Friedrich Christoph Dahlmann

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Friedrich Christoph Dahlmann

Friedrich Christoph Dahlmann (13 May 1785, Wismar  5 December 1860, Bonn) was a German historian and politician.

Wismar Place in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany

Wismar is a port and Hanseatic city in Northern Germany on the Baltic Sea, in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. It is located about 45 kilometres east of Lübeck and 30 kilometres north of Schwerin, and is part of the Hamburg Metropolitan Region. Its natural harbour, located in the Bay of Wismar, is protected by a promontory. The population was 42,219 in 2013. It is the capital of the district of Nordwestmecklenburg.

Bonn Place in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

The Federal City of Bonn is a city on the banks of the Rhine in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, with a population of over 300,000. About 24 km (15 mi) south-southeast of Cologne, Bonn is in the southernmost part of the Rhine-Ruhr region, Germany's largest metropolitan area, with over 11 million inhabitants. It is famously known as the birthplace of Ludwig Van Beethoven in 1770. Beethoven spent his childhood and teenage years in Bonn.

Germany Federal parliamentary republic in central-western Europe

Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north, and the Alps to the south. It borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, and Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to the west.



He came of an old Hanseatic family of Wismar, then controlled by Sweden. His father, who was burgomaster of the town, intended him to study theology, but Friedrich preferred classical philology, which he studied from 1802 to 1806 at the University of Copenhagen, University of Halle, and then again at Copenhagen. After finishing his studies, he translated some of the Greek tragic poets, and The Clouds of Aristophanes. But he was also interested in modern literature and philosophy; and the troubles of the times, of which he had personal experience, aroused in him a strong feeling of German patriotism, though throughout his life he was always proud of his connection with Scandinavia, and Gustavus Adolphus was his particular hero. [1]

Hanseatic League Confederation in Northern Europe

The Hanseatic League was a commercial and defensive confederation of merchant guilds and market towns in Northwestern and Central Europe. Growing from a few North German towns in the late 1100s, the league came to dominate Baltic maritime trade for three centuries along the coasts of Northern Europe. Hansa territories stretched from the Baltic to the North Sea and inland during the Late Middle Ages, and diminished slowly after 1450.

Sweden constitutional monarchy in Northern Europe

Sweden, officially the Kingdom of Sweden, is a Scandinavian Nordic country in Northern Europe. It borders Norway to the west and north and Finland to the east, and is connected to Denmark in the southwest by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund, a strait at the Swedish-Danish border. At 450,295 square kilometres (173,860 sq mi), Sweden is the largest country in Northern Europe, the third-largest country in the European Union and the fifth largest country in Europe by area. Sweden has a total population of 10.2 million of which 2.4 million has a foreign background. It has a low population density of 22 inhabitants per square kilometre (57/sq mi). The highest concentration is in the southern half of the country.

Burgomaster Archaic term for a mayor

Burgomaster is the English form of various terms in or derived from Germanic languages for the chief magistrate or executive of a city or town. The name in English was derived from the Dutch burgemeester. In some cases, Burgomaster was the title of the head of state and head of government of a sovereign city-state, sometimes combined with other titles, such as Hamburg's First Mayor and President of the Senate). Contemporary titles are commonly translated into English as mayor.

In 1809, on the outbreak of war in Austria, Dahlmann, together with the poet Heinrich von Kleist, whom he had met in Dresden, went to Bohemia, and was afterwards with the Imperial army, up till the Battle of Aspern, with the somewhat vague object of trying to convert the Austrian war into a German one. This hope was shattered by the defeat of Wagram. [1]

Heinrich von Kleist German poet, dramatist, novelist and short story writer

Bernd Heinrich Wilhelm von Kleist was a German poet, dramatist, novelist, short story writer and journalist. His best known works are the theatre plays Das Käthchen von Heilbronn, The Broken Jug, Amphitryon, Penthesilea and the novellas Michael Kohlhaas and The Marquise of O. Kleist committed suicide together with a close female friend who was terminally ill.

Dresden Place in Saxony, Germany

Dresden is the capital city and, after Leipzig, the second-largest city of the Free State of Saxony in Germany. It is situated in a valley on the River Elbe, near the border with the Czech Republic.

Bohemia Historical land in Czech Republic

Bohemia is the westernmost and largest historical region of the Czech lands in the present-day Czech Republic. In a broader meaning, Bohemia sometimes refers to the entire Czech territory, including Moravia and Czech Silesia, especially in a historical context, such as the Lands of the Bohemian Crown ruled by Bohemian kings.

He now decided to try his fortunes in Denmark, where he had influential relations. After taking his doctor's degree at Wittenberg (1810) he qualified at Copenhagen in 1811, with an essay on the origins of the ancient theatre, as a lecturer on ancient literature and history, on which he delivered lectures in Latin. His influential friends soon brought him further advancement. As early as 1812 he was summoned to Kiel, as successor to the historian Dietrich Hermann Hegewisch (1746–1812). This appointment proved in two respects a decisive moment in his career; on the one hand it made him give his whole attention to a subject for which he was admirably suited, but to which he had so far given only a secondary interest; and on the other hand, it threw him into politics. [1]

Denmark constitutional monarchy in Europe

Denmark, officially the Kingdom of Denmark, is a Nordic country and the southernmost of the Scandinavian nations. Denmark lies southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and is bordered to the south by Germany. The Kingdom of Denmark also comprises two autonomous constituent countries in the North Atlantic Ocean: the Faroe Islands and Greenland. Denmark proper consists of a peninsula, Jutland, and an archipelago of 443 named islands, with the largest being Zealand, Funen and the North Jutlandic Island. The islands are characterised by flat, arable land and sandy coasts, low elevation and a temperate climate. Denmark has a total area of 42,924 km2 (16,573 sq mi), land area of 42,394 km2 (16,368 sq mi), and the total area including Greenland and the Faroe Islands is 2,210,579 km2 (853,509 sq mi), and a population of 5.8 million.

Latin Indo-European language of the Italic family

Latin is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. The Latin alphabet is derived from the Etruscan and Greek alphabets and ultimately from the Phoenician alphabet.

University of Kiel university

Kiel University is a university in the city of Kiel, Germany. It was founded in 1665 as the Academia Holsatorum Chiloniensis by Christian Albert, Duke of Holstein-Gottorp and has approximately 27,000 students today. Kiel University is the largest, oldest, and most prestigious in the state of Schleswig-Holstein. Until 1864/66 it was not only the northernmost university in Germany but at the same time the 2nd largest university of Denmark. Faculty, alumni, and researchers of the Kiel University have won 12 Nobel Prizes. Kiel University is a member of the German Universities Excellence Initiative since 2006. The Cluster of Excellence The Future Ocean, which was established in cooperation with the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel in 2006, is internationally recognized. The second Cluster of Excellence "Inflammation at Interfaces" deals with chronic inflammatory diseases. The Kiel Institute for the World Economy is also affiliated with Kiel University.

In 1815 he obtained, in addition to his professorate, the position of secretary to the perpetual deputation of the estates of Schleswig-Holstein. In this capacity he began, by means of memoirs or of articles in the Kieler Bldlter, which he founded himself, to appear as an able and zealous champion of the half-forgotten rights of the Elbe duchies, as against Denmark, and of their close connexion with Germany. It was he upon whom the Danes afterwards threw the blame of having invented the Schleswig-Holstein question; certainly his activities form an important link in the chain of events which eventually led to the solution of 1864. So far as this interest affected himself, the chief profit lay in the fact that it deepened his conception of the state, and directed it to more practical ends. Whereas at that time mere speculation dominated both. the French Liberalism of the school of Rotteck, and Karl Ludwig von Haller's Romanticist doctrine of the Christian state, Dahlmann took as his premises the circumstances as he found them, and evolved the new out of the old by a quiet process of development. Moreover, in the inevitable conflict with the Danish crown his upright point of view and his German patriotism were further confirmed. [1]

Schleswig-Holstein State in Germany

Schleswig-Holstein is the northernmost of the 16 states of Germany, comprising most of the historical duchy of Holstein and the southern part of the former Duchy of Schleswig. Its capital city is Kiel; other notable cities are Lübeck and Flensburg.

Elbe major river in Central Europe

The Elbe is one of the major rivers of Central Europe. It rises in the Krkonoše Mountains of the northern Czech Republic before traversing much of Bohemia, then Germany and flowing into the North Sea at Cuxhaven, 110 km (68 mi) northwest of Hamburg. Its total length is 1,094 kilometres (680 mi).

Liberalism is a political and moral philosophy based on liberty and equal rights. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but they generally support limited government, individual rights, capitalism, democracy, secularism, gender equality, racial equality, internationalism, freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of religion.

After transferring to Göttingen around 1829 he had the opportunity of working in the same spirit. As confidant of the duke of Cambridge, he was allowed to take a share in framing the Hanoverian constitution of 1833, which remodelled the old aristocratic government in a direction which had become inevitable since the July revolution in Paris; and when in 1837 the new king Ernst August declared the constitution invalid, Dahlmann inspired the famous protest of the seven professors of Göttingen. Though deprived of his position and banished, he had the satisfaction of knowing that German national feeling received a boost from his courageous action, while public subscriptions saved him from poverty. [1]

University of Göttingen university in the city of Göttingen, Germany

The University of Göttingen is a public research university in the city of Göttingen, Germany. Founded in 1734 by George II, King of Great Britain and Elector of Hanover, and starting classes in 1737, the Georgia Augusta was conceived to promote the ideals of the Enlightenment. It is the oldest university in the state of Lower Saxony and the largest in student enrollment, which stands at around 31,500.

Paris Capital of France

Paris is the capital and most populous city of France, with an area of 105 square kilometres and an official estimated population of 2,140,526 residents as of 1 January 2019. Since the 17th century, Paris is one of Europe's major centres of finance, diplomacy, commerce, fashion, science, and the arts.

Ernest Augustus, King of Hanover King of Hanover

Ernest Augustus, known for most of his adult life as the Duke of Cumberland, was King of Hanover from 20 June 1837 until his death. He was the fifth son and eighth child of King George III of the United Kingdom and Hanover. As a fifth son, Ernest seemed unlikely to become a monarch, but none of his four elder brothers had a legitimate son who survived infancy. The Salic Law, which barred succession to or through a female, prevailed in Hanover; therefore, when his elder brother King William IV died in 1837, Ernest succeeded him as King of Hanover. In the United Kingdom the succession to the monarchy was determined by male-preference primogeniture, a different system, and his niece Victoria became queen, thus ending the personal union between the British and Hanoverian crowns that had existed since 1714.

After several years in Leipzig and Jena, King Frederick William IV of Prussia appointed him in October 1842 to a professorship at the University of Bonn. The years that followed were those of his greatest fame. His Politik (1835) had already made him a name as a writer; he now published his Dänische Geschichte (1840–1843), a historical work of the first rank; and this was soon followed by histories of the English and French revolutions, which, though of less scientific value, exercised a decisive influence upon public opinion by their open advocacy of the system of constitutional monarchy. As a teacher too he was much beloved. Though no orator, and in spite of a personality not particularly amiable or winning, he produced a profound impression upon young men by the pregnancy of his expression, a consistent logical method of thought based on Immanuel Kant and by the manliness of his character. [1]

When the revolution of 1848 broke out, the "father of German nationality," as the provisional government at Milan called him, found himself the centre of universal interest. Both Mecklenburg and Prussia offered him in vain the post of envoy to the diet of the confederation. Naturally, too, he was elected to the national assembly at Frankfurt, and took a leading part in the constitutional committees appointed first by the diet, then by the parliament. His objective was to make Germany as far as possible a united constitutional monarchy, with the exclusion of the whole of Austria, or at least, of its non-German parts. Prussia was to provide the emperor, but at the same time—and in this lay the doctrinaire weakness of the system—was to give up its separate existence, consecrated by history, in the same way as the other states. When, therefore, Frederick William IV, without showing any anxiety to bind himself by the conditions laid down at Frankfurt, concluded with Denmark the seven months truce of Malmö (26 August 1848), Dahlmann proposed that the national parliament should refuse to recognize the truce, with the express intention of clearing up once for all the relations of the parliament with the court of Berlin. The motion was passed by a small majority (September 5); but the members of Dahlmann's party were just those who voted against it, and it was they who on September 18 reversed the previous vote and passed a resolution accepting the truce, after Dahlmann had failed to form a ministry on the basis of the resolution of the 5th, owing to his objection to the Radicals. [1]

Dahlmann afterwards described this as the decisive turning-point in the fate of the parliament. He did not immediately give up hope. Though he took little active part in parliamentary debates, he was very active on commissions and in party conferences, and it was largely owing to him that a German constitution was at last evolved, and that Frederick William IV was elected hereditary emperor (28 March 1849). He was accordingly one of the deputation which offered the crown to the king in Berlin. The king's refusal came as less of a surprise to him than to most of his colleagues. He counted on being able to compel recognition of the constitution by the moral pressure of the consent of the people. It was only when the attitude of the Radicals made it clear to him that this course would lead to a revolution, that he decided, after a long struggle, to retire from the national parliament (21 May). [1]

He remained one of the chief promoters of the well-known conference of the imperial party at Gotha, the proceedings of which were not, however, satisfactory to him; and he took part in the sessions of the first Prussian chamber (1849–1850) and of the parliament of Erfurt (1850). But finally, convinced that for the moment all efforts towards the unity of Germany were unavailing, he retired from political life, though often pressed to stand for election, and again took up his work of teaching at Bonn. His last years were, however, saddened by illness, bereavement and continual friction with his colleagues. His death followed an apoplectic fit. [1]


Dahkmann's chief works included:


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