When the old Confederation broke apart last year and the Prussian government declared its earnest intention to maintain the national bond and to set German unity on firmer foundations, we felt there could be no doubt that the liberal forces of the nation must assist in the undertaking if the work of unification were to succeed and in the process satisfy the people's need for freedom. For the sake of this goal we were ready to render assistance. This assistance only became possible when the government desisted from its infractions of constitutional law, recognized the principles that have been so resolutely defended by the Liberal party, and requested and received the indemnity. The groupings within the party occasioned by the constitutional conflict were not adequate to assure the continuation of this assistance. Thus the requirements of the new situation called for the formation of the National Liberal party, a party whose purpose is the establishment, upon the foundations at hand, of a unified Germany endowed with both power and freedom.
We never harbored any illusions about the difficulties inherent in the task of promoting development along liberal lines while working in collaboration with a government that for years maintained the constitutional conflict and administered without a duly passed budget, and having to do this with imperfect constitutional weapons. But we undertook this task with the firm intention of overcoming the difficulties involved through continuous, earnest labor and with the confidence that the greatness of the goal would strengthen the energy of the people.
For we are inspired and united by the thought that, in the long run, national unity cannot be achieved and maintained without the full satisfaction of the liberal demands of the people and that, without the active and driving power of national unity, the people's instinct for freedom cannot be satisfied. Therefore our motto is as follows: the German state and German freedom must be achieved simultaneously and through the same means. It would be a pernicious error to believe that the people, its advocates, and its representatives need only protect the interests of freedom; or that, on the other hand, unity will be achieved without us by the government on the basis of politics made by its ministers.