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The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Achenwall, Gottfried

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ACHENWALL, Gottfried, ä′ʜen-väl, got′frēd, German statistician: b. Elbing, 20 Oct. 1719; d. Göttingen, 1 May 1772. He studied at Jena, Halle and Leipzig, and became professor, of philosophy, and later of law at Göttingen. In economics he belongs to the school of “moderate mercantilists”; but it is in statistics that he holds a really high place. The work by which he is best known is his ‘Constitution of the Present Leading European States’ (1752). In this he gives a comprehensive view of the constitutions of the various countries, describes the condition of their agriculture, manufactures and commerce, and frequently supplies statistics in relation to these subjects. German economists claim for him the title of “Father of Statistics”; but English writers dispute this, asserting that it ignores the prior claims of Petty and other earlier writers on the subject. He gave currency to the term Staatswissenschaft (politics), which he proposed should mean all the knowledge necessary to statecraft or statesmanship.