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Johann August Wirth at the Hambach Festival (May 1832)

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when reason has also attained political victory, i.e. at the moment when public affairs are no longer managed according to the despotic will of an individual, no longer according to the interests of an extended aristocratic family branching out all over Europe, but rather according to the will of society itself and according to the needs of the people. At the moment when German popular sovereignty is assigned its proper right, at that moment the most heartfelt confederation of nations [peoples] is formed, for the people loves, while kings hate, the people defends, where kings persecute, the people grants what it aspires to achieve itself wholeheartedly, and what it holds most dear are freedom, enlightenment, nationality, and popular sovereignty, for a fraternal nation as well: the German people therefore also grants these great, invaluable goods to its brethren in Poland, Hungary, Italy, and Spain. When, therefore, German money and German blood no longer submits to orders from the dukes of Austria and the electors of Brandenburg, but rather to the decree of the people, then Poland, Hungary, and Italy will be free, because Russia will then have lapsed into powerlessness, and no other power will be around that could be used for crusades against the liberty of the peoples. Restoration of the old, powerful Poland, of wealthy Hungary, and of a flourishing Italy would have to be followed of its own accord by the liberation of Spain and Portugal and the overthrow of the unnatural preponderance of the English. Freedom of world trade is the exquisite material fruit and unstoppable advance of civilization[,] the incalculable spiritual gain of such a global event. The wealthy countries of European Turkey will then no longer be left to the enemies of all culture because the jealousy of an idiotic and small-minded policy does not grant a civilized people these marvelous provinces. Instead, one will return them to civilization, transform Constantinople, recreated into a free city and free port, into an all-powerful lever of European trade, open up the resources of Africa for Europe, and then guarantee trade, the best of all of philanthropists, so that it may pour out its endless gifts and inexhaustible treasures over the peoples of Europe and, at the same time, encourage all nations to ever newer advances in civilization. Immense are the consequences of Europe’s liberation, immense already in anticipation of the elevation and even distribution of welfare, and immense altogether in anticipation of intellectual [spiritual] advances. And should all these endless triumphs of the human race, all these unexpected blessings be withheld from the peoples of Europe simply so that a couple of ignorant lads can continue to inherit the role of king? Truly, I tell you, if there is a certain traitor against the nations and against the entire human race, if there is a certain traitor guilty of high treason, then it would be the kings who – on account of vanity, compulsion to domination, and lust – make an entire portion of the globe miserable and prevent the same, by outrageous suppression for decades, from rising to the condition of material welfare and spiritual [intellectual] fulfillment determined by nature. A curse, therefore, an eternal curse on all such traitors!

Source: Johann Georg August Wirth, Das Nationalfest der Deutschen zu Hambach [The National Festival of the Germans at Hambach], Neustadt: Philipp Christmann, 1832; reprint, Neustadt: Meininger, 1981, pp. 41-43.

Translation: Jeremiah Riemer

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