The New International Encyclopædia/Gneist, Rudolf von

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GNEIST, gnīst, Rudolf von (1816-95). A German jurist and statesman, born in Berlin, August 13, 1816. He was graduated from the University of Berlin, and while occupying the post of lecturer in the university practiced the profession of law. In 1844 he became professor extraordinary of jurisprudence, and in 1850 he resigned his position as assistant judge of the Superior Court to devote himself more exclusively to teaching. In 1858 he became a member of the Lower Prussian House, where he served till 1893. He was prominent as a Liberal in that body and in the Reichstag, of which he was a member from 1867 to 1884. Gneist was an active member of the Liberal opposition, and subsequently of the National Liberal Party, among whom his profound scholarship made him an intellectual leader. Several of his ablest works relate to the English Constitution, which he greatly admired, and which he studied and cited as a model in the discussion of German affairs. His first notable work was Geschichte und heutige Gestalt der Aemter in England (1857). Other important works of special interest to English students, and appearing in English translations, are: Englische Verfassungsgeschichte (1882) and Das Englische Parlament (1886). He also wrote Der Rechtsstaat (1872), and numerous other works on the history of jurisprudence and legislation. Consult Gierke, Rudolf von Gneist (Berlin, 1895).