Articles by Frederick Engels in The Rheinische Zeitung

Participation in the Debates of the Baden Chamber of Deputies

Written: on June 21, 1842
First published: in the Rheinische Zeitung No. 176, June 25, 1842
Marked with the sign ‘X’
Source: MECW, Volume 2;
Transcribed: in 2000 for by Andy Blunden.

Berlin, June 21. The more our political awareness develops and the more freely and loudly the public voice of Prussia makes itself heard, the more we feel at one with the other German races, and the greater the interest with which we view the manifestations of their state life. This is irrefutable testimony that the barriers which have existed so long in public opinion between Prussia and constitutional Germany have fallen, and that the national division resulting, on the one hand, from the arrogant self-sufficiency of many Prussians and, on the other, from the South-German liberals’ distrust of our government, no longer exists. Last year the reconciliation between the North-German and the South-German representatives of progress already found expression in the reception which Wekker was given in Berlin as well as in the rest of North Germany, [148] but it is only since the freer censorship in Prussia [149] that the two great halves of our Fatherland began to merge ever more visibly in the single striving for freedom. The Prussians have unexpectedly departed from their self-sufficiency, from their vainglorious boasting that their institutions are faultless; in less than half a year defects have been discovered whose very existence the majority of our fellow citizens had refused to imagine. The South Germans, on the other hand, owing to the independent-minded and often directly appositional Prussian press, have got rid of the last remnants of their prejudices against the Prussian people and the latter’s degree of political education. In such circumstances it is understandable that the proceedings of the Baden Chamber of Deputies are being followed by us with the liveliest interest. After the Prussians had shown in the press that they had come of age politically, it was expected that the South Germans would do their utmost so as not to lag behind us. The Württemberg Chamber, however, showed only too clearly in its debates on judicial procedure how greatly it lacks the old coryphaei of 1833. [150] From Baden, on the other hand, one could have expected that after what happened in the dissolved Chamber [151] political life would not so easily go to sleep. The powerful movements during the elections were a welcome sign of alertness and interest in domestic affairs; and although the press was not permitted to let us participate in these from afar and in thought, nevertheless they found expression in the election debates in the Chamber and now come into full evidence before our eyes. These debates, together with the hints that the press here and there contained about the celebrations prepared for individual deputies, gave us a clear picture of those days of tension and struggle. It was shown also, again in the most conspicuous way, in connection with the Schwetzingen-Philippsburg election among other things, that nothing is more harmful to governments anywhere than exaggerated zeal on the part of officials. The machinations resorted to here to secure votes for Rettig are unprecedented in Baden’s constitutional history. The simple fact that a constituency, which for twenty years in succession was always represented by von Itzstein, should now all at once have dropped him after he has often enough given evidence of his frame of mind and elected a deputy from the governmental party, sufficiently proves that this election was not a free one. The more welcome therefore was the reparation made to von Itzstein by the Chamber. [152] There one was glad to hear the veterans of free thought, Itzstein and Welcker,. as well as representatives of the younger generation, Rindeschwender and others, speak in the old familiar way. The fact that the election of Mathy as deputy was secured in spite of all hostility, makes an all the better impression since in general he is the first journalist in Germany to have a seat in a Chamber.