are supposed to be primarily the agents of the state, and only secondarily the agents of the particular lo- cality they serve.
In Prussia, all provincial and circle assemblies and communal coimcils, may be dis- solved by royal decree, hence even these elected as- semblies may only serve their constituencies at the will and pleasure of the central authority. It would avail little to go into minute details in describing the government of Prussia; this slight sketch of the electoral system, and of the centrali- zation of the government, suffices to show two things that it is particularly my purpose to make clear.
The state ownership of railroads, old-age pensions, accident and sickness insurance, and the like are one thing in: What takes place in Prussia would certainly not take place in America or in Eng- land. The Enlightenment On Trial By: Counting The Enlightenment By: The Limits Of Publicity By: Biographical Note Michael J. The book should thus interest not only scholars of the Prussian Enlightenment, but also to those considering the applicability and limitations of concepts like the public sphere in analyzing the German past. Preface Acknowledgments Introduction 1.
The Frederickian Monarchy and the Enlightenment in Prussia 2. The Enlightenment on Trial 4. Conscience and the Rhetoric of Freedom 5. Counting the Enlightenment 6. All those interested in the Enlightenment, the public sphere, the history of Prussia, and state and religion in early-modern Europe.