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Businessmen and Politics in the Rhineland, 1789-1834

Businessmen and Politics in the Rhineland, 1789-1834

Jeffry M. Diefendorf
Copyright Date: 1980
Pages: 424
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Businessmen and Politics in the Rhineland, 1789-1834
    Book Description:

    In an attempt to understand the political history of the German middle class in the nineteenth century, Jeffry Diefendorf studies in detail the political, social, and economic behavior of three business communities on the Left Bank of the Rhine between 1789 and 1834.

    Originally published in 1980.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5378-6
    Subjects: Economics

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. List of Tables
    (pp. xi-xi)
  4. List of Maps
    (pp. xii-xii)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  6. A Note on Manuscript Sources and Abbreviations
    (pp. xv-2)
  7. 1. Introduction
    (pp. 3-20)

    IN the fall of 1808 Prussia was still reeling from her catastrophic defeat at the hands of Napoleon. Her government had withdrawn to Königsberg, and the king looked to a group of reform-minded officials led by Baron vom Stein to salvage what was left. Stein and his colleagues argued that Prussia’s weakness was a natural consequence of the fact that the crown and bureaucracy had deprived the population of any voice in its own government. As a result, “love and eagerness for public affairs, all communal spirit, every feeling for making a sacrifice for the whole has been lost. Just...

  8. PART I. From the Old Regime to Union with France

    • 2. The Old Regime on the Rhine
      (pp. 23-49)

      IN the winter of 1792, the armies of the French Republic marched into the Rhineland. Though driven out very shortly by the Austrians, the French returned in the autumn of 1794 and for the next twenty years occupied the Left Bank of the Rhine. In many respects the French invasion caused a decisive break with the past, as centuries of traditional institutions, ways of thinking and acting were swept away. Revolutionary reform was imposed from the outside, from Paris, but it struck deep roots in the Rhineland in a fairly short time. This suggests that there was considerable continuity from...

    • 3. From Invasion to Annexation
      (pp. 50-80)

      ON April 20, 1792, the Legislative Assembly of revolutionary France declared war on the Austrian emperor and thereby initiated a conflict that dramatically changed the history of the Rhineland. Whatever the views of the Rhinelanders about events in Paris, by mid-December of 1792, when French soldiers neared Aachen, the Rhenish governments had to decide upon a course of action. The free cities of Aachen and Cologne had remained neutral in the war, but their prince-protectors were allied with the Austrians and were in retreat. As a possession of Prussia, one of France’s declared enemies, Crefeld could only expect the worst....

  9. PART II. French Rule on the Rhine

    • 4. Businessmen, Politics, and Administration in Napoleonic France
      (pp. 83-133)

      ON October 28, 1797, the same day that the petition requesting the creation of the Cologne Merchants’ Committee was submitted for approval, the news of the signing of the Treaty of Campo Formio was published: the Holy Roman Empire had ceded the Left Bank of the Rhine to France. Campo Formio brought to an end that phase of the French occupation during which the Rhineland had been considered primarily as foreign territory to be exploited economically and to be manipulated according to the changing tides of France’s military and political fortunes in Europe. The Left Bank of the Rhine was...

    • 5. Businessmen and the Politics of Semiofficial Institutions
      (pp. 134-184)

      IN 1797 the French law prohibiting all private economic associations (such as guilds and trade associations) had been introduced in the Rhineland, but despite the prohibition, various semiprivate business-oriented institutions appeared in the Roer department, as they did in the rest of France. They were created with government approval because official interests coincided with private interests. On the one hand, businessmen sought prosperity for themselves and their communities through self-regulation and cooperation with government; on the other hand, the government recognized the potential benefits of economy in administration and the efficiency of allowing the business world to manage its own...

    • 6. The Integration of the Rhenish Business Community into France
      (pp. 185-210)

      THE previous two chapters have concentrated on the participation of the business community in a variety of official and semiofficial institutions through which businessmen were able to influence the decision-making process of the French state. Merchants and manufacturers took advantage of the new opportunities offered by the French political system to pursue their own aims and those of their towns and department. Political activities, encouraged by the French, were not confined, however, solely to participation in administrative, legislative, and advisory institutions. Unlike the ancient institutions of the old regime, the political creations of the Revolution, the Republic, and the Empire...

  10. PART III. Rhenish Business and Prussian Rule on the Rhine

    • 7. Interregnum: Sack and the Introduction of Prussian Rule
      (pp. 213-242)

      IN January 1814, the twenty years that had begun with conquest by a republican army and that had given way to benevolent Napoleonic rule came to an end. The Left Bank of the Rhine, with its French laws and institutions, with French as the language of government, business, and culture, infused with the style of Napoleon’s Grand Empire, was abandoned to France’s enemies. It was unlikely that the French loyalties and French style of doing things, all of which had been so carefully cultivated during the previous two decades, could simply be swept aside or packed up and sent across...

    • 8. Businessmen, Politics, and Administration in Prussia
      (pp. 243-288)

      THE removal of Sack from his position asOberpräsidentin the spring of 1816 brought to an end the brief transitional period that had been characterized by regional autonomy and great authority in the provincial administration. Sack had acted as a spokesman for Rhenish interests, and he had won the respect of Rhenish notables. After his departure the Rhineland was exposed to the full range of political currents existing in post-Napoleonic Prussia. Berlin wanted to integrate the newly acquired Rhenish territories with the Prussian state, but because of the long period of French occupation the Rhineland was not entirely trusted,...

    • 9. Businessmen, Self-Administrative Institutions, and Prussian Politics
      (pp. 289-333)

      WHEN the Prussian government decided in mid-1816 to retain French law and French legal institutions in the Rhineland, the continued existence of the chambers of commerce, the commercial courts, and the labor arbitration boards was also assured. However, as the Rhenish businessmen knew, this decision was by no means final. Prussia still hoped to introduce her own legal system on the Rhine and to replace the French mayoralty system with the Stein plan for town government.

      Consequently, Rhenish businessmen had to pursue their own interests through their special institutions of French origin and at the same time defend those institutions...

    • 10. Conclusion: The Integration of the Rhenish Business Community into Prussia
      (pp. 334-356)

      AS we saw earlier, when the French annexed the Left Bank of the Rhine, they used a variety of methods to break down Rhenish particularism and develop loyalties to France. Oaths of allegiance, participation in patriotic ceremonies and societies, plebiscites and petition campaigns, and the possibility of acquiring prestigious offices and titles all combined to give Rhinelanders a sense of belonging to a regional and national polity. Political horizons and political opportunities expanded until they were nationwide—an enormous change from the narrow ways of the small Rhenish states of the old regime.

      When the Rhineland was turned over to...

  11. Bibliography
    (pp. 357-386)
  12. Index
    (pp. 387-401)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 402-402)