Thursday, May 22, 2014

A Little Freedom Rarely Noted

There's an odd freedom, that Americans have enjoyed for several hundred years....never thinking much about it or the implications of denial.....or wondering if it was just luck.  The freedom?  Movement.

Germany has a history lesson related to freedom, which few ever think about or discuss.

While the Constitution of the German Reich (1871) covered all citizens of the newly formed German state, and said that all participants enjoyed the same rights....from state to state, it kinda left the act of moving from one state to another (within Germany) as a question mark.  If you were caring for the poor or serving the Prussian Army....there was no question to you walking over the state line of one German another.  Beyond was a question mark.

You can stand there and imagine your place in life.  You were born in a village....say of the state of Nassau, and you were pretty much limited to that region.

Prior to the Germanification or Prussian attachment to Nassau (our Hessen state of today)....some hostile feelings had arisen in the early 1800s.  The private secretary of the Duke of Nassau....Carl Friedrich Emil....came to the conclusion that citizens of Nassau....ought to be able to move around the state itself.  So in 1810, the freedom of movement became reality....over fifty years ahead of Germany's 1871 Constitution which barely inferred that.  It wasn't until 1919, with the Weimar Constitution....that it was clear that citizens of Germany could move to any part of the land they desired, for any reason.

It's a freedom that Americans have enjoyed for a fairly long exceptions.  For Germans, you find that people accepted this for the most part.  They grew up in their village.....they built their own house in that village....things stayed fairly stable.  With the exception of the Germans who got on the boat to leave Germany....that was the only group of the 1800s who found the freedom of movement.

It's hard to say what happened after 1810 in Nassau (the Hessen or Wiesbaden of today).  Did people suddenly start to pack up and move?  Did merchants start opening up new business operations in other towns?  Did craftsmen pack a bag and venture forty miles north to better economic conditions?  You don't know.

The population of Wiesbaden in 1800 was noted at 2,239 (Wiki numbers)....about half the size of my current village (Naurod).  By'd grown to 11,648.  A significant jump.....which you might attribute to the 1810 change allowing freedom of movement.

If you asked Germans about this little freedom....I doubt if one out of a thousand would comment on the previous mentality and the various limits that most Germans endured until the last hundred years.  It's a rather new freedom....just not noticed like you'd think.

1 comment:

Darya said...

Thats so interesting!
Actually, I want to say thanks for an interesting blog. I am following it every now and then as I am not a regular.