Difference between revisions of "FactGrid:Deutsche Union"

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== Intro English ==
 
== Intro English ==
The German Union was a secret society established in the mid 1780s by Carl Friedrich Bahrdt (1741-1792), one of the most divisive and energetic figures of the German Late Enlightenment. The son of the theologian and church superintendent in Leipzig, Johann Friedrich Bahrdt, the Lutheran orthodoxy of this milieu became then the point of departure for a trajectory that saw the youger Bahrdt traverse the spectrum of religious attitudes in the direction of the radical naturalism he had come to espouse by the end of his life. This development corresponded to shifts in his profession: beginning as a professor of theology in Erfurt and Gießen, he then tried his hands as a school director in Graubünden in Switzerland and in Heidesheim near Mainz, before being forced to flee in 1779 to Halle in Prussia. After his attempt to find a footing once more in academia were stymied by opposition from within the university, he ended up as the manager of a wine garden on the outskirts of Halle overlooking the Saale river.
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The German Union was a secret society established in the mid 1780s by Carl Friedrich Bahrdt (1741-1792), one of the most divisive and energetic figures of the German Late Enlightenment. The son of the theologian and church superintendent in Leipzig, Johann Friedrich Bahrdt, the Lutheran orthodoxy of this milieu became then the point of departure for a trajectory that saw the younger Bahrdt traverse the spectrum of religious attitudes in the direction of the radical naturalism he had come to espouse by the end of his life. This development corresponded to shifts in his profession: beginning as a professor of theology in Erfurt and Gießen, he then tried his hands as a school director in Graubünden in Switzerland and in Heidesheim near Mainz, before being forced to flee in 1779 to Halle in Prussia. After his attempt to find a footing once more in academia were stymied by opposition from within the university, he ended up as the manager of a wine garden on the outskirts of Halle overlooking the Saale river.
  
Before his flight to Halle, Bahrdt had undertaken a journey to England with the aim of increasing the enrolments at his school. While in London in 1778, he was received into Freemasonry in the presence of Johann Reinhold Forster and Georg Forster, the father-and-son naturalists famed for their participation on the second voyage of Capitan James Cook. After his return to Germany and his subsequent flight to Halle, there is no evidence attesting to any initial involvement in secret societies on Bahrdt’s part. Projects involving secret societies issued forth, however, from his restless mind, and in 1782 in a letter to Franz Dietrich Freiherrn von Ditfurth (1738–1813), a court assessor in Wetzlar and a prominent member of the Illuminati, he reported on the epiphany in which he recognized the potential in a project grafting a secret society onto the reading societies. In effect, the secret society would oversee a hidden network of distribution for literary works. In this manner, such a society would create a powerful means of steering public opinion in the desired direction, while also securing for writers and publicists such as Bahrdt a dependable source of income. This alignment of high-minded ideology and financial strategy was typical of Bahrdt’s other project and corresponded more generally to the ‘projecting’ spirit that gives this age one aspect of its distinctive character.
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Before his flight to Halle, Bahrdt had undertaken a journey to England with the aim of increasing the enrolments at his school. While in London in 1778, he was received into Freemasonry in the presence of Johann Reinhold Forster and Georg Forster, the father-and-son naturalists famed for their participation on the second voyage of Capitan James Cook. After his return to Germany and his subsequent flight to Halle, there is no evidence attesting to any initial involvement in secret societies on Bahrdt’s part. Projects involving secret societies issued forth, however, from his restless mind, and in 1782 in a letter to [[Item:Q248|Franz Dietrich Freiherrn von Ditfurth]] (1738–1813), a court assessor in Wetzlar and a prominent member of the Illuminati, he reported on the epiphany in which he recognized the potential in a project grafting a secret society onto the reading societies. In effect, the secret society would oversee a hidden network of distribution for literary works. In this manner, such a society would create a powerful means of steering public opinion in the desired direction, while also securing for writers and publicists such as Bahrdt a dependable source of income. This alignment of high-minded ideology and financial strategy was typical of Bahrdt’s other project and corresponded more generally to the ‘projecting’ spirit that gives this age one aspect of its distinctive character.
  
 
Sometime in the mid-1780s a group of friends and students began to meet on Bahrdt’s initiative at his wine garden. From this phase, the German Union seems to have derived its alternative designation: The Society of the XXII. This name seems to have originated in the number of participants originally meeting at Bahrdt’s wine garden as an irregular masonic lodge (''Winkelloge'', i.e. a lodge operating without the official approbation of the grand lodge). In part because Bahrdt came under pressure from Freemasons to suspend such activities, he decided to convert his project into a correspondence society. Invitations were sent to prominent figures throughout Northern Germany in the hope of securing their support and involvement in a project to defend the ideals of the Enlightenment. This defence assumed a heightened significance since the death of the Prussian king Frederick the Great. He was succeeded by his nephew, Friedrich Wilhelm II, a figure whose susceptibility to anti-Enlightenment forces found expression in the Edict of Religion, which in 1788 attempted to curtail religious freedoms and suppress outward displays of heterodoxy.
 
Sometime in the mid-1780s a group of friends and students began to meet on Bahrdt’s initiative at his wine garden. From this phase, the German Union seems to have derived its alternative designation: The Society of the XXII. This name seems to have originated in the number of participants originally meeting at Bahrdt’s wine garden as an irregular masonic lodge (''Winkelloge'', i.e. a lodge operating without the official approbation of the grand lodge). In part because Bahrdt came under pressure from Freemasons to suspend such activities, he decided to convert his project into a correspondence society. Invitations were sent to prominent figures throughout Northern Germany in the hope of securing their support and involvement in a project to defend the ideals of the Enlightenment. This defence assumed a heightened significance since the death of the Prussian king Frederick the Great. He was succeeded by his nephew, Friedrich Wilhelm II, a figure whose susceptibility to anti-Enlightenment forces found expression in the Edict of Religion, which in 1788 attempted to curtail religious freedoms and suppress outward displays of heterodoxy.

Revision as of 22:21, 10 November 2019

First Searches

Intro English

The German Union was a secret society established in the mid 1780s by Carl Friedrich Bahrdt (1741-1792), one of the most divisive and energetic figures of the German Late Enlightenment. The son of the theologian and church superintendent in Leipzig, Johann Friedrich Bahrdt, the Lutheran orthodoxy of this milieu became then the point of departure for a trajectory that saw the younger Bahrdt traverse the spectrum of religious attitudes in the direction of the radical naturalism he had come to espouse by the end of his life. This development corresponded to shifts in his profession: beginning as a professor of theology in Erfurt and Gießen, he then tried his hands as a school director in Graubünden in Switzerland and in Heidesheim near Mainz, before being forced to flee in 1779 to Halle in Prussia. After his attempt to find a footing once more in academia were stymied by opposition from within the university, he ended up as the manager of a wine garden on the outskirts of Halle overlooking the Saale river.

Before his flight to Halle, Bahrdt had undertaken a journey to England with the aim of increasing the enrolments at his school. While in London in 1778, he was received into Freemasonry in the presence of Johann Reinhold Forster and Georg Forster, the father-and-son naturalists famed for their participation on the second voyage of Capitan James Cook. After his return to Germany and his subsequent flight to Halle, there is no evidence attesting to any initial involvement in secret societies on Bahrdt’s part. Projects involving secret societies issued forth, however, from his restless mind, and in 1782 in a letter to Franz Dietrich Freiherrn von Ditfurth (1738–1813), a court assessor in Wetzlar and a prominent member of the Illuminati, he reported on the epiphany in which he recognized the potential in a project grafting a secret society onto the reading societies. In effect, the secret society would oversee a hidden network of distribution for literary works. In this manner, such a society would create a powerful means of steering public opinion in the desired direction, while also securing for writers and publicists such as Bahrdt a dependable source of income. This alignment of high-minded ideology and financial strategy was typical of Bahrdt’s other project and corresponded more generally to the ‘projecting’ spirit that gives this age one aspect of its distinctive character.

Sometime in the mid-1780s a group of friends and students began to meet on Bahrdt’s initiative at his wine garden. From this phase, the German Union seems to have derived its alternative designation: The Society of the XXII. This name seems to have originated in the number of participants originally meeting at Bahrdt’s wine garden as an irregular masonic lodge (Winkelloge, i.e. a lodge operating without the official approbation of the grand lodge). In part because Bahrdt came under pressure from Freemasons to suspend such activities, he decided to convert his project into a correspondence society. Invitations were sent to prominent figures throughout Northern Germany in the hope of securing their support and involvement in a project to defend the ideals of the Enlightenment. This defence assumed a heightened significance since the death of the Prussian king Frederick the Great. He was succeeded by his nephew, Friedrich Wilhelm II, a figure whose susceptibility to anti-Enlightenment forces found expression in the Edict of Religion, which in 1788 attempted to curtail religious freedoms and suppress outward displays of heterodoxy.

The German Union met its demise as a result of an exposure compiled by Johann Joachim Christoph Bode. Published in 1789 under the title of Mehr Noten als Text (More Notes than Text), it revealed to the public not only the manifestos circulated to members but also contained a membership list. German newspapers and periodicals subsequently featured notices in which those who found themselves on the list attempted to clarify the nature of their membership and the circumstances of their recruitment. Bahrdt himself was not on the list nor mentioned by name in Mehr Noten als Text, but Bode in his notes alluded to his decisive role. A subsequent work, Nähere Beleuchtung der Deutschen Union (Closer illumination of the German Union), identified him by name as the progenitor of the secret society. In April 1789 Bahrdt was arrested, first because he had launched the German Union, and second because of his suspected authorship of a play satirizing the Edict of Religion and ridiculing the king. Although he was exonerated from the first charge, the second charge led to imprisonment in the fortress at Magdeburg, from where he was released in July 1790.

While the German Union has a somewhat ephemeral character, certainly when compared to the Illuminati, it is significant for at least two reasons. First, its ingenious attempt to interlock the arcane sphere of the secret societies with the public sphere constituted by the book market and the reading societies reveals an astute appreciation of the social forces at work in Enlightenment society. Second, its exposure to the public generated speculation that it represented a new front for the Illuminati. In this way, it made its own contribution to the perpetuation of the Illuminati myth and the emergence of conspiracy theories that posited a continued existence of this secret society extending beyond the persecution and repression that had in fact sapped it of its energies in the late 1780s. When one considers how Ditfurth had launched an initiative to recruit Bahrdt for the Illuminati and how Adolph Freiherr Knigge had provided Bahrdt with advice about the German Union, there were undoubtedly interesting lines of continuity. On the other hand, it was, of course, Bode who essentially sabotaged the German Union by publishing Mehr Noten als Text. Only a full membership list will achieve clarification to the degree of overlap and continuity between the two secret societies. In addition to the list supplied by Bode, another list was published in the fifth volume of Bahrdt’s correspondence, published in 1798 by the publicist and protégé of Bahrdt, Degenhard Pott (Briefe angesehener Gelehrten, Staatsmänner und anderer, an den berühmten Märtyrer D. K. F. Bahrdt (1798)). The full membership list that remains a desideratum will build on a critical assessment of these two lists and, by providing the link, for example, to the public statements in which members addressed the issue of their membership, demonstrate an alertness to how membership cannot be comprehended on a binary basis but instead involves a range of levels of investment and involvement.

Andrew McKenzie-McHarg

Intro Deutsch

Sources

We do not have an authorised and official membership register of the Deutsche Union, but basically two lists published in order to expose the organisations; they come with a substantial overlap of entries. The first was published by Johann Joachim Christoph Bode in 1789:

The more intriguing second list was published ten years later by Degenhard Pott and added complexity:

Pott differentiates between "proposed members" and candidates who seem to have become full members and he give additional information on positions filled in the organisations. Collecting all the information will allow to go one step further: Pott states the proposals with those who proposed and he states the oaths sworn with the recipients. Both statements will shed light on the hierarchy and the ambition driving the organisation.

Quellen

Wir verfügen nicht über eine autorisierte Mitgliederliste der Deutschen Union. Die Informationen müssen stattdessen mit Vorsicht aus zwei Listen bezogen werden, die publiziert wurden, um die Organisation öffentlich bloß zu stellen. Beide Listen lommen jedoch mit einiger Überlappung. Die erste wurde 1789 von Johann Joachim Christoph Bode publiziert:

Die intrikatere zweite Liste legte Degenhard Pott zehn Jahre später vor:

Pott unterscheidet zwischen "Vorgeschlagenen" und Personen, die demnach gesichert Vollmitglieder wurden und gibt Zusatzinformationen zu den Positions, die die Betreffenden in der Organisation füllten. Sammelt man alle hier gegebenen Informationen wird man einen Schritt weitergehen können: Pott nennt zu den Vorschlägen die Vorschlagenden und zu den abgelegten Schwüren die Rezipienten, die sie annahmen. Beide Aussagen werden Licht auf die Hierarchie in der Organisation und auf die persönlichen Interesse werfen, mit dem sie expandierte.

Who were the members? — data model

The following data model is designed to allow specific searches with the required grain of salt:

Qualifiers:

The two sources have to be stated as "reference with

Wer waren die Mitglieder? — Datenmodell

Das folgende Datenmodell (hier mit ersten Suchabfragen) sollte der Informationslage gerecht werden:

Qualifiers:

Die zwei Quellen sind unter "Fundstellen" zu nennen mit der Property für "Behauptung laut"