Page:EB1911 - Volume 22.djvu/543

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527
PRUSSIA


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. E""°"”°" In 1817, the tercentenary of the Reformation, a royal md decree announced that henceforth Lutherans and Re-R°”g1°"° formed were to unite in one “Evangelical Church, ” the public use of the name “ Protestant ” being officially forbidden. l' he 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

ischering (q.v.), archbishop of Cologne, and of the archbishop of

osen.

In foreign politics, too, Prussia played but a secondary role after 181 5. 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 EUROPE1HfSf07y.) 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 or PRUSSIA). Of his son Frederick and successor, Frederick William IV., great things Will!-!mIV-, were expected, since his talents were undeniable 840"86" and he had gained as crown prince a reputation for Liberalism. One of his first acts was to liberate ]ahn and the imprisoned archbishops, to reinstate Arndt in office and to issue a general amnesty (Aug. Io, 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 Emora, revolutionary National Assembly on the 27th of Law 0,1349 April 1849. This law, which was only slightly modified and Constl- by the electoral reform law of 1910, divided the parlia"“°” °' mentary electors into three classes, their voting power l85l. . .

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 wmlaml brother, now hopelessly mad, in 1858. The new 86H888;' 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 Bismarck 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: H is-tory). 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.

5, 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 Pmssi” in in Germany have been overwhelming. For all practi- “'“G'”""'" cal purposes the German Empire has been Prussia Empire and, however much the still surviving particulari st 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 conormed 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 P"'”"" Roman Catholics on the one hand and the Social Demo- P'°M°'"" crats on the other. On the whole the new German an" 1870 provinces accepted their fate with equanimity, though in -Hanover es ecially the deposed dynasty continued to command a considerable following of which the ablest spokesman was Windthorst (g.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 (Welfenfomis), 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 The K“It'"" especially with the name of the minister Falk, necessi- “mv” cated an alliance of the government with the Liberals, and this led to a policy of at least administrative reform. The present administrative system (Kreisordmmg) 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, I””;'°f“° the Liberals were not strong enough to offer an effective iw” resistance. In 1879 the moderate Liberal ministry Remcffraqy resigned, and was succeeded by a Conservative cabinet, ea °" 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 Kullurkampf was not actually settled until 1888, when the Prussian government, assisted by the diplomatic st t attitude of Pope Leo XIII., came to terms wit Rome. sais" Meanwhile in 1879 the era of Bismarck's experiments °° sm 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,