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"Germany's Unification" (1843)

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Let us take a look at the occupational trade laws! Here compulsory guild membership and restrictive monopolies on where to process and sell [Bann- und Zunftzwang], there complete freedom of trade, between the two a concessionary licensing system! The most skillful craftsman will be rejected from a guild simply because he has learned his trade under a different system, and the future journeyman, who is supposed to travel, is transferred somewhere because each German state distrustfully treats the inhabitants of the other 37 states as foreigners. Otherwise it used to be said that "German hand goes through every land"; now major parties (France, Switzerland) are excluded because of the anxious concern of the divided Reich. I do not even wish to speak about the tribulations of trade – they have made themselves known with a powerful voice; yet it is a crying shame to see how, for lack of an appropriate political focus, the unification in the interest of the common good constantly has to do battle with the special interests of individual parts. But one does have to consider that an individual part can’t be easily torn out of the entire system, and every state may indeed consider how it manages its finances, but also (and especially) its tradesmen, so long as there is no organizing hand administering the whole. It is chiefly these special interests that – by pulling the ground out from under the aspiring force – promote pauperism, which is increasingly overrunning Germany’s districts [Gaue] with its whole sad retinue of immorality, and it is this disintegration of Germany that is preventing a remedy. Why do we not have any foreign colonies in which German traditions are maintained, institutions for emigrants, deportation for the incorrigibles? Even intellectual culture suffers from this extreme division. For the longest time there was an attempt to deny this and, instead, to maintain that the different [princely] courts, universities, and scientific institutions were just as many hearths from which education, disseminated among smaller circles, would become general. There is certainly much truth in this, and Germany has indeed, thank God, the best primary schools in the entire world. But the real reason for this resides much more in the entire German character than in political fragmentation. In a political unification, there would be no need for a single existing institution for art and science to fold, but certainly the petty jealousy that makes the children of a state prefer to attend their state’s university would have to cease; certainly, along with a great political focus, a great literary point of unification would develop, which would deprive German literature of its one-sidedness and provincial character; certainly, throughout the entire nation, an impetus would form that would lead German theoretical and impractical erudition out into practical life, which would give rise to a blossoming in art and science which we could now hardly imagine.

If one now thinks especially about the position that a united Germany would assume abroad, it seems impossible that anyone could be obstinate about the general advantages of unification, and one simply has to wonder why this unity has not come about a long time ago, that it was ever quashed.

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