German Progress Party

Last updated
German Progress Party

Deutsche Fortschrittspartei
Leaders Johann Jacoby
Hans Victor von Unruh
Adolph Diesterweg
Eugen Richter
Rudolf Virchow
Albert Hänel
Albert Traeger
Founded6 June 1861;157 years ago (1861-06-06)
Dissolved5 March 1884;135 years ago (1884-03-05)
Preceded by Old Liberal group
German National Association
Merged into German Free-minded Party
Headquarters Berlin
NewspaperDer Volksfreund (1868–1872)
Der Reichsfreund(1882–1884)
Ideology Liberalism
Federalism
Political position Centre-left
International affiliationNone
Colours     Yellow

The German Progress Party (German : Deutsche Fortschrittspartei, DFP) was the first modern political party in Germany, founded by liberal members of the Prussian House of Representatives (Abgeordnetenhaus) in 1861 in opposition to Minister President Otto von Bismarck.

German language West Germanic language

German is a West Germanic language that is mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or co-official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, South Tyrol (Italy), the German-speaking Community of Belgium, and Liechtenstein. It is also one of the three official languages of Luxembourg and a co-official language in the Opole Voivodeship in Poland. The languages which are most similar to German are the other members of the West Germanic language branch: Afrikaans, Dutch, English, the Frisian languages, Low German/Low Saxon, Luxembourgish, and Yiddish. There are also strong similarities in vocabulary with Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, although those belong to the North Germanic group. German is the second most widely spoken Germanic language, after English.

A political party is an organized group of people, with broadly common views, who come together to contest elections and hold power in the government. The party agrees on some proposed policies and programmes, with a view to promoting the collective good or furthering their supporters' interests.

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, Lake Constance and the High Rhine 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.

Contents

History

Upon the failed Revolutions of 1848, several deputies in the Landtag diet of Prussia maintained the idea of constitutionalism as it had been developed in the Vormärz era. In the 1850s, these Old Liberals gathered in a parliamentary group around Georg von Vincke, an originally conservative Prussian official and landowner ( Junker ). Vincke, former member of the Frankfurt Parliament, a polished orator and firebrand, had fallen out with Prime Minister Otto Theodor von Manteuffel over his reactionary policies and in 1852 even fought a duel with Bismarck after a heated verbal exchange in parliament (both men missed).

German revolutions of 1848–49 German part of the Revolutions of 1848

The German revolutions of 1848–49, the opening phase of which was also called the March Revolution, were initially part of the Revolutions of 1848 that broke out in many European countries. They were a series of loosely coordinated protests and rebellions in the states of the German Confederation, including the Austrian Empire. The revolutions, which stressed pan-Germanism, demonstrated popular discontent with the traditional, largely autocratic political structure of the thirty-nine independent states of the Confederation that inherited the German territory of the former Holy Roman Empire.

Landtag representative assembly (parliament) in German-speaking countries with legislative authority and competence over a federated state

A Landtag is a representative assembly (parliament) in German-speaking countries with legislative authority and competence over a federated state (Land). Landtage assemblies are the legislative bodies for the individual states of Germany and states of Austria, and have authority to legislate in non-federal matters for the regional area.

Kingdom of Prussia Former German state (1701–1918)

The Kingdom of Prussia was a German kingdom that constituted the state of Prussia between 1701 and 1918. It was the driving force behind the unification of Germany in 1871 and was the leading state of the German Empire until its dissolution in 1918. Although it took its name from the region called Prussia, it was based in the Margraviate of Brandenburg, where its capital was Berlin.

When under the regency of William I of Prussia from 1858 the Prussian policies of the new era turned towards a more centrist stance, a left-wing group under Max von Forckenbeck seceded and allied with members of the German National Association to form the German Progress Party on 6 June 1861. Among the founders were Rudolf Virchow, Theodor Mommsen, Werner von Siemens, Benedict Waldeck, Hermann Schulze-Delitzsch, Hans Victor von Unruh, Wilhelm Loewe and Johann Jacoby.

William I, German Emperor 19th-century German Emperor and King of Prussia

William I, or in German Wilhelm I, of the House of Hohenzollern, was King of Prussia from 2 January 1861 and the first German Emperor from 18 January 1871 to his death, the first Head of State of a united Germany. Under the leadership of William and his Minister President Otto von Bismarck, Prussia achieved the unification of Germany and the establishment of the German Empire. Despite his long support of Bismarck as Minister President, William held strong reservations about some of Bismarck's more reactionary policies, including his anti-Catholicism and tough handling of subordinates. In contrast to the domineering Bismarck, William was described as polite, gentlemanly and, while staunchly conservative, he was more open to certain classical liberal ideas than his grandson Wilhelm II.

Centrism describes a political outlook or specific position

In politics, centrism—the centre or the center —is a political outlook or specific position that involves acceptance or support of a balance of a degree of social equality and a degree of social hierarchy, while opposing political changes which would result in a significant shift of society strongly to either the left or the right.

Left-wing politics supports social equality and egalitarianism, often in opposition to social hierarchy. It typically involves a concern for those in society whom its adherents perceive as disadvantaged relative to others (prioritarianism) as well as a belief that there are unjustified inequalities that need to be reduced or abolished. The term left-wing can also refer to "the radical, reforming, or socialist section of a political party or system".

In its program, the party responded to the German Question by the postulation of the unification of the German states with the central power in Prussia (Kleindeutsche Lösung). It demanded representative democracy—though not universal suffrage in view of the Prussian three-class franchise system—implementation of the rule of law and larger responsibility for the local government. Before the rise of the Social Democrats, it was the main left-wing party in Germany and it was also the first German party with its candidates and deputies acting on a common party platform.

German Question Mid-19th century debate about unification of Germany

"The German Question" was a debate in the 19th century, especially during the Revolutions of 1848, over the best way to achieve the unification of Germany. From 1815 to 1866, about 37 independent German-speaking states existed within the German Confederation. The Großdeutsche Lösung favored unifying all German-speaking peoples under one state, and was promoted by the Austrian Empire and its supporters. The Kleindeutsche Lösung sought only to unify the northern German states and did not include Austria; this proposal was favored by the Kingdom of Prussia.

Unification of Germany Creation of a politically and administratively integrated nation state of German-speaking populations in 1871, in the form of the German Empire

The unification of Germany into a politically and administratively integrated nation state officially occurred on 18 January 1871, in the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles in France. Princes of the German states, excluding Austria, gathered there to proclaim William I of Prussia as German Emperor after the French capitulation in the Franco-Prussian War. Unofficially, the de facto transition of most of the German-speaking populations into a federated organization of states had been developing for some time through alliances formal and informal between princely rulers, but in fits and starts. The self-interests of the various parties hampered the process over nearly a century of autocratic experimentation, beginning in the era of the Napoleonic Wars, which prompted the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, and the subsequent rise of German nationalism.

German Confederation association of 39 German states in Central Europe from 1815 to 1866

The German Confederation was an association of 39 German-speaking states in Central Europe, created by the Congress of Vienna in 1815 to coordinate the economies of separate German-speaking countries and to replace the former Holy Roman Empire, which had been dissolved in 1806. The German Confederation excluded German-speaking lands in the eastern portion of the Kingdom of Prussia, the German cantons of Switzerland, and Alsace within France which was majority German speaking.

Supported by the rising bourgeois middle class, the Progressives had the largest group in the Prussian Lower House between 1861 and 1865. In 1862, their refusal to furthermore pass the government budget for a re-organisation of the Prussian Army instigated by War Minister Albrecht von Roon led to the resignation of the centrist Prime Minister Karl Anton, Prince of Hohenzollern. On the verge of his abdication, King William was persuaded by Roon to appoint the young conservative Otto von Bismarck Prussian Minister President. Bismarck ignored the parliament's blockade by proclaiming his Lückentheorie ("gap theory"), whereafter in a deadlock situation between the king and the assembly, for want of provision by the Prussian Constitution, the decision of the monarch had to tip the balance.

Bourgeoisie polysemous French term which denotes the wealthy stratum of the middle class that originated during the latter part of the Middle Ages

The bourgeoisie is a polysemous French term that can mean:

Government budget government document presenting the governments proposed revenues and spending for a fiscal year

A government budget is an annual financial statement presenting the revenues and spending for a financial year that is often passed by the legislature, approved by the chief executive or president and presented by the Finance Minister to the nation. The budget is also known as the Annual Financial Statement of the country. This document estimates the anticipated government revenues and government expenditures for the ensuing (current) financial year. For example, only certain types of revenue may be imposed and collected. Property tax is frequently the basis for municipal and county revenues, while sales tax and/or income tax are the basis for state revenues, and income tax and corporate tax are the basis for national revenues.

Prussian Army 1701-1871 land warfare branch of Prussias military, primary component and predecessor of the German Army to 1919

The Royal Prussian Army served as the army of the Kingdom of Prussia. It became vital to the development of Brandenburg-Prussia as a European power.

Bismarck was able to keep the public indignation covered, accompanied by his famous "Blood and Iron" speech in the Prussian Abgeordnetenhaus. He continued to rule against the parliamentary majority while the parliament members of the Progressive Party found themselves unable to overthrow his government. Upon the Prussian victory at the Battle of Königgrätz ending the Austro-Prussian War in 1866, Bismarck initiated a law confirming the parliament's power of the purse, but also granting an amnesty for the arbitrary conduct of his government. Meant as an attempt for reconciliation, a vast majority of the parliament approved it, but the liberals were at strife among themselves and the Progressive Party finally split apart—the right-wing which supported Bismarck's policy seceded to form the National Liberal Party in 1867 while a democratic-republican wing in Southern Germany seceded to form German People's Party in 1868.

<i>Blood and Iron</i> (speech) Otto von Bismarck speech in 1862

Blood and Iron is the name given to a speech made by Otto von Bismarck given on 30 September 1862, at the time when he was Minister President of Prussia, about the unification of the German territories. It is also a transposed phrase that Bismarck uttered near the end of the speech that has become one of his most widely known quotations.

Battle of Königgrätz decisive battle of the Austro-Prussian War

The Battle of Königgrätz was the decisive battle of the Austro-Prussian War in which the Kingdom of Prussia defeated the Austrian Empire. Taking place near Königgrätz and Sadowa (Sadová) in Bohemia on 3 July 1866, it was an example of battlefield concentration, a convergence of multiple units at the same location to trap and/or destroy an enemy force between them.

Austro-Prussian War conflict

The Austro-Prussian War or Seven Weeks' War was a war fought in 1866 between the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia, with each also being aided by various allies within the German Confederation. Prussia had also allied with the Kingdom of Italy, linking this conflict to the Third Independence War of Italian unification. The Austro-Prussian War was part of the wider rivalry between Austria and Prussia, and resulted in Prussian dominance over the German states.

The remaining Progressive parliament members under Benedict Waldeck principally supported Bismarck's formation of the North German Confederation, directed at the establishment of a Prussian-led German nation state, though they rejected the Imperial Constitution of 1871 as undemocratic. In the first federal election of 1871, the party gained 8.8% of the votes cast and 46 seats in the Reichstag parliament, largely outnumbered by its National Liberal rivals. Later on, the Progressives approached towards the policy of the new Chancellor. To characterize Bismarck's politics toward the Catholic Church, the pathologist and parliament member Rudolf Virchow used the term Kulturkampf the first time on 17 January 1873 in the Prussian House of Representatives. [1] In the later years of Bismarck's incumbency, the Progressives again kept their distance to his government. Under the new board of Eugen Richter, Ludwig Loewe, Albert Hänel and Albert Traeger, the party developed to a pan-German liberal democratic party, rejecting Bismarck's Anti-Socialist Laws as well as his free trade restrictions. In the federal election of 1881, the Progress Party reached its best results ever with 12.7% of the votes cast and 56 seats in the Reichstag, becoming the second strongest faction after the Catholic Centre Party.

To unite the left-wing liberal forces, the party finally merged on 5 March 1884 with the Liberal Union (a split-off of the National Liberals) into the German Free-minded Party.

See also

Related Research Articles

Otto von Bismarck 19th-century German statesman and Chancellor

Otto Eduard Leopold, Prince of Bismarck, Duke of Lauenburg, known as Otto von Bismarck, was a conservative Prussian statesman who dominated German and European affairs from the 1860s until 1890 and was the first Chancellor of the German Empire between 1871 and 1890.

North German Confederation Federal state in Northern Germany in 1867–1870

The North German Confederation was the German federal state which existed from July 1867 to December 1870. It was said to be led by Prussia. Some historians also use the name for the alliance of 22 German states formed on 18 August 1866. In 1870–1871, the south German states of Baden, Hesse-Darmstadt, Württemberg and Bavaria joined the country. On 1 January 1871, the country adopted a new constitution, which was written under the title of a new "German Confederation" but already gave it the name "German Empire" in the preamble and article 11.

Kulturkampf is a German term referring to the conflict between the German imperial government and the Roman Catholic Church from about 1872 to 1878, predominantly over the control of educational and ecclesiastical appointments. More rarely, the term is used by extension to refer to the power struggles between emerging constitutional democratic nation states and the Roman Catholic Church over the place and role of religion in modern polity, usually in connection with secularization campaigns.

The National Liberal Party was a liberal party of the North German Confederation and the German Empire which flourished between 1867 and 1918.

The German Conservative Party was a right-wing political party of the German Empire founded in 1876. It largely represented the wealthy landowning elite Prussian Junkers.

The Free Conservative Party was a moderate right-wing political party in Prussia and the German Empire which emerged from the German Conservative Party in the Prussian Landtag in 1866. In the federal elections to the Reichstag parliament from 1871, it ran as the German Reich Party.

Ludwig Windthorst German politician

Ludwig Windthorst was a German politician and leader of the Catholic Centre Party and the most notable opponent of Chancellor Otto von Bismarck during the Prussian-led unification of Germany and the Kulturkampf. Anderson argues that he was "Imperial Germany's greatest parliamentarian" and bears comparison with Irishmen Daniel O'Connell and Charles Stewart Parnell "in his handling of party machinery and his relation to the masses."

The German Free-minded Party or German Radical Party was a short-lived liberal party in the German Empire, founded on 5 March 1884 as a result of the merger of the German Progress Party and the Liberal Union, an 1880 split-off of the National Liberal Party.

The German People's Party was a German liberal party created in 1868 by the wing of the German Progress Party which during the conflict about whether the unification of Germany should be led by the Kingdom of Prussia or Austria-Hungary supported Austria. The party was most popular in Southern Germany.

Julius Faucher German journalist and politician

Julius Faucher was a German journalist and a significant advocate of liberalism and free trade. He was one of the first to advocate privatizing the security functions of the state, which would eliminate taxation, therefore coming up with "a form of individualist anarchism, or, as it would be called today, anarcho-capitalism or market anarchism".

Conservatism in Germany has encompassed a wide range of theories and ideologies in the last three hundred years, but most historical conservative theories supported the monarchical/hierarchical political structure.

Falk Laws legislation of the German Kingdom of Prussia in 1873

The Falk Laws, named after education minister Adalbert Falk, of 1873-1875 were legislative bills enacted in the German Kingdom of Prussia during the Kulturkampf conflict with the Catholic Church. The May Laws had the fullest support of Bismarck, though their actual author was Falk, the Prussian minister of public worship. Preliminary to the May Laws was the abolition of the Catholic department in the ministry of public worship (1871), the placing of the State in exclusive control of education, and the expulsion of the Jesuits from the empire (1873). A year later a like expulsion was decreed against the Redemptorists; Lazarists; Priests of the Holy Ghost, and Nuns of the Sacred Heart as being religious associations allied to the Jesuits. The May Laws proper of 1873 were chiefly as follows:

Landtag of Prussia parliament

The Landtag of Prussia was the representative assembly of the Kingdom of Prussia implemented in 1849, a bicameral legislature consisting of the upper House of Lords (Herrenhaus) and the lower House of Representatives (Abgeordnetenhaus). After World War I and the German Revolution of 1918–19 the Landtag diet continued as the parliament of the Free State of Prussia between 1921 and 1933.

Max von Forckenbeck German politician

Maximilian (Max) Franz August von Forckenbeck was a German lawyer and liberal politician who served as Mayor of Berlin from 1878 until his death. His is considered one of the most important mayors of the city because of his prudent governing style during Berlin's rise as the capital of a unified Germany.

Prussian House of Representatives

The Prussian House of Representatives was, until 1918, the second chamber of the Prussian Landtag, the other chamber being the Prussian House of Lords. It was elected according to the three-class franchise, and had been established by the Prussian constitution of 5 December 1848. The name "House of Representatives" was introduced in 1855.

Bismarck is a 1940 German historical film directed by Wolfgang Liebeneiner and starring Paul Hartmann, Friedrich Kayßler and Lil Dagover.

The German National Association, or German National Union was a liberal political organisation, precursor of a party, in the German Confederation that existed from 1859 to 1867. It was formed by liberals and moderate democrats and aimed at forming a liberal, parliamentary Lesser German ("kleindeutsch"), Prussia-led national state.

Reichstag (North German Confederation) parliament of the North German Confederation

The Reichstag was the Parliament of the North German Confederation, founded after the Austro-Prussian War of 1866. It functioned until the establishment of the German Empire in 1871. Parliamentary sessions were held in the same building as the Upper House of the Prussian Landtag, the Prussian House of Lords, located at 3 Leipziger Straße in Berlin, Germany. The same location is now the home of the German Federal Bundesrat.

The Jesuits Law (Jesuitengesetz) of 4 July 1872 forbade Jesuit institutions on the soil of the new German empire.

Karl Freiherr von Vincke was a Prussian officer and politician. He was a member of the baronial Vincke family, a cousin of liberal politician Georg von Vincke.

References

  1. (in English) "Kulturkampf". New Catholic Dictionary. 1910. Archived from the original on 25 August 2013. It was the distinguished liberal politician and scientist, Professor Rudolph Virchow, who first called it the Kulturkampf, or struggle for civilization.