GHDI logo

Karl August Baron von Hardenberg, "On the Reorganization of the Prussian State" (September 12, 1807)

page 5 of 6    print version    return to list previous document      next document

V. Domestic Regulation

[ . . . ]

1. Agricultural regulation

With agricultural regulation, the elimination of obstacles by itself will achieve everything one could ask for, and spread activity and life everywhere. This includes especially freedom of trade and equality in regards to this with the cities.
[ . . . ] Free sale of the products is the second chief requirement. If other examples and advanced scientific culture (which, like the institutions of learning, will follow by themselves) are added to this, then agriculture, this main pillar and source of national prosperity, will surely increase and secure the latter enormously. [ . . . ]

3. Trade regulation

When it comes to trade regulation, one observes above all laissez faire, which is what a deputy of the merchant class told Colbert as his expert testimony when the latter asked him for it. [ . . . ]

Facilitating trade and traffic through the construction of roads, internal shipping, the improvement of seaports and shipyards, and also the promotion of sea-going shipping and trade treaties, where this is advisable and possible, is of great importance. [ . . . ]

10. Fine arts and sciences

[ . . . ] Our chief maxim also applies to the sciences and arts. Simply remove the obstacles, the guild spirit, the positive opinions and prescriptions, and everything will progress easily and rapidly!

Much has been written and debated about freedom of the press and teaching. I think one says it all by stating: it should be as expansive as circumstances possibly permit. Circumstances alone, with the directives of a wise government, must decide the rare exceptions. For example, it can be a necessary measure to spare a foreign state or its mighty ruler so as not to bring great evil upon the fatherland. However, writings that merely seduce people to crude sensuality must be denounced by censorship.

[ . . . ]

first page < previous   |   next > last page