Historical works of literature have it that, Germany has taken the right trail changing direction from their once famous absolutist rule to liberal democracy. The historians mainly attribute the shift to might have occurred during or after the political turbulence that followed the Paris Revolution in July of 1830 and the liberal-democratic protests at the Hambach Festival of 1832. (GDHI 3 Chapter 3) The then Government of Prussia under The Six Articles of June 28, 1832, highlighted that federal law was superior to the individual state law, thereby, reducing the powers of the different states to spearhead their own political stand. In southern Germany, several strikes and demonstrations against the rule of the monarchies in Germany piled pressure for the establishment of democracy nationwide. (GDHI,vol3, Chapter 3). This paper analyses the arguments that the conservatives offer both against constitutional rules and for the absolutist monarchy.
In the absolutist monarchy power system, there was no provision for political parties in the Constitution. The society as an entity was under the leadership of the emperors whose stipulated duties were legislation, proposing bills and the budgetary power. Some of the leading conservatives including Clemens Prince von Metternich (1819) stood firmly against the constitutional rule. They gave their political support for the absolutist Monarchy.
Metternich (1819) argued that the existing idea of the confederal system had an understanding of mutual protection and assistance and, thus existed as one aggregate power. Bowing into the pressure from the demonstrating students would therefore undermine and even disintegrate the prevailing peace of the Confederation. He further wrote that the spirit of nationalism that was witnessed all across Germany was an indication that power did not rest on individual states in protecting their boundaries. The Diets charged the Confederation with the responsibility to call on each particular state and ensure they fulfilled their joint duties. Failure to meet the expectation, the confederation had the power to force the individual part to act accordingly. With this in place, Metternich did not see the need for a constitutional rule.
Carl Schurz (1913)on his part argued that constitutional rule posed a threat to time and other resources. It would give time to debate that took a lot of time and may end up yielding no good. As compared to the absolute monarchy, constitutional rule gave room to wastage and unfortunate result. He opines that with authoritarian rule, Those for the absolute monarchy believed that through this system, they could reach decisive action first enough to save the underlying situation (GDHI,vol3, Chapter 3). With this stand, he strongly supported the absolute monarchy against the constitutional rule.
Emancipation of the Jews
The government, in the Prussian constitution, developed a criterion in which they would grant citizenship rights to the Jews, the rights would include, but not limited to, freedom to worship in the faith of their choice, employment opportunities and right to cultural diversity. The anti-Jewish individual highlighted some negatives about the Jews that led to their discrimination and call for reduced privileges. They accused the Jews of unproductive labor, bribery, anti-nationalism, and religious radicalism. Many came out to show why the Germans should deny the Jews citizenship rights.
Prussian District Government in Koblenz in its report on the Jewish Population (1820) described that After the French Revolution Jews also benefited as they got the opportunity of acquiring full citizenship as the principle of equality dictated. With these rights, the Jews decided to seclude themselves. They wanted to be far away from the native citizens. They became utterly isolated, from the rest of the citizens. They had their own way of thinking, carried out their religious customs; they acted in their own way. All these activities further affected the whole society. The Jews demonstrated hostility and poor reception to their hosts thus led to poor influence in the society. It is with this in place that individual rose up in arms to protest against the equal rights accorded to the Jews. (GDHI,vol3, Chapter 3). The report further outlines that the Jews cannot even marry non-Jews, they marry within themselves.
Theologian H.E.G. Paulus (1831) spoke against the emancipation of the Jews he argued that Jews being part of the servicemen and the citizens paying taxes just like the natives, they were entitled to equal rights just like their host citizens. The fact that they could not abandon their faith and customs should not be the basis of which they get judged and discriminated upon. He further opines that it is the citizens who were to modify their ways to fit the practices of the Jews so that they could live harmoniously without infringing the rights of the other.
According to Sussex Research Online (4), the debates unearthed the need for peaceful coexistence for productive economic gains. The Jews were granted citizenship rights and belonging. The two opposing parties concluded the discussion with a call for more investigations to be done to shade more light on the German Jewry standoff.
Bonefeld, Werner. “Authoritarian liberalism: From Schmitt via Ordo liberalism to the Euro.” Critical Sociology, vol. 43, no. 4-5, 2016, pp. 747-761.
Bramer, A., and G. Reuveni. “Introduction Jews as German Citizens: The Prussian Emancipation Edict of 1812 and Beyond.” The Leo baeck Institute Yearbook, vol. 59, no. 1, 2014, pp. 3-5. Wende, Peter. “Prussia’s Germany.” A History of Germany, 2005, pp. 108-121.
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