PRUSSIA (Ger. Preussen; Lat. Borussia), a kingdom of Germany, and the largest, most populous and most important state of the German Empire. (For map see Germany.) It is bounded on the N. by the Baltic, Mecklenburg, Denmark and the North Sea, on the E. by Russia, on the S. by Austria, the kingdom of Saxony, the Thuringian states, Bavaria and Hesse-Darmstadt, on the W. by Alsace-Lorraine, Luxemburg, Belgium and the Netherlands. Its frontiers have a circuit of about 4750) m., and with the exception of the enclaves Oldenburg, Mecklenburg, Brunswick and other small German states, and certain small appurtenances, such as Hohenzollern, in the south of Württemberg, it forms a tolerably compact mass of territory, and occupies almost the whole of northern Germany. Its longest axis is from S.W. to N.E. With the exception of the sea on the north and the mountain-barrier on the south-east, the frontiers are political rather than geographical. The total area of the monarchy is 134,622 sq. m. and comprises almost two-thirds of the entire extent of the German Empire. Its kernel is the mark of Brandenburg, round which the rest of the state has been gradually built up.
Physical Features edit
Fully three-fifths of Prussia belong to the great north European plain and may be generally characterized as lowlands. The plain is much wider on the east, where only the southern margin of Prussia is mountainous, than on the west, where the Hanoverian hills approach to within less than 100 m. of the sea. A line drawn from Düsseldorf through Halle to Breslau would, roughly speaking, divide the flat part of the country from the hilly districts. In the south-east Prussia is separated from Austria and Bohemia by the Sudetic chain, which begins at the valley of the Oder and extends thence towards the north-west. This chain includes the Riesen Gebirge, with the highest mountain in Prussia (Schneekoppe), and subsides gradually in the hills of Lusatia. The Harz Mountains, however, beyond the Saxon plain, follow the same general direction and may be regarded as a detached continuation of the system. To the south of the Harz the Prussian frontier intersects the northern part of the Thuringian Forest, which is also prolonged towards the north-west by the Weser Gebirge and the Teutoburger Wald. The south-west of Prussia is occupied by the plateau of the lower Rhine, including on the left bank the Hunsruck and the Eifel, and on the right the Taunus, the Westerwald and the Sauerland. Between the lower Rhenish and Thuringian systems are interposed the Vogelsberg, the Rhön, and other hills belonging to the Triassic system of the upper Rhine. The Silesian Mountains are composed chiefly of granite, gneiss and schists, while the Harz and the lower Rhenish plateau are mainly of Devonian and Silurian formation. To the north of the Sauerland is the important carboniferous system of the Ruhr, and there are also extensive coalfields in Silesia. With the exception of the Danube Prussia is traversed by all the chief rivers of Germany, comprising almost the entire course of the Oder and the Weser. Nearly the whole of the German coast-line belongs to Prussia, and it possesses all the important seaports (see also Germany) except Hamburg, Bremen and Lübeck.
The climate of Prussia may be described as moderate, and is generally healthy. The greatest extremes of temperature are found between the east and west, the mean annual temperature in the bleak and exposed provinces of the north-east being about 44° F., while that of the sheltered valley of the Rhine is 6° higher. In winter the respective means are 26° and 35°; in summer the difference is not above 2° to 4°. In Prussia as a whole the thermometer ranges from 100° to 130°, but these extremes are rarely reached. The average annual rainfall is about 21 in.; it is highest in the hilly district on the west (34 in.) and on the north-west coast (30 to 32 in.), and lowest (16 in.) in the inland parts of the eastern provinces.
The following schedule shows the area and population of the whole kingdom and of each of its fourteen provinces on the 1st of December 1900, and the 31st of December 1905.
|Area in Eng. sq. m.
1 Including Heligoland.
The increase of population proceeds most rapidly, as would be expected, in Berlin, and next follow Westphalia, the Rhineland, Brandenburg and Saxony, while it is weakest in Hohenzollern, Pomerania and East Prussia. The population is densest in the mining and manufacturing district of the Rhine, which is closely followed by the coal regions of Silesia and parts of Saxony and Westphalia. Both the birth-rate and the death-rate show a tendency to diminish. (For statistical tables under this head, see Germany.) In Prussia, the annual increase in the urban population is about seven times as great as that in the rural communities. In 1905 Prussia contained twenty-two towns each with upwards of 100,000 inhabitants. The annual rate of suicide in Prussia is high, and among German states is only exceeded in the kingdom of Saxony. Divided according to nationalities (by speech), the population of Prussia includes roughly 31,000,000 Germans, over 3,000,000 Poles (in the eastern provinces), 107,000 Lithuanians (in the northeast), 137,000 Danes (in Schleswig-Holstein), 65,000 Wends (in Brandenburg and Silesia), 25,000 Czechs (in Silesia) and 78,000 Walloons (near the Belgian frontier). In the rural districts of Posen and in parts of Silesia the Poles form the predominant element of the population.
With most internal means of communication Prussia is well provided. Hardly any of its excellent highroads existed in the time of Frederick the Great, and many of them date from the Napoleonic era. The first Prussian railway was laid in 1838, but the railway system did not receive its full development until the events of 1866 removed the obstacles placed in the way by Hanover. Most of the lines were laid by private companies, and the government confined itself to establishing lines in districts not likely to attract private capital. In 1879, however, a measure was passed authorizing the acquisition by the state of the private railways, and in 1884 nine-tenths of the 13,800 m. of railway in Prussia were in the hands of government. The proportion of railway mileage in Prussia (5 m. per 10,000 inhabitants) is nearly as high as in Great Britain, but the traffic is much less. Between 1880 and 1886 the state-owned lines of railway increased by 9240 m., the increase being principally due to the policy of buying up private lines; and since 1886 there has been a further increase. In 1903 the state lines amounted to a total of 18,520 m., and the private lines to 1248 m. The former total includes lines in Hesse-Darmstadt, the railways of this grand duchy having been incorporated with the Prussian railways in 1896. The building of the railways in Prussia has in almost every case been influenced by military requirements; and this applies also to the making of private lines. The most important trunk line of Prussia is that which enters the western frontier at Herbesthal, and runs through Cologne, Düsseldorf, Hanover, Berlin, Dirschau and Königsberg, and leaves the eastern boundary at Eydtkuhnen for St Petersburg. Generally speaking, the principal lines of the country either radiate from Berlin or run alongside the frontiers and boundaries. To the former category belong the lines which connect the capital with Hamburg and Kiel, with Stettin, with Danzig and Konigsberg, with Posen and Breslau (dividing at Frankfort-on-Oder), with Dresden, with Leipzig and Bavaria, with Frankfort-on-Main via Halle and Erfurt, with Coblenz via Cassel, and with Cologne via Magdeburg and Brunswick. The second category embraces lines from Hamburg to Stettin, from Stettin to Posen and Breslau, and from Breslau to Halle; the ring is again taken up at Frankfort-on-Main, and continues up the Rhine (on both banks) to Cologne, and thence through Munster and Bremen to Hamburg. Besides these there are two other important lines, one connecting Hamburg with Frankfort-on-Main via Hanover and Cassel, the other linking Hanover with Halle.
Prussia possesses also an extensive system of natural and artificial waterways. In the period 1880–1893 the Prussian Government spent no less than 11,677,750 upon the maintenance and construction of locks, canals, canal buildings, bridges, roadways, &c. Besides this there was a special vote of 6,197,600 for the construction of the Dortmund-Ems Canal and the improvement of the navigation of the Oder, Vistula, Spree and other waterways in Brandenburg. The most important of the canals are the North Sea and Baltic Canal (officially the Kaiser Wilhelm Canal), the Elbe-Trave Canal (to give Lübeck access to the Elbe), and the Dortmund-Ems Canal, and its continuation, the Dortmund-Rhine Canal (see further, Germany). The largest ship-owning ports are Flensburg, Stettin, Kiel, Rostock and Danzig; and Geestemünde owns the largest deep-sea fishing fleet.
Of the total area of cultivable land in the German Empire fully 66% belongs to Prussia. About 29% of the soil of Prussia consists of good loam or clay, 32% is mediocre or of loam and sand mixed, 31% is predominantly sandy, and 6% is occupied by bogs and marshes. The north-eastern provinces contain a high proportion of poor soil, and in the north-west occur large tracts of heath and moor. The reclaimed marshlands in both districts, as well as the soil in the neighbourhood of the rivers, are usually very fertile, and tracts of fruitful ground are found in the valleys of the Rhine and its affluents and in the plain around Magdeburg, the so-called Böhrde. The most fertile Prussian province is Saxony, while the least productive are East and West Prussia. The principal crop in Prussia is rye, of which the ordinary bread of the country is made; it grows in all parts of the kingdom, especially in the north and east, and occupies about one-fourth of the whole tilled surface. Oats occupy an area equal to about half that devoted to rye, and are also grown most extensively in the north-eastern districts. Wheat, which is chiefly cultivated in the south and west, does not cover more than a fourth as much ground as rye. Barley is most largely grown in Saxony and Silesia. Other grain crops are spelt (chiefly on the Rhine), buckwheat (Hanover and Schleswig-Holstein) and millet; maize is grown for fodder in some districts. The produce of grain does not cover the consumption and is supplemented by imports of rye and other cereals from Russia and Holland. Potatoes, used both as food and for the distillation of spirits, are cultivated over nearly as large an area as rye and are especially predominant in the eastern provinces. The common beet is extensively grown for the production of sugar in the provinces of Saxony, Hanover, Silesia, Pomerania and Brandenburg. Flax and hemp occupy considerable areas in East Prussia, Silesia and Hanover, while hops are raised chiefly in Posen and Saxony. The cultivation of rape-seed for oil has fallen off since the use of petroleum has become general. The tobacco of Silesia, Brandenburg, Hanover and the Rhine province is inferior to that of Germany; the annual value of Prussian-grown tobacco is about £500,000, or one-fourth of the total produce of the empire. Of the total cultivated area less than 5% is divided into farms of less than 5 acres each, about 33% amongst farms ranging from 5 to 50 acres, 32.01% amongst farms ranging from 50 to 250 acres, and the rest amongst farms exceeding 250 acres. The provinces in which large estates (up to 2500 acres and more) are the rule, are Pomerania, Posen, Silesia, East Prussia, Brandenburg, West Prussia and Saxony, in the order named. The estates of the old landed gentry (Rittergüter) of Prussia, taking the estates above 500 acres each, aggregate in all some 13,400,000 acres. Small estates (peasant holdings) prevail principally in the Rhine province, Hesse-Nassau and Westphalia, and to some extent also in Hanover, Silesia and Saxony, but large peasant holdings (50 to 250 acres) exist only in Schleswig-Holstein, Hanover, East Prussia, Westphalia, Saxony and Brandenburg. Notwithstanding the continuous decline in prices, and other drawbacks from which agriculture has suffered throughout Europe, the Prussian farmers have on the whole fairly well maintained their position, owing mainly to the fact that they have been both eager and skilful in availing themselves of the opportunities offered by the progress of agricultural knowledge. One of the latest departures in this field has been the establishment of central stations for the distribution of electric power to the estates in its neighbourhood, the power to be used for driving both fixed and movable machinery (mills, chaff-cutters, threshing-machines, ploughs, &c.), for lighting buildings and houses, for cooking and heating, and on large estates for giving signals and conveying orders. The cultivation of the beetroot for sugar has had a far-reaching effect upon Prussian agriculture, especially in the provinces of Saxony, Silesia, Posen, Hanover, West Prussia, Pomerania, Brandenburg, the Rhine province, and other parts of the kingdom, where the beetroot is extensively cultivated. Owing to the deep cultivation of the soil and the incessant hoeing which the beet crop requires, the three or four crops which follow it are invariably good, and the liability to failure of the immediately succeeding crop is reduced to a minimum. Moreover, the fiscal policy of the Prussian government has been of first-rate assistance to the Prussian farmer. Hand in hand with the cultivation of the beetroot has gone the cultivation of barley and chicory, crops of scarcely inferior value from the cultivator’s point of view. Barley is grown on more than Hi million acres. The Prussian province of Saxony produces one-half of the total quantity of chicory yielded every year throughout the empire; the principal centres for its manufacture in Prussia are Magdeburg, Berlin and Breslau.
The province of East Prussia, with the principal government stud of Trakehnen, is the headquarters of horse-rearing, and contains the greatest number of horses both relatively 'and absolutely. The horses bred there are generally suitable for the lighter kind of work only, and are in great request for military purposes. Horses of a stouter type are bred in Schleswig-Holstein and on the Rhine, but heavy draught horses have to be imported from France, Holland, Belgium and Denmark. The best cattle are reared in the maritime provinces, whence, as from the marshy lowlands of Hanover, they are exported in large numbers to England.
In the matter of freights the government renders material assistance to the Prussian farmer. As the state owns the railways, it carries agricultural produce, especially such as is destined for export, at lower preferential rates.
Prussia contains a greater proportion of woodland (23%) than any other large country in the south or west of Europe (France 17%, Italy 12%, Great Britain 3%), though not so large a proportion as Russia, Austria and some of the minor German states. The most extensive forests are in East and West Prussia, Silesia, and Brandenburg, where coniferous trees prevail, and in the Rhenish and Hessian districts, where oaks and beeches are the most prominent growths. The north-west is almost entirely destitute of timber, and peat is there used universally as fuel. The government forests cover about 6,000,000 acres, or upwards of onefourth of the whole, and are admirably managed, bringing in an annual revenue of i 4 millions sterling. The state also controls the management of forests in private possession, and exerts itself to secure the planting of waste lands.
The principal wine-growing districts of Prussia are the Rheingau and the Rhine provinces, though wine is also produced in Silesia, Westphalia and a few other districts. The valleys of the Nahe, Saar, Moselle and Ahr all produce excellent wine. The Prussian state owns several vineyards in the Rhine district. German vine-growers have suffered, in common with vine-growers in other countries of Europe, from the Oidium tuckeri and the Phylloxera, and the government has spent large sums of money in endeavouring to arrest the ravages caused.
The fisheries on the Baltic Sea and its halls, and on the North Sea, are important. In the former the take consists mainly of herrings, flat fish, salmon, mackerel and eels, while the chief objects of the latter are cod and oysters. Inland fishery has been encouraged by the foundation of numerous piscicultural establishments and by the enactment of close-time laws. Carp, perch, pike and salmon, the last-named especially in the Rhine, are the principal varieties; sturgeon are taken in the Elbe and Oder, and the lakes of East Prussia swarm with bream and lampreys. Game of various kinds abounds in different parts of Prussia, and the lakes are frequented by large flocks of waterfowl.
Mining and Metal Industries edit
Prussia is the largest producer of coal, zinc, salt, lead and copper amongst the states of the German Empire, though in respect of iron she comes second to Alsace-Lorraine. Of the aggregate German output of coal Prussia supplies over 93%, viz. the huge total of 101,966,158 tons, valued at £43,912,500 in 1900, as compared with some 47,000,000 tons in 1882, representing an increase of about 117%, and of this the province of Westphalia produces the largest quantity. Next comes the Rhine province, that is, the Saar, Aachen, Düsseldorf and Roer coal-fields; then Silesia. An extremely important role is played in the coal industry of Prussia by the Rhenish-Westphalian Coal Syndicate, which has its headquarters at Essen, and which from the bulk of its output (about 40% of the total German output) has succeeded in regulating the production and price of the coalfields generally. Out of a total output of lignite for the entire German Empire of 40,498,019 tons in 1900, Prussia yielded no less than 84%, or a total of 34,007,542 tons, valued at £4,012,900, showing an annual increase of over 24 million tons and of 31 millions sterling since 1882. Almost all the zinc produced in Germany comes out of the Silesian mines. The chief iron-producing regions are the Rhine province, Westphalia, Hesse-Nassau and Silesia. But in the production of lead and manganese Prussia enjoys almost an unchallenged monopoly. Salt is mined principally in the province of Saxony (Stassfurt, Aschersleben, Erfurt, Halle, Merseburg, Sangerhausen), the kali salts near Magdeburg and Glauber salts in the Rhine province and Hesse-Nassau. Iron is worked principally in the districts of Arnsberg, Düsseldorf, Oppeln in Silesia, Treves and Coblenz, and zinc for the most part near Oppeln in Silesia; lead and silver near Aachen, Oppeln and Wiesbaden, and sulphuric acid in all the mining districts, as well as near Potsdam, Breslau, Magdeburg and Merseburg. Petroleum is extracted to a limited extent at a couple of places in the province of Hanover. Down to 1899, in which year the monopoly was bought out by the Prussian government, 150 to 250 tons of amber were mined in East Prussia. A little is also collected on the coast near Pillau.
Industrial Development edit
During the last quarter of the 19th century Prussia developed into a great manufacturing country. Among the causes which have been mainly instrumental in fostering the industrial development in Prussia are the fostering care of the government (at once energetic, comprehensive and watchful), co-operation and organization, which has been immensely facilitated by the habits of prompt obedience and order learnt in the course of the military training; the generally high intellectual level and technical and artistic skill of the workmen, due in part to the enforcement of sound elementary education and in part to the excellent technical high schools, trades “continuation schools,” and hosts of special schools in which the arts and crafts are thoroughly and systematically taught; the use made of scientific discoveries and the power of taking advantage of scientific progress generally; the national aptitude for giving conscientious attention to minutiae, and for thoroughness and mastery of detail; the extensive employment of commercial travellers, having command of languages, in all parts of the world; and an earnest desire to find out and meet the wants and tastes of customers. Moreover, the social and economic conditions of the people have been in their favour. Wages have on the whole been lower than, for example, in England, though since 1896 they have shown a strong upward tendency, and the standard of comfort, and even in many cases the standard of living, has been lower. Litigation, too, is more expeditious and less costly. But the Prussian manufacturer has derived no small measure of advantage from the fact that he came into the field somewhat later than his foreign rivals. He has been enabled to utilize their experience, to profit from their drawbacks, faults and deficiencies, and to make a clean start in the light of this valuable acquired knowledge. His interests have also been materially promoted by the commercial and fiscal policies of his government. The chief industrial districts are, of course, those which yield coal, with, in addition, the great cities—Berlin, Magdeburg, Hanover, Breslau, Görlitz, Stettin, Essen, Dortmund, Elberfeld-Barmen, Düsseldorf, Cologne, Aix-la-Chapelle, Crefeld, Halle, Hanover, Frankfort-on-Main, Saarbrucken, Höchst, Solingen, Remscheid, Hagen, Konigsberg, Danzig and many others. The iron and metal industries, especially the making of machinery, electrical plant, tramway plant, and the production of articles in wrought copper and brass, rank in the forefront. In these branches Berlin, and more lately its suburbs, as well as Magdeburg and Cologne, have played an active role, though the old centres of the metallurgical and iron and steel industries in the Rhine province and Westphalia have also expanded in an extraordinary degree. The growth of the chemical industries, which are essentially a German speciality, must also be mentioned in the front rank. The branches in which this supremacy stands unrivalled are those which produce aniline dyes, artificial indigo, illuminants (acetylene gas, Welsbach mantles, &c.), explosives, various chemical salts, pharmaceutical preparations, cellulose, glycerine, artificial (chemical) manures, and perfumes. 1 A third branch of industry in which German genius has won triumphs of the highest kind is shipbuilding.
The present constitution of Prussia was framed by the government of King Frederick William IV., with the cooperation of a constituent assembly, and was proclaimed on the 31st of January 1850. It consists of an hereditary monarchy with two houses of parliament and was subsequently modified by various enactments, notably that of the 12th of October 1854, reconstituting the upper chamber. The constitution affirms the legal equality of all citizens in the eye of the law, provides for universal military service, and guarantees the personal liberty of the subject, the security of property, immunity from domiciliary visits, the inviolability of letters, toleration of religious sects, freedom of the press, the right of association and public meetings, and liberty of migration.
The monarchy is hereditary in the male line of the house of Hohenzollern, and follows the custom of primogeniture. The king alone exercises the executive power, has the supreme command of the army, and is head of the Church, but shares the legislative power with his parliament. He appoints and discharges the ministers and other officials of the Crown, summons and dissolves parliament, possesses the right of pardon and mitigation of punishment, declares war and concludes peace, confers orders and titles and conducts the foreign policy of the country, though this prerogative has now, constitutionally speaking, passed from the king of Prussia to the German emperor. He is held to be irresponsible for his public actions, and his decrees require the countersign of a minister, whose responsibility, however, is not very clearly defined. The national tradition and feeling lend the Crown considerable power not formulated in the constitution, and the king is permitted to bring his personal influence to bear upon parliament in a way quite at variance with the English conception of a constitutional monarch. The annual civil list of the king of Prussia amounts to £770,554.
The legislative assembly or Landtag, consists of two chambers, which are convoked annually at the same time but meet separately. The right of proposing new measures belongs equally to the king and each of the chambers, but the consent of all three is necessary before a measure can pass into law. The chambers have control of the finances and possess the right of voting or refusing taxes. Financial questions are first discussed in the lower house, and the upper house can accept or reject the annual budget only en bloc. All measures are passed by an absolute majority, but those affecting the constitution must be submitted to a second vote after an interval of at least twenty-one days. Members may not be called to account for their parliamentary utterances except by the chamber in which they sit. No one may at the same time be a member of both chambers. The ministers of the Crown have access to. both chambers and may speak at any time, but they do not vote unless they are actually members. The sittings of both chambers are public.
The general scheme of government, though constitutional, is not exactly “parliamentary” in the English sense of the word, as the ministers are independent of party and need not necessarily represent the opinions of the parliamentary majority. The Herrenhaus, or house of peers, contains two classes of members, the hereditary and non-hereditary. The former consists of the adult princes of the house of Hohenzollern, the mediatized princes and counts of the old imperial nobility, and the heads of the great territorial nobility. The non-hereditary members are chosen for life by the king from the ranks of the rich landowners, manufacturers and men of general eminence, and representatives “presented” for the king’s approval by the landowners of the eight old provinces, by the larger towns and by the universities. Every member of the Herrenhaus must be specially summoned by the king. The Abgeordnetenhaus or chamber of deputies, consists of 433 members, elected 1 See Dr Frederick Rose, Chemical Instruction and Chemical Industries in Germany (1901–1902), being Nos. 561 and 573 of the “Miscellaneous Series of British Diplomatic and Consular Reports.” 521 for periods of five years by indirect suffrage, exercised by all male citizens who have reached the age of twenty-five and have not forfeited their communal rights. The original electors are arranged in three classes, according to the rate of taxes paid by them, in such a way that the gross amount of taxation is equal in each class. The country is accordingly divided into electoral districts, with the electors grouped in three categories, each of which selects a Wahlmann or electoral proxy, who exercises the direct suffrage. Members of the lower house must be thirty years old and in full possession of their civic rights. They receive a daily allowance (Diäten) of fifteen shillings during the sitting of the house, and travelling expenses.
The king exercises his executive functions through an irresponsible Staatsrat, or privy council, revived in 1884 after thirty years of inactivity, and by a nominally responsible cabinet or council of ministers (Staats-Ministerium). The latter consists of the president and minister of foreign affairs, and ministers of war, justice, finance, the interior, public worship and instruction, industry and commerce, public works and agriculture, domains and. forests. Ministers conduct the affairs of their special departments independently, but meet in council for the discussion of general questions. They represent the executive in the houses of parliament and introduce the measures proposed by the Crown, but do not need to belong to either chamber. The affairs of the royal household and privy purse are entrusted to a special minister, who is not a member of the cabinet.
The Prussian governmental system is somewhat complicated by its relation to that of the empire. The king of Prussia is at the same time German emperor, and his prime minister is also the imperial chancellor. The ministries of war and foreign affairs practically coincide with those of the empire, and the custom-dues and the postal and telegraph service have also been transferred to the imperial government. Prussia has only seventeen votes in the federal council, or less than a third of the total number, but its influence is practically assured by the fact that the small northern states almost invariably vote with it. To the Reichstag Prussia sends more than half the members. The double parliamentary system works in some respects inconveniently, as the Reichstag and Prussian Landtag are often in session at the same time, and many' persons are members of both. Where imperial and Prussian legislation come into conflict the latter must give way.
Local Government edit
For administrative purposes Prussia is divided into fourteen Provinzen or provinces, Regierungsbezirke or governmental departments, Stadtkreise or urban districts (circles), and Landkreise or rural districts. The city of Berlin and the district of Hohenzollern form provinces by themselves. Recent legislation has aimed at the encouragement of local government and the decentralization of administrative authority by admitting lay or popularly elected members to a share in the administration alongside of the government officials. Certain branches of administration, such as the care of roads and the poor, have been handed over entirely to local authorities, while a share is allowed them in all. In the province the government is represented by the Oberpräsident, whose jurisdiction extends over all matters affecting more than one department. He is assisted by a council. (Provinzialrat) consisting, besides himself as chairman, of one member appointed by government and five members elected by the provincial committee (Provinzialausschuss). The latter forms the permanent executive of the provincial diet (Provinzial-Landtag), which consists of deputies elected by the kreise or circles, and forms the chief provincial organ of local government. The Regierungsbezirk is solely a government division and is only indirectly represented in the scheme of local administration. The government authorities are the Regierungs-Präsident, who is at the head of the general internal administration of the department, and the Regierung or government board, which supervises ecclesiastical and educational affairs and exercises the function of the state in regard to the direct taxes and the domains and forests. The departmental president is also assisted by a Bezirksrat or district council, consisting of one official member and four others selected from inhabitants of the department by the provincial committee. Each. Landkreis has a Landrat, an office which existed in the mark of Brandenburg as early as the 16th century. He is aided by the Kreissausschuss, or executive committee of the Kreistag (the diet of the circle). The Landkreise include towns having less than 25,000 inhabitants, rural communes (Landgemeinden) and manors (Gutsbezirke). Stadtkreise are towns with more than 25,000 inhabitants; they have each a town council (Stadtverordnetenversammlung) elected on a three-class property suffrage. The practical executive is entrusted to the magistracy (Magistrat), which usually consists of a burgomaster, a deputy burgomaster (both paid officials), several unpaid members, and, where necessary, a few other paid members. The unpaid members hold office for six years; the paid members are elected for twelve years, and their election requires ratification from the state.
Down to the 1st of January 1900 (when the German civil code—Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch—was introduced) a threefold system of civil law had prevailed in Prussia, viz. the common law of Prussia (Landrecht), codified in 1794, in eastern and central xxii. 17 a Prussia, the German common law (Gemeines deutsches Recht) in Schleswig-Holstein, Hanover, and parts of the Rhine provinces, and the Code Napoléon generally on the Rhine and in Alsace-Lorraine. The bürgerliches Gesetzbuch has now put an end to the former anomalies. The criminal law was unified by the penal code (Strafgesetzbuch) of 1871 and the military penal code (militär. Strafgesetzbuch) of 1872. A new penal code, promulgated in 1850, did away with the old patrimonial or seigniorial jurisdiction, and the administration of justice is now wholly in the hands of government. The courts of lowest instance are the Amtsgerichte, in which sits a single judge, accompanied in penal cases by two Schöffen or lay assessors (a kind of jurymen, who vote with the judge). Cases of more importance are decided by the Landgerichte or county courts, in which the usual number of judges is three, while in important criminal cases a jury of twelve persons is generally empanelled. From the Landgerichte appeals may be made to the Oberlandesgerichte or provincial courts. The Oberlandesgericht at Berlin is named the Kammergericht and forms the final instance for summary convictions in Prussia, while all other cases may be taken to the supreme imperial court at Leipzig. The judges (Richter) are appointed and paid by the state, and hold office for life. After finishing his university career the student of law who wishes to become a judge or to practise as qualified counsel (Rechtsanwalt, barrister and solicitor in one) passes a government examination and becomes a Referendarius. He then spends at least four years in the practical work of his profession, after which he passes a second examination, and, if he has chosen the bench instead of the bar, becomes an Assessor and is eligible for the position of judge. A lawyer who has passed the necessary examinations may at any time quit the bar for the bench, and a judge is also at liberty to resign his position and enter upon private practice. In all criminal cases the prosecution is undertaken by government, which acts through Staatsanwälte, or directors of prosecutions, in the pay of the state.
The military organization of the monarchy dates from 1814 and provides that every man capable of bearing arms shall serve in the army for a certain number of years. The peace strength of the Prussian contingent of the imperial German army consisted, in 1905, of 20,646 officers (including surgeons), 448,365 men and 82,786 horses. There were also 2196 farriers and shoesmiths. (For Navy, see Germany).
The centre of the kingdom is solidly Protestant, the proportion of Roman Catholics increasing towards east and west and reaching its maximum on the Rhine and in the Slavonic provinces. East Prussia, however, with the exception of Ermeland, is Protestant. The Roman Catholics greatly outnumber the Protestants in the Rhine provinces (3 to 1), Posen, Silesia and West Prussia. All religious bodies are granted freedom of worship, and civil rights are not conditional upon religious confession.
The Evangelical or Protestant State Church of Prussia consists as it now stands of a union of the Lutherans and Calvinists, effected under royal pressure in 1817. According to the king this was not a fusion of two faiths but an external union for mutual admission to the Eucharist and for the convenience of using the same liturgy, prepared under the royal superintendence. Those who were unable from conscientious scruples to join the union became Separatist or Old Lutherans and Old Calvinists, but their numbers were and are insignificant. The king is “summus episcopus” or supreme pontiff of the Church, and is represented in the exercise of his ecclesiastical functions by the minister of public worship and instruction. The highest authority for the ordinary management of the Church is the Oberkirchenrat or supreme church council at Berlin, which acts through provincial consistories and superintendents appointed by the Crown. Recent legislation has made an effort to encourage self-government and give a congregational character to the Church by the granting of a presbyterial constitution, with parish, diocesan, provincial and general synods. The clergy are appointed by the Crown, by the consistories, by private or municipal patronage, or by congregational election.
The hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church in Prussia consists of two archbishops (Cologne, Gnesen-Posen) and ten bishops. The prince-bishop of Breslau and the bishops of Ermeland, Hildesheim and Osnabrück are directly under the pope, and the bishoprics of Fulda and Limburg are in the archiepiscopal diocese of Freiburg in Baden. The higher ecclesiastics receive payment from the state, and the annual appropriation appearing in the budget for the Roman Catholic Church is as high as that made for the State Church. All the Roman Catholic religious orders in Prussia have been suppressed except those occupied with attendance on the sick.
The relations of the state with the dissenting Christian sects, such as the Baptists, Mennonites and Moravian Brethren, are practically confined to granting them charters of incorporation which ensure them toleration. The Mennonites were formerly allowed to pay an extra tax in lieu of military service, which is inconsistent with their belief, but this privilege has been withdrawn. The Old Catholics number about 30,000, but do not seem to be increasing.
The Jews belong mainly to the urban population and form 20 to, 30% of the inhabitants in some of the towns in the Slavonic provinces. (For more exact details of the various religious creeds, see Germany.)
In Prussia education is compulsory, and the general level attained is very high. Every town or community must maintain a school, supported by local rates and under the supervision of the state. By the constitution of 1850, all persons are permitted to instruct, or to found teaching establishments, provided they can produce to; the authorities satisfactory proofs of their moral, scientific and technical qualifications. Both public and private educational establishments are under the surveillance of the minister of public instruction, and all public teachers are regarded as servants of the state (Staatsbeamte). No compulsion exists in reference to a higher educational institution than primary schools. All children must attend school from their sixth to their fourteenth year. At the head of the administration stands the minister of public instruction and ecclesiastical affairs, to whom also the universities are directly subordinated. The higher (secondary) schools are supervised by provincial Schulcollegia or school boards, appointed by government, while the management of the elementary and private schools falls within the jurisdiction of the ordinary Regierungen or civil government. This is carried out through qualified school inspectors, frequently chosen from among the clergy.
The expenses of the primary schools (Volksschulen) are borne by the communes (Gemeinden), aided when necessary by subsidies from the state. The subjects of instruction are theology, reading, writing, spelling, arithmetic, the elements of geometry, history, geography and natural science, singing, drawing, sewing and gymnastics. All fees in the elementary schools are abolished. The number of illiterate recruits among those called upon each year to serve in the army affords a good test of the universality of elementary education. In 1899 the proportion of Analphabeti, or men unable to read or write, among the recruits levied was only 0.12%. The teachers for the elementary schools are trained in normal seminaries or colleges established and supervised by the state, and much has been done of late years to improve their position. In most of the larger towns the elementary schools are supplemented by middle schools (Bürgerschulen, Stadtschulen), which carry on the pupil to a somewhat more advanced stage, and are partly intended to draw off the unsuitable elements from the higher schools.
The secondary schools of Prussia may be roughly divided into classical and modern, though there are comparatively few in which Latin is quite omitted. The classical schools proper consist of Gymnasia and Progymnasia, the latter being simply gymnasia wanting the higher classes. In these boys are prepared for the universities and the learned professions, and the full course lasts for nine years. In the modern schools, which are divided in the same way into Realgymnasia and Realprogynanasia, and also have a nine years’ course, Latin is taught, but not Greek, and greater stress is laid upon modern languages, mathematics and natural science. The three lower classes are practically identical with those of the gymnasia, while in the upper classes the thoroughness of training is assimilated as closely as possible to that of the classical schools, though the subjects are somewhat altered. Ranking with the realgymnasia are the Oberrealschulen, which differ only in the fact that Latin is entirely omitted, and the time thus gained devoted to modern languages. The Höhere (or upper) Bürgerschulen, in which the course is six years, rank with the middle schools above mentioned, and are intended mainly for those boys who wish to enter business life immediately on leaving school. All these secondary schools possess the right of granting certificates entitling the holders, who must have attained a certain standing in the school, to serve in the army as one-year volunteers. The gymnasial “certificate of ripeness” (Maturitätszeugniss), indicating that the holder has passed satisfactorily through the highest class, enables a student to enroll himself in any faculty at the university, but that of the realgymnasium qualifies only for the general or “philosophical” faculty, and does not open the way to medicine, the Church or the bar. Considerable efforts are, however, now being made to have the realgymnasium certificate recognized as a sufficient qualification for the study of medicine at least. At any of these schools a thoroughly good education may be obtained at a cost seldom exceeding, in the highest classes, £5 per annum. The teachers are men of scholarship and ability, who have passed stringent government examinations and been submitted to a year of probation. The great majority of the secondary schools have been established and endowed by municipal corporations.
Prussia possesses ten of the twenty German universities (not including the lyceum at Braunsberg and the Roman Catholic seminary at Münster). The largest Prussian university is that of Berlin, while Breslau, Bonn, Göttingen and Halle are the next in size. The oldest is the university of Greifswald, founded in 1456. Like the schools the universities are state institutions, and the professors are appointed and paid by government, which also makes liberal annual grants for apparatus and equipment. The full obligatory course of study extends over three, and in the case of medicine, four years. It is, however, not unusual for non-medical students also to spend four years at the university, and there is an agitation to make this compulsory. Students qualifying for a a Prussian government appointment are required to spend at least three terms or half-years (Semester) at a Prussian university.
Ranking with the universities are the large technical high schools at Berlin, Hanover, Aix-la-Chapelle and Danzig, the mining academies of Berlin and Klausthal, and the academies of forestry at Eberswalde and Munden; the agricultural high schools of Berlin and Poppelsdorf (Bonn) and the two veterinary high schools of Berlin and Hanover. Music is taught at several conservatoria, the best known of which are at Berlin and Frankfort-on-Main.
The science and art of Prussia find their most conspicuous external expression in the academies of science and art at Berlin, both founded by Frederick I.; and each town of any size throughout the kingdom has its antiquarian, artistic and scientific societies. Recognized schools of painting exist at Berlin and Dusseldorf, and both these towns, as well as Cassel, contain excellent picture galleries. The scientific and archaeological collections of Berlin are also of great importance. Besides the university collections, there are numerous large public libraries, the chief of which is the royal library at Berlin (1,000,000 volumes).
As in all civilized countries, the national accounts of Prussia expand by leaps and bounds, and they do this in spite of the advantage which the state derives from the possession of valuable revenue-yielding properties. Of these the most important are the railways. Next in point of revenue come the mines and salines. Then follow the state forests and the landed domains, though the income from this source is rapidly decreasing as agriculture declines. For 1905–1906 the public revenue and expenditure were estimated at £135,914,080. The principal sources of revenue are the railways, £81,268,493; domains and forests, £5,982,911; state lottery, £4,840,665; mines, &c., £10,585,875; direct taxes (principally income-tax), £11,505,365; indirect taxes, £4,789,965; administrative receipts, £8,410,684; and from the general financial control, £8,356,636. The chief items of the expenditure consist of payments for religion and education, £8,201,632; for justice, £6,260,330; working expenses, including £50,280,525 for working the state railways, £69,626,542; interest, &c., on public debt, £12,375,380; the ministry of finance, £6,585,722, and the ministry of the interior, £4,313,780. The public debt grew from £64,363,000 in 1872 to £360,447,654 in 5905. The greater part of this debt has been incurred in the purchase of the state railways.
See Jahrbuch für die amtliche Statistik des preussischen Staats, the Statistisches Jahrbuch für das deutsche Reich, and other publications of the statistical offices of Prussia and Germany. Good general accounts of the natural, social and political features of the country are given in Eiselen’s Der preussische Staat (Berlin, 1862) and in Daniel’s Handbuch der Geographie (several editions). The Prussian constitution and administrative system are concisely described in the Handbuch der Verfassung and Verwaltung in Preussen, by Graf Hue de Grais, and are treated at length in Von Ronne’s Staatsrecht der preussischen Monarchie (4th ed., 1881–1884), and in Arndt, Verfassungs-Urkunde far den preussischen Staat (Berlin, 1900). In addition, see Landeskunde Preussens (Berlin, 1901), edited by Beuermann. Various volumes of Forschungen zur deutschen Landesand Volkskunde, edited by Kirchhoff; British Diplomatic and Consular Reports; and James Baker, Report on Technical and Commercial Education in East Prussia, &c. (London, 1900).
The name of Prussia is derived from the dukedom of Prussia (the present province of East Prussia), which was raised into a kingdom by the emperor in favour of Frederick III., elector of Brandenburg, on the 18th of January 1701. The title “king of Prussia” applied at the outset only to Prussia proper, which formed no part of the Empire; in respect of his other dominions the king continued to bear titles (margrave, duke, &c.) which implied feudal subordination to the emperor. The extension of the style “kingdom of Prussia” so as to cover the whole of the territories, by whatever title held, of the electors of Brandenburg, was not, however, an empty assumption, but symbolized a new fact of first-class historic importance: the rise in Germany and in Europe of a new great power. The consolidation of this power had been the work of the Great Elector, the work of whose reign (1640–1688) laid the foundations of the modern Prussian state (see Frederick William I., elector of Brandenburg, and Brandenburg: History). The Great Elector’s son Elector Frederick III. was an ostentatious and somewhat frivolous prince, who hazarded the acquisitions of his father by looking on his position as assured and by aiming rather at external tokens of his dignity than at a further consolidation of the basis on which it rested. The Brandenburg troops fought in the war of the Frederick 1., second coalition against Louis XIV. and in that of Frederick the Spanish Succession; but neither the peace of Ryswick (1697) nor that of Utrecht (1713) brought the country any very tangible advantage. Brandenburg soldiers also helped the emperor in his wars with the Turks, and it was Frederick’s action in covering the Dutch frontier with 6000 troops which left William of Orange free scope in his expedition to England. The most notable incident in Frederick’s reign was, however, his acquisition of the title of king of Prussia, which had long formed the principal object of his policy. The emperor’s consent was finally purchased by the promise of a contingent of 8000 men to aid him in the War of the Spanish Succession, and on the 18th of January 1701 Frederick crowned himself at Konigsberg with accompanying ceremonies of somewhat inflated grandeur. Elector Frederick III. of Brandenburg became henceforth King Frederick I. of Prussia. Superficial as this incident may at first sight appear, it added considerably to the moral and political momentum of the country, if only by giving to the subjects of the Prussian crown a common name, and its advantages were reaped by Frederick’s two vigorous successors. About the same time (1697) the elector of Saxony also acquired the kingly dignity by his election to the throne of Poland, but in doing so he had to become a Roman Catholic, and thus left the Hohenzollerns without a rival among the Protestant dynasties of Germany. Frederick was extravagant; but he also did much for the intellectual life of the country, patronizing learned men, and founding the university of Halle (1694) and at Berlin the Academy of Arts (1699) and the Academy of Sciences (1700). Moreover, even under this improvident king the territory of Prussia increased. From Saxony the king bought the hereditary advocateship (Erbvogtei) of the Reichsstift of Quedlinburg, as well as the imperial city of Nordhausen, the bailiwick of Petersberg and the countship of Tecklenburg, while in 1702 he inherited from William III., of Orange-Lingen, Mors and Neuenburg.
The court of Vienna consoled itself for the growing power of Prussia under the Great Elector by the reflection that it was probably temporary and due mainly to the vigorous individuality of that prince. The events of Frederick I.’s reign seemed to justify this view. At his accession Prussia might fairly claim to rank as the second state of Germany, but before the death of Frederick, Bavaria, Saxony and Hanover all raised themselves to at least a level with Prussia. Frederick’s preoccupation in the western wars had allowed Sweden to reassert her pre-eminence in northern Europe, and it was Russia, and not Prussia, that now impeded her progress. The internal soundness of the country had also suffered: the finances were in a state of complete disorganization, and the burden of taxation was almost insupportable. If Frederick’s son and successor had not been a man of vigorous character the downhill progress might have continued until it had removed Prussia altogether from the list of important states.
The accession, on the 25th of February 1713, of Frederick William I. produced at once a complete change of system. The new king, whose literary education had been neglected, shared none of his father’s artistic tastes and had a complete contempt for the trappings of royalty. On the other hand, he possessed administrative Frederick William I., 1713–1740.talents of no mean order and was singularly painstaking, industrious and determined in carrying out his plans. By carefully husbanding his finances Frederick William filled his treasury and was able to keep on foot one of the largest and best disciplined armies in Europe, thereby securing for Prussia an influence in European councils altogether disproportionate to its size and population. In internal management he made Prussia the model state of Europe, though his administration was of a purely arbitrary type, in which the estates were never consulted and his ministers were merely clerks to register his decrees. His first act was to reform the expensive institutions of the court; and the annual allowance for the salaries and pensions of the chief court officials and civil servants was at once reduced from 276,000 to 55,000 thalers. The peace of Utrecht (1713) left Frederick William free to turn his attention to the northern war then raging between Sweden on the one side and Russia, Poland, and Denmark on the other. Though at first disposed to be friendly to Sweden, he was forced by circumstances to take up arms against it. In September 1713 Stettin was captured by the allies and handed over to the custody of Frederick William, who paid the expenses of the siege and undertook to retain possession of the town until the end of the war. But Charles XII. refused to recognize this arrangement and returned from his exile in Turkey to demand the immediate restitution of the town. With this demand the king of Prussia naturally declined to comply, unless the money he had advanced was reimbursed; and the upshot was the outbreak of the only war in which Frederick William ever engaged. The struggle was of short duration, and was practically ended in 1715 by the capture of Stralsund by the united Prussians, Saxons and Danes under the command of the king of Prussia. The Swedes were driven from Pomerania, and at the peace of 1720 Frederick William received the greater part of Swedish Pomerania, including the important seaport of Stettin. Sweden now disappeared from the ranks of the Great Powers, and Prussia was left without a rival in northern Germany.
A detailed history of Frederick William’s reign would necessitate the recital of a long and tedious series of diplomatic proceedings, centring in the question of the succession to the duchies of Jülich and Berg. The treaty of Wusterhausen between Austria and Prussia was concluded in 1726, and was confirmed with some modifications by the treaty of Berlin in 1728. Frederick William engaged to recognize the Pragmatic Sanction, while the emperor on his side undertook to support Prussia’s claims to Jülich and Berg. The policy of the latter, however, was far from straightforward, as he had already entered into a similar compact with the count palatine of Sulzbach, who was a Roman Catholic and therefore a more sympathetic ally. Frederick William’s intervention in the matter of the succession to the throne of Poland, rendered vacant by the death of Augustus II. in 1733, proved barren of advantage to Prussia and failed to secure the hoped-for reversion of the duchy of Courland. A Prussian contingent took part none the less in the ensuing war between Austria and France, but Austria concluded peace in 1735 without consulting her ally. In 1737 the king withstood the pressure brought to bear upon him by England, France, Holland and Austria to induce him to submit to their settlement of the Jülich-Berg question; and in 1739, convinced at least of the confirmed duplicity of the emperor, he turned to his hereditary enemy for help and concluded a defensive alliance with France. The rivalry between Austria and Prussia had begun, which for the rest of the century formed the pivot on which the politics of Europe mainly turned.
If the external history of Frederick William’s reign is not especially glorious, and if in diplomacy he was worsted by the emperor, the country at least enjoyed the benefits of a twenty-five years' peace and efficient government. During this reign the revenues of Prussia were doubled, and the king left at his death an accumulated treasure of 9,000,000 thalers and an army of 85,000 men. Though not rank ing higher than twelfth among the European states in extent and population, Prussia occupied the fourth place in point of military power. The king himself took the greatest interest in the management of his army, in which the discipline was of the strictest; and he carried the habits of the military martinet into all departments of the administration. His chief innovation was the abolition of the distinction between the military and the civil funds, and the assignment of the entire financial management of the country to a general directory of finance, war and domains. The directory was instructed to pay for everything out of a common fund, and so to regulate the expenditure that there should invariably be a surplus at the end of the year. As the army absorbed five-sevenths of the revenue, the civil administration had to be conducted with the greatest economy. The king himself set the example of the frugality which he expected from his officials, and contented himself with a civil list of 52,000 thalers (£7800). The domains were now managed so as to yield a greater income than ever before, and important reforms were made in the system of taxation. By the substitution of a payment in money for the obsolete military tenure the nobles were deprived of their practical exemption from taxation, and they were also required to pay taxes for all the peasant holdings they had absorbed. Attempts were made to better the condition of the peasants, and the worst features of villeinage were abolished in the Crown domains. The military system of cantonment, according to which each regiment was allotted a district in which to recruit, was of constitutional as well as military importance, since it brought the peasants into direct contact with the royal officials. The collection of the taxes of the peasantry was removed from the hands of the landowners. The duties of the state officials were laid down with great detail, and their performance was exacted with great severity. Justice seems to have been administered in an upright manner, though the frequent and often arbitrary infliction of the penalty of death by the king strikes us with astonishment. The agricultural and industrial interests of the country were fostered with great zeal. The most important industrial undertaking was the introduction of the manufacture of woollen cloth, the royal factory at Berlin supplying uniforms for the entire army. The commercial regulations, conceived in a spirit of rigid protection, were less successful. In the ecclesiastical sphere the king was able to secure toleration for the Protestants in other parts of Germany by reprisals on his own Roman Catholic subjects, and he also gave welcome to numerous Protestant refugees, including 18,000 exiled peasants from Salzburg (1732). He has the credit of founding the common-school system of Prussia and of making elementary education compulsory.
On the 31st of May 1740 Frederick William died, and was succeeded by his son as Frederick II., known in history as Frederick the Great. The young king at once resolved to use the well-filled treasury and well-disciplined army left to him by his father for the purpose of increasing the position of Prussia in Europe. The death of the emperor Charles VI., the last of the male line of the house of Habsburg, on the 10th of October 1740, gave him his opportunity, by raising the question of Maria Theresa’s right to succeed under the Pragmatic Sanction (see Charles VI., emperor; Maria Theresa; Austria-Hungary: History). Austrian duplicity in the matter of Jülich gave him a colourable pretext for his hostile attitude in reviving the long dormant claims of Prussia to the Silesian duchies. Within a year of his accession he had embarked on the Silesian War, and this was closely followed by the second, which ended in 1745, leaving Frederick in undisputed possession of almost the whole of Silesia, with the frontier that still exists. East Friesland, the Prussian claim to which dated from the time of the Great Elector, was absorbed in 1744 on the death without issue of the last duke. The two Silesian Wars completely exhausted the stores left by Frederick William, both of grenadiers and thalers, and Frederick gladly welcomed the interval of peace to amass new treasures and allow his subjects time to recover from their exertions. When the Seven Years' War broke out in 1756 he had an army of 150,000 men at his command, representing about one-seventh of the available male population of his little kingdom. He had also a fund of i i,000,000 thalers in his treasury, though this would have gone but a small way had he not been assisted by the subsidies of England and able to make the fertile plains of Saxony his chief basis of supply. (See Seven Years' War.) Though without gain in extent or population, Prussia emerged from the war as an undoubted power of the first rank, and henceforth completely eclipsed Saxony, Bavaria and Hanover, prussia while it was plain that Austria would no longer stand without a rival for the hegemony of the German Empire. The glorious victories over the French and Russians also awakened a spirit of German patriotism that had hitherto been almost unknown. But the price paid for these results was enormous. Of the 850,000 soldiers who, as is estimated, perished during the war about 180,000 fell in the service of Prussia, and the gross population of the kingdom had decreased in seven years to the extent of half a million souls. The misery and poverty indirectly attendant on the war were incalculable. The development of the country was thrown back for many years, which were almost a repetition of the period succeeding the Thirty Years' War. But while nearly a century elapsed before the traces of that struggle disappeared, Frederick repaired most of the ravages of the Seven Years' War in a tenth of the time. By great dexterity in the management of his finances he had kept clear of debt, and was soon able to advance large sums to the most impoverished districts. Foreign colonists were invited to repeople the deserted villages; taxes were in several instances remitted for a series of years; the horses of the army were employed in farm labour; and individual effort in every department was liberally supported by the government. By 1770 nearly all the ruined villages had been rebuilt; the ground was again under cultivation; order had been restored; the vacant offices had been filled; and the debased currency had been called in. Throughout the kingdom agriculture was encouraged by the drainage of marshy districts; industry was extended by the introduction of new manufactures, by bounties and by monopolies; and commerce was fostered by measures of protection. Frederick’s methods of administration did not greatly differ from those of his predecessor, though the unrelenting severity of Frederick William was relaxed and the peculiarities of his system toned down. Frederick’s own personal supervision extended to every department, and his idea of his position and duties made him his own first minister in the widest and most exacting sense of the term. His efforts to improve the administration and the bureaucracy were unceasing, and he succeeded in training a body of admirable public servants. One of his most sweeping reforms was in the department of law, where, with the able aid of the jurist Samuel von Cocceji (1679–1755), he carried out a complete revolution in procedure and personnel. One of the king’s first acts was to abolish legal torture, and he rarely sanctioned capital punishment except in cases of murder. The application of the privilegium de non appellando (1746) freed Prussia from all relations with the imperial courts and paved the way for a codification of the common law of the land, which was begun under Frederick but not completed till the end of the century. In matters of religion Frederick not only exercised the greatest toleration, remarking that each of his subjects might go to heaven after his own fashion, but distinctly disclaimed the connexion of the state with any one confession. Equal liberty was granted in speaking and writing. Though his finances did not allow him to do much directly for education, his example and his patronage of men of letters exercised a most salutary effect. The old system of rigid social privilege was, however, still maintained, and unsurmountable barriers separated the noble from the citizen and the citizen from the peasant. The paramount defect of Frederick’s administration, as future events proved, was the neglect of any effort to encourage independence and power of self-government among the people. Every measure emanated from the king himself, and the country learned to rely on him alone for help in every emergency.
In 1772 Prussia and Austria, in order to prevent an overweening growth of Russia, joined in the first partition of Poland. Frederick’s share consisted of West Prussia and the Netze district, which filled up the gap between the great mass of his territories and the isolated district of East Prussia. It had also this advantage over later acquisitions at Poland’s expense, that it was a thoroughly German land, having formed part of the colonizations of the Teutonic Order. In 1778 Prussia found herself once more in opposition to Austria on the question of the Bavarian succession, but the difficulty was adjusted without much bloodshed (see Potato War). The same question elicited the last action of importance in which Frederick engaged - the formation of a “Fürstenbund,” or league of German princes under Prussian supremacy, to resist the encroachments of Austria. The importance of this union was soon obscured by the momentous events of the French Revolution, but it was a significant foreshadowing of the duel of Austria and Prussia for the pre-eminence in Germany. Frederick died on the 17th of August 1786, having increased his territories to an area of 75,000 sq. m., with a population of five and a half millions. The revenue also had immensely increased and now amounted to about twenty million thalers annually, of which, however, thirteen were spent on the army. The treasury contained a fund of sixty million thalers, and the country was free of debt. (See Frederick II., King of Prussia.)
A continuation of the personal despotism under which Prussia had now existed for seventy years, as well as of its disproportionate influence in Europe, would have required a ruler with something of the iron will and ability of Frederick the Great. Unfortunately Frederick’s nephew and successor, Frederick William II., had neither the energy nor the insight that his position demanded. He was too undecided to adhere to the vigorous external policy of his predecessor, nor did he on the other hand make any attempt to meet the growing discontent by an internal movement of liberal reform. The rule of absolutism continued, though the power now. lay more in the hands of a “camarilla” or cabinet than in those of the monarch; and the statesmen who now came to the front were singularly short-sighted and inefficient. The freedom of religion and the press left by Frederick the Great was abrogated in 1788 by royal ordinance. In 1787 the army engaged in an expensive and useless campaign against Holland. The abandonment of Frederick’s policy was shown in a tendency to follow the lead of Austria, which culminated in an alliance with that power against revolutionary France. But in 1795 Prussia, suspicious of the Polish plans of Russia and Austria, concluded the separate peace of Basel, almost the only redeeming feature of which was the stipulation that all north German states beyond a certain line of demarcation should participate in its benefits. This practically divided Germany into two camps and inflicted a severe blow on the imperial system. The indifference with which Prussia relinquished to France German lands on the left bank of the Rhine, compared with her eagerness to increase her Slavonic territories on the east, was certainly one of the great blunders of the reign. Prussia’s share in the second and third partitions of Poland (1783 and 1795) nearly doubled her extent, but added little or nothing to her real power. The twelve years following the peace of Basel form one of the most sombre periods of the history of Prussia. Her prestige was lost by her persistent and ill-timed neutrality in the struggle with France; the old virtues of economy, order and justice disappeared from the bureaucracy; the army was gradually losing its excellence and was weakened rather than strengthened by the hordes of disaffected Polish recruits; the treasury was exhausted and a large debt incurred; the newly awakened feeling of German patriotism had died away, especially among the upper classes. (See Frederick William II., King Of Prussia.)
Frederick William III. possessed many virtues that did him credit in his private capacity, but he lacked the vigour that was at this juncture imperatively required from a ruler of Prussia, while he was unfortunately surrounded by counsellors who had as little conception as him self of Prussia’s proper role. Not even the high-handed occupation of Hanover by the French in 1803 could arouse him; and the last shred of self-respect seemed to have been parted with in 1805 when Prussia consented to receive Hanover, the property of its ally England, from the hands of France. The formation of the Confederation of the Rhine in 1806 and the intelligence that France had agreed to restore Hanover to England at last convinced Frederick William of what he had to fear from Napoleon; while Napoleon on his side, being now free of his other antagonists,Prussia and Napoleon. was only too glad of an opportunity to destroy his tool. Prussia declared war on the 9th of October 1806; and the short campaign that ensued showed that the army of Frederick the Great had lost its virtue, and that Prussia, single-handed, was no match for the great French commander. On the 14th of October the Prussian armies were overthrown at Jena and Auerstadt, and a total collapse set in. Disgraceful capitulations of troops and fortresses without a struggle followed one another in rapid succession; the court fled to East Prussia; and Napoleon entered Berlin in triumph. At the Peace of Tilsit (July 9, 1807) Frederick William lost half his kingdom, including all that had been acquired at the second and third partitions of Poland and the whole of the territory west of the Elbe. An enormous war indemnity was also demanded, and the Prussian fortresses were occupied by the French until this should be paid.
The next half-dozen years form a period of the greatest significance in the history of Prussia, embracing, as they do, the turning-point in the moral regeneration of the country. The disasters of 1806 elicited a strong spirit of patriotism, which was fanned by the exertions of the “Tugendbund,” or League of Virtue, and by the writings of men like Fichte and Arndt. The credit of the reformation belongs mainly to the great minister Stein, and in the second place to the chancellor Hardenberg. The condition on which Stein based his acceptance of office was itself of immense importance; he insisted that the system of governing through irresponsible cabinet councillors, which had gradually become customary, should cease, and that the responsible ministers of departments should be at once the confidential advisers and the executive agents of the king. Stein’s edict of 1807 abolished serfdom and obliterated the legal distinction of classes by establishing freedom of exchange in land and free choice of occupation. The “Städteordnung” of 1808 reformed the municipalities and granted them important rights of self-government. His administrative reforms amounted to a complete reconstruction of the ministerial departments and the machinery of provincial government, and practically established the system now in force. In 1810 Hardenberg, with a precipitancy which Stein would scarcely have approved, continued the reform in the condition of the peasants by making them absolute owners of part of their holdings, the landlords obtaining the rest as an indemnity for their lost dues. The army was also reorganized by Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, while the condition imposed by Napoleon that it should not exceed 42,000 men was practically evaded by replacing each body of men by another as soon as it was fairly versed in military exercises. The educational reforms of Wilhelm von Humboldt established the school system of Prussia on its present basis, and the university of Berlin was founded in 1809 (see Stein, H. F. C. Freiherr Von; Hardenberg, K. A. von).
Frederick William hesitated to take part in the Austrian rising in 1809, but his opportunity came in 1813, when Napoleon fled from Russia. General York, commander of the corps that Prussia had been obliged to contribute to the French expedition, anticipated the formal declaration of war by joining the Russians with his troops on his own responsibility (Dec. 30, 1812). On the outbreak of the war the people rose en masse and with the utmost enthusiasm. A treaty of alliance between Russia and Prussia was concluded at Kalisch, and Austria, after some hesitation, also joined the league against Napoleon. In the struggle that followed (see Napoleonic Campaigns) Prussia played one of the most prominent parts, and her general Blucher was the driving force of the allied armies. Between 1813 and the battle of Waterloo Prussia lost 140,000 men, and strained her financial resources to the utmost. As compensation she received at the Congress of Vienna Accessions the northern half of Saxon her old possessions west in Accessions of 1815.of the Elbe, Swedish Pomerania, the duchies of Berg and Jülich, and other districts in Westphalia and on the Rhine. The acquisitions of the last partition of Poland, with the exception of the grand-duchy of Posen, were resigned to Russia; Friesland went to Hanover, and Bavaria was allowed to retain Baireuth and Ansbach, which had come into her hands in 1806. This arrangement of the map did not wholly restore Prussia to its former extent, as its area was now only 108,000 sq. m. compared with 122,000 sq. m. at the beginning of 1806, but the substitution of German for Slav territory and the shifting of the centre of gravity towards the west more than made up for any slight loss in size. Hanover still formed a huge wedge splitting Prussia completely in two, and the western frontier was very ragged. Prussia’s position required caution, but forced upon it a national German policy; and the situation of the new lands was vastly more effectual in determining the future leader of Germany than was Austria’s aggrandisement in Italy.
The task that confronted Frederick William III. in 1815—that of welding together the heterogeneous elements assembled under Prussia his crown by the great congress—was one that would 1815. have taxed the statesmanship of a stronger man than he. after The population of Prussia had been more than doubled, and contained.. besides 2,000,000 Slays, people of every German race; and, as an additional problem, the annexation of the Rhine provinces had raised the number of Roman Catholic subjects of the most Protestant of the German monarchies to some two-fifths of the whole. On the 3rd of June 1814 the king had issued a cabinet order promising on his return to give a decision as to a Question of national constitution, and this promise had been repeated in proclamations at Danzig and Posen (May 1815) and in the patent addressed to the new Saxon provinces on the 22nd of May: in addition to the provincial estates there was to be a national Diet for the whole country. When, however, the work of drawing up the constitution was put in hand, it soon became clear that it would meet with extraordinary difficulties. Liberalism was as yet a force only in the professional classes; the provinces, proud of their traditions, were 10th to be merged in a common organization (Pomeranians and Silesians are described in contemporary documents as “nations”); above all,. there was the fundamental antagonism, by no means extinct even now, between the old eastern provinces, with their strong feudal spirit, and the new western provinces, in which the ideas of the Revolution had gained a permanent ascendancy; and of all these conflicting tendencies, one only was organized into a compact body of opinion: the ultra-conservative feudal landowners (Junker) of the mark of Brandenburg, “heartless, wooden, half-educated people,” as Stein called them, “fit only to be turned into corporals or calculating machines,” but for all that the very backbone of the traditional Prussian monarchy.
In spite of all the king would probably have granted a constitution, but for the ill-timed alarums and excursions of the Liberal Turnvereine and Burschenschaften. The trials and humiliations he had passed through during the revolutionary epoch had left him in a condition of nervous apprehension, Pan-German Agitation. Reaction in Prussia.which the Wartburg festival of October 1818 (Kamptz’s Police Laws, an uhlan’s stays and a corporal’s cane—symbols of Prussian methods—had been committed to the flames) and the murder of Kotzebue turned into reactionary panic. Metternich, who had never ceased to warn the king of the peril to the Prussian monarchy which would result from a central representative system, seized the opportunity; under his influence in October 1819, Frederick William by signing the Carlsbad Decrees definitely committed himself to the Austrian system of “stability.” It was not, however, till the 11th of June 1821 that the king finally decided to postpone the constitution, and to summon a commission to organize a system of provincial estates, which were created by royal patent on the 5th of June 1823. For the rest, the question of a constitution was not again raised during the king’s reign, and for years the Prussian police engaged in the congenial task of “demagogue hunting” (Demagogenhetzerei), popular heroes like Jahn and Arndt being haled to prison on frivolous charges, and even Gneisenau and Scharnhorst surrounded with spies.
Meanwhile, by an ordinance of the 10th of April 1814 the kingdom had been divided into eight provinces, each province into government districts (Regierungsbezirke), and these again into “circles” administered by a Landrat (landrätliche Kreise). At the head of each Regierungsbezirk was a government board responsible to the Oberpräsident, who was responsible in his turn to the ministry under the chancellor. On the 10th of March 1817 was created a council of state (Staatsrat) consisting of the royal princes, high officials and a certain number of members nominated by the king, whose function was to supervise the administration and discuss projects of legislation. Its immediate tasks were to bring the new provinces into harmony with the Prussian system and to set order into the disorganized finances. Both problems were solved in a manner that did credit to the Prussian bureaucracy. By 1820, in spite of the damage caused by the war and of the exhaustion of the country, the financial situation was satisfactory, the king having contributed to this result by surrendering the Crown domains to the state, reserving only a charge of 2,500,000 thalers, the so-called Kronfideikommissfonds. The reconciliation of the new provinces to the new order was a matter of even more difficulty, notably in the case of the population of the Rhine districts, which had been accustomed to the easy-going methods and light taxation of the ecclesiastical princes. They were, however, to a certain extent reconciled by the wise liberality which left to them many of their peculiar institutions, e.g. the Code Napoléon in the Rhine provinces. Most burdensome of all was the law of the 3rd of September 1814 introducing universal military service and organizing the Landwehr; but it was precisely this which was to be the strongest factor in welding Prussia together and making her supreme in Germany.
Of all the reforms the most far-reaching was the creation, on the 1st of January 1834, of the famous customs union or Zollverein, which was to become the material basis of Prussia’s influence in Germany. (For details see Germany: History, xi. 865.)
In educational matters also the government achieved results of lasting value. The university of Bonn was founded, the others were reorganized; numerous Gymnasien were built and above all elementary education was made universal and compulsory. Less happy was Frederick William’s attempt to adjust the religious differences of his subjects with the corporal’s cane. In 1817, the tercentenary of the Reformation, a royal decree announced that henceforth Lutherans and Reformed were to unite in one “Evangelical Church,” the public use of the name “Protestant” being officially forbidden. The so-called Old Lutherans,who refused to conform, were forbidden to found a separate community, and refractory pastors were dragooned and imprisoned. A quarrel also broke out with the Roman Catholic Church on the question of “mixed marriages,” which culminated in 1837 in the imprisonment of Baron Droste zu Vischering (q.v.), archbishop of Cologne, and of the archbishop of Posen.
In foreign politics, too, Prussia played but a secondary role after 1815. The king either attended, or was represented at, the various congresses up to that of Verona in 1822, but his sole idea was to support the views of Metternich, and later, those of the emperor Nicholas I. of Russia. (See Europe: History.)
Frederick William III. died on the 7th of June 1840. In spite of his faults, he had accomplished great things for Prussia, and his kindness of heart, his devotion to duty and the memory of his sufferings maintained his personal popularity to the last (see Frederick William III., King of Prussia). Of his son and successor, Frederick William IV., great things ,were expected, since his talents were undeniable and he had gained as crown prince a reputation for Liberalism. One of his first acts was to liberate Jahn and the imprisoned archbishops, to reinstate Arndt in office and to issue a general amnesty (Aug. 10, 1840). Five years later he allowed the Old Lutherans liberty to set up a Church of their own. But in spite of these promising beginnings, it was soon clear that the king was wholly out of touch with the ideas of modern Liberalism. In spite of the warnings of the emperor Nicholas I. and of Metternich, he sought to satisfy the cry for a constitution by issuing on the 13th of February 1847 a patent summoning the “united Diet” for Prussia—that is to say, a mere “concentration” of the provincial Diets. The story of the contest that followed between the Crown and the people is outlined elsewhere (see Germany). It is only necessary to give here some account of the constitutional development in Prussia itself.
The most important landmark in this respect was the law promulgated after the dissolution of the lower house of the revolutionary National Assembly on the 27th of April 1849. This law, which was only slightly modified by the electoral reform law of 1910, divided the parliamentary electors into three classes, their voting power being determined by property qualifications or by official and professional position. In the elections that followed, the disgusted democrats took no part, with the result that the chambers that met on the 7th of August 1849 were strongly Conservative and made no difficulty about revising the democratic constitution of 1848 in accordance with the royal wishes. The constitution, thus amended, was proclaimed on the 31st of January 1851, and has remained substantially that of Prussia ever since. Its immediate effect was an extraordinary series of reactionary measures, e.g. the restoration of the old manorial courts and of the provincial estates (1850). The actual constitution of the parliament as consisting of a House of Lords (Herrenhaus) and House of Delegates (Abgeordnetenhaus) was fixed in 1854, and in this assembly the dominant element continued to be that of the Prussian Junkertum or squirearchy, which supported the king and his government in all their reactionary efforts.
So far as the internal history of Prussia is concerned, little was altered by the substitution of William as regent for his brother, now hopelessly mad, in 1858. The new ruler, who became king in 1861 shared to the full his predecessor’s views as to the divine right of the Prussian crown. He was prepared to accept the established constitutional forms, but he was not prepared to sacrifice to them what he firmly believed to be the divinely appointed mission of Prussia in Germany. Bismarck, who became prime minister in 1862, fully shared his master’s views. He realized, what the lower house did not, that the German question could only be settled as the result of a trial of strength between Prussia and Austria and that therefore it was necessary for Prussia to spend money on armaments; and, since he could not give his real reasons to the parliament and the parliament refused to accept the reasons he did give, he raised the necessary funds in defiance of the votes of the House of Delegates. The result justified him in the eyes of the Prussian people. Bismarck’s policy, culminating in the war of 1866, left Prussia the undisputed mistress of Germany (see Schleswig-Holstein Question; and Germany: History). By the Treaty of Prague (Aug. 23, 1866) Prussia acquired Hanover, Hesse-Cassel, Hesse-Nassau, Frankfort and the duchies of Schleswig-Holstein and Lauenburg; her territory had been Treaty of increased by one-fifth and became for the first time Prague, satisfactorily rounded off and compacted; by the 1866. acquisition of the Elbe duchies, too, she laid the foundations of her future sea-power. In 1871 as the result of the German victory over France the king of Prussia became German Emperor.
From 1867 onward Prussia has had from the point of view of international politics no existence apart from the North German Federation and the German Empire; and even in internal affairs her preponderance and influence in Germany have been overwhelming. For all practical purposes the German Empire has been Prussia Empire. and, however much the still surviving particularist feeling of the lesser states has resented the process, the “Prussification,” in greater or less degree, of all Germany was inevitable from the moment that the great imperial departments - army, customs, posts, railways - were placed under Prussian authority or conformed to the Prussian model. With this particular expansion of Prussia, however, we are not concerned, but solely with the internal development of the Prussian kingdom itself. The main tasks that lay before the government after 1870 were the assimilation of the new provinces, the reorganization of the administration, the economic development of the country, the settlement of the questions arising out of the attitude of the Roman Catholics on the one hand and the Social Democrats on the other. On the whole the new German after 1870. provinces accepted their fate with equanimity, though in Hanover especially the deposed dynasty continued to command a considerable following of which the ablest spokesman was Windthorst (q.v.). Since the dispossessed princes refused to resign their claims, the large sum of money which had been assigned to them by the Prussian parliament was, so early as March 1868, sequestrated, and, under the name of the Guelph Fund (Welfenfonds), formed a secret service supply highly convenient for Bismarck’s purposes. More difficult was the task, rashly undertaken by the government, of germanizing the Danish parts of Schleswig-Holstein and the Polish districts in the eastern provinces, a task which after thirty years of effort shows but very small results (see Schleswig-Holstein Question, ad fin.; and Posen).
Closely connected with the Polish question was the quarrel with the Roman Catholic Church, known as the Kulturkampf, of which Prussia was the focus (see Germany: History, xi. 880 seq.). The anti-Vatican policy, associated especially with the name of the minister Falk, necessitated an alliance of the government with the Liberals, and this led to a policy of at least administrative reform. The present administrative system (Kreisordnung) of Prussia was introduced in 1872 for certain provinces, but not extended to the whole kingdom until 1888, when it was applied to Posen. The Liberalism of the Prussian parliament was, however, of a very lukewarm temper; and when in 1878–1879 Bismarck decided to reverse the fiscal policy of the country and to pass repressive legislation against the Social Democrats, the Liberals, were not strong enough to offer an effective resistance. In 1879 the moderate Liberal ministry resigned, and was succeeded by a Conservative. cabinet, in which the most conspicuous figure was Robert von Puttkammer (q.v.). Henceforth the government depended for parliamentary support on a union of the National Liberals and Conservatives or of the Conservatives and Ultramontanes. An eventual understanding with the Holy See was inevitable, though the Kulturkampf was not actually settled until 1888, when the Prussian government, assisted by the diplomatic attitude of Pope Leo XIII., came to terms with Rome. Meanwhile in 1879 the era of Bismarck’s experiments in state socialism had begun by the purchase by the state of three of the great railways, thus laying the foundation of the present system of state railways in Prussia.
On the 9th of March 1888 William I. died. His successor, Frederick III., only lived till the 15th of June, the sole important act of his reign being the dismissal of Puttkammer. Under his successor William II. the development of Prussian Frederick affairs continued on the lines laid down under William the main difference being that, after the fall of Bismarck (March 20, 1890), the old antagonism between the unrepresented masses and the government tended to change into one between these masses and the 1888. Crown. For while in the unreformed parliament the squirearchy was still disproportionately represented, Socialism—denounced by the king-emperor as treason against himself and the country—spread rapidly Reform, among the unrepresented population. Discontent grew apace, and the trouble culminated in 1908 and 1909. In 1906 a bill raising the number of members of the Diet from 433 to 443 and effecting an unimportant redistribution Social of seats had been passed, but a Radical amendment in favour of direct and universal suffrage and the secret ballot had been rejected by a large majority. In 1907 the elections for the Reichstag resulted in a remarkable defeat of the Socialist forces, and this had its effect in Prussia also. In 1908 a resolution in favour of universal suffrage was again brought forward. It was opposed by Prince Billow, the German chancellor, and was rejected by a large majority. Riots followed in Berlin and demonstrations in favour of reform throughout the country, and at the new elections in June seven Socialist members were returned—a portentous phenomenon under the actual franchise. In the session of 1909 the reform resolution was again brought forward, and again thrown out by the Conservative majority.
Demonstrations and collisions with the police followed in most of the large Prussian towns, and in October four of the Socialist members returned in 1908 who had been unseated on technical grounds were re-elected. It became clear to the government that some sop must be thrown to popular opinion, and accordingly in the speech from the throne delivered on the 1th of January 1910 the king-emperor announced a measure of franchise reform. The agitation, however, continued, and the terms of the bill when it was introduced by Herr von Bethmann-Hollweg on the 10th of February were not such as to conciliate opposition. The chancellor and minister-president adhered to the principles enunciated by his predecessor; the bill retained the triple class division of voters, public voting and plural votes; the voting, however, was to be direct and certain changes were suggested giving less to the moneyed interest and more to the professional classes. A furious agitation at once arose all over the country, culminating in a series of Socialist demonstrations on the 14th in Berlin and elsewhere; owing to the elaborate police precautions there was, however, no serious disturbance; but on the evening of the 18th there was street fighting between rioters and police in Frankfort. Meanwhile, on the 13th, the bill had been referred to a committee of the Diet. No party was satisfied with it; the Berlin municipality petitioned for its entire rejection; but its fate was ultimately determined by an agreement between the representatives of the Conservative and Catholic Centre parties on the committee, the latter agreeing to support the retention of indirect voting on condition of the former declaring in favour of the secret ballot (Feb. 22). In this sense the committee ultimately reported, in spite of the government’s efforts to retain public voting and to concede direct election, and on the 14th of March the bill in this shape passed its second reading. On the 16th the third reading was carried, all the parties except the Conservatives and the Centre voting against it; Herr von Bethmann-Hollweg accepted the bill on behalf of the government, merely reserving the right to amend it in matters of detail. Demonstrations and riots in various centres showed how far this result was from satisfying the popular demands. Thus Prussia retained, in contradistinction to the South German states, its traditional character, as a land ruled from above, the monarchy and the bureaucracy basing their authority not on the will of the people, but partly on divine right and partly on the middle-class terror of the social revolution, while as its ultimate sanction there remained the tremendous power of the king of Prussia as supreme "war lord" of Germany. It remained to be seen how long these conditions could last in a country which, during the tremendous material expansion of the period following the war, had developed an immense industrial population which saw, or thought it saw, its interests sacrificed to the agricultural classes, with their traditional feudalism and inherited loyalty to the Prussian system.
Bibliography.—For sources see K. Kletke, Quellenkunde der Gesch. des preuss. Staates (Berlin, 1858–1861): Bd. i. Schriftsteller, Bd. ii. Urkunden-Repertorium; and F. Zurbonsen, Quellenbuch zur brandenburg-preuss. Gesch. (Berlin, 1889), Zeitschr. far preussische Gesch. (ibid. 1864–1883), Forschungen zur. preuss. Gesch. (Leipzig, 1888 sqq.). Records of the Prussian government in the 18th century are being published under the title of Ada borussica (Berlin, 1892 sqq.). Among important general works may be mentioned Ranke, Zwolf Bucher preussischer Gesch., 5 vols. to 1745 (2nd ed., Leipzig, 1878); Droysen, Gesch. der preussischen Politik, 5 parts in 15 vols. to 1756 (Berlin and Leipzig, 1855–1885); H. G. Prutz, Preussische Geschichte, 4 vols. to 1888 (Stuttgart, 1900–1902); and for constitutional history, C. Bornhak, Preussische Staatsand Rechtsgeschichte (Berlin, 1903) Of the many works devoted to special periods Treitschke’s Deutsche Geschichte im 19. Jahrhundert (Leipzig, 1879–1894), in spite of its strong Prussian bias, is especially valuable for the period up to 1848, when it breaks off. See also the lists of books attached to the biographies of the various Prussian kings and statesmen.
- Strictly speaking, the title assumed was “king in Prussia” (König in Preussen), this apparently being meant to indicate that there was still a Prussia (West Prussia) of which he was not king, though it has also been otherwise explained.
- By the treaty of Utrecht, to which King Frederick William I. acceded on the 15th of May 1713, Prussia received upper Gelderland in exchange for the principality of Orange, and the king’s title was acknowledged by the European powers.
- Previous to this measure the distinction between “noble,” “burgher,” and “peasant” land and occupations was strictly observed, and no transition of property or employment from one class to another was possible.
- The patrimonial jurisdiction of the landowners was not taken away till 1848.
- Prince Schönaich-Carolath pointed out in 1908 that 314,000 Socialist voters were entirely unrepresented, while 324,000 Conservative voters returned 143 members, and that the propertied and agrarian section of the community returned over 300 members, the remainder only some 130 (Annual Register, 1908, p. 280).
- His speech is reported in The Times of the 11th of February 1910.