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German Conservative Party, Founding Manifesto (June 7/July 12, 1876)

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5. In contrast to the boundless liberties found in liberal theory, we advocate an ordered type of economic freedom in all matters of work, trade, and commerce. We demand from economic legislation even-handed consideration for all occupational activities and fair acknowledgement of the interests of landed property, industry, and the artisanal trades, which at the moment are not being given their due. Accordingly, we demand a step-by-step removal of the preferential terms granted to large finance capital. We demand remedy for the severe damage caused by exaggerated economic centralization and the lack of firm regulations for agriculture and small businesses. In particular, we insist on the revision of the laws on the right of abode and freedom of occupation, as experience has made these revisions imperative.

6. We consider it our duty to counter the excesses of the false socialist doctrines, which are driving an increasingly large proportion of our population into hostile opposition to the existing order. We are convinced that the mere unleashing of individual energies cannot result in sound economic development; rather, the state must not refuse the task of protecting honest, gainful employment against excessive speculation and unsavory stock-market dealings; we believe the state also has a responsibility to ensure and promote the moral and economic condition of workers, as well as peaceful cooperation between employers and employees, by means of effective factory legislation.

We ask anyone who agrees with these principles and who is prepared to serve as their advocate both upwards and downwards, to unite into a firmly united Party of German Conservatives.

Source: Ludolf Parisius, Deutschlands politische Parteien und das Ministerium Bismarcks [Germany's Political Parties and Bismarck's Ministry]. Berlin, 1878, pp. 219-20.

Original German text reprinted in Felix Salomon, ed., Die deutschen Parteiprogramme [German Party Programs], Issue 2, Im Deutschen Kaiserreich 1871-1918 [In the Kaiserreich 1871-1918], ed. Wilhelm Mommsen and G√ľnther Franz, 4th ed. Leipzig and Berlin: B.G. Teubner, 1932, pp. 3-4.

Translation: Erwin Fink

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