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

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VII. Religion.

[ . . . ]

8. The state shall exercise tolerance; it shall not interfere in matters of conscience and shall tolerate every religious service that does not cause a public nuisance and disturb others; it shall not persecute any religious sect unless it acts against the civic order. There is nothing wrong with the state giving preferential care to a religious party that it deems useful and in this sense treats as the reigning church. – In Prussia, that includes both Protestant religions.
[ . . . ]

IX. Managing affairs.

[ . . . ] I very much question whether it is advisable for the district authorities [Kreisbehörden] to be made up solely of those chosen by the communities and for them to serve entirely without compensation. To me, it seems better for the state to employ a paid, fully qualified, permanent district head [Kreisvorsteher], whose status would not be considered in his employment, and to appoint, alongside him, two unpaid elected representatives, who would be given the right to block directives that do not seem useful to them until a decision is reached by the highest authorities.

[ . . . ]

Conclusion and epilogue regarding external conditions.

[ . . . ] Herr von Altenstein asserts very correctly what can be done immediately under all circumstances: the firm determination, adoption, and promulgation of the chief principles upon which the system is based; especially

1. the abolition, if possible, of the difference between estates, also with respect to a better military establishment;

2. the proposed regulations and decrees on account of the freedom of the subjects and of acquisition;

3. the urgent organization of the military system, new conscription arrangements etc.;

4. freedom of trade and security installations on a domestic level;

5. the necessary overview in the entire financial field, the debt system, the searching out of extraordinary money sources;

6. the organization of the highest administration, the decrees and pronouncements on general principles, the determination of principles concerning pay, pensions. –

Source: Georg Winter, ed., Die Reorganisation des Preussischen Staates unter Stein und Hardenberg [The Reorganization of the Prussian State under Stein and Hardenberg]. Part 1, Volume 1 (Publications of the Prussian State Archives 93). Leipzig: Hirzel, 1931 (reprint: Osnabrück, 1982), pp. 313-24, 330-36, 353 f., 357, 360-62.

Reprinted in Walter Demel and Uwe Puschner, eds., Von der Französischen Revolution bis zum Wiener Kongreß 1789-1815 [From the French Revolution to the Congress of Vienna 1789-1815]. Deutsche Geschichte in Quellen und Darstellung, edited by Rainer A. Müller, Volume 6. Stuttgart: P. Reclam, 1995, pp. 87-97.

Translation: Thomas Dunlap

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