Adolph Freiherr von Knigge (c. 1796)
Adolph Freiherr von Knigge (1752-96) was a prolific Enlightenment writer and political activist. His numerous writings addressed the topics of liberty, human rights, and the fight against despotism and superstition. In “The New State,” an essay written in 1792, Knigge ridiculed the opponents of the American Revolution – far from generating anarchy, he argued, the revolution advanced the worthy goals of progress, prosperity, and liberty. He believed that the success of the American revolt could serve to reassure those who feared the French Revolution. Copperplate engraving by Wilhelm Arndt (1750-1813), c. 1796.