GHDI logo

Liberal Secessionists’ Declaration (August 30, 1880)

page 2 of 2    print version    return to list previous document      next document

For Germany, more than any other country, ecclesiastical and religious freedom is the basic prerequisite for internal peace. That freedom, however, has to be guaranteed and ordered through independent constitutional legislation. Its implementation should not be made dependent on ulterior political motives. Inalienable constitutional rights must be preserved and schools must not be subordinated to church authority.

We are prepared to consent to an accord on this basis. For us, however, as members of a liberal party, these views will be the determining ones under all circumstances.

[Initially, the names of 25 representatives of the Reichstag and the Prussian House of Representatives followed, to which Rickert added Struves’ name.]*

* Sent to Stauffenberg by Heinrich Ricket; to Lasker by Gustav Lipke. Addendum by Rickert on August 29: “I am sending you in all haste the attached declaration, which will be published Tuesday morning in Berlin. Yesterday, I sent the necessary copies to Lipke in Berlin with the request, that he also send them to the foreign newspapers (to Becchioni and the Augsburger Zeitung in Munich).
At the moment, we have not included anyone other than Parliamentarians. A declaration of agreement from the others should follow.
We want to talk things through further in Berlin on September 8. In Prussia we must now organize quickly. What we do not accomplish at the outset will be left undone.” [Note from Heyderhoff and Wentzcke, eds., Deutscher Liberalismus in Zeitalter Bismarcks. Eine politische Briefsammlung {German Liberalism in Bismarck's Era: A Collection of Political Letters}, pp. 356].

Source: From the private papers of Franz von Stauffenberg and Eduard Lasker. Text of declaration sent by Heinrich Rickert to Franz von Stauffenberg, August 29, 1880.

Original German text printed in Julius Heyderhoff and Paul Wentzcke, eds, Deutscher Liberalismus im Zeitalter Bismarcks. Eine politische Briefsammlung [German Liberalism in Bismarck's Era: A Collection of Political Letters], 2 vols., vol. 2, Im Neuen Reich 1871-1890. Politische Briefe aus dem Nachlaß liberaler Parteiführer [In the New Reich 1871-1890. Political Letters from the Private Papers of Liberal Party Leaders], ed. Paul Wentzke. Bonn, Leipzig: Kurt Schroeder Verlag, 1926, pp. 356-57.

Translation: Erwin Fink

first page < previous   |   next > last page