Journal Article

Violence Between Civilians and State Authorities in the Prussian Rhineland, 1830-1846

James M. Brophy

in German History

Published on behalf of German History Society

Volume 22, issue 1, pages 1-35
Published in print January 2004 | ISSN: 0266-3554
Published online January 2004 | e-ISSN: 1477-089X | DOI:
Violence Between Civilians and State Authorities in the Prussian Rhineland, 1830-1846

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This esssay examines fifty-six violent confrontations between civilians and state authorities in the Prussian Rhineland, assessing the degree to which this violence can be understood as social or political protest. Ranging from simple fist fights to mêlées involving weapons, these fights cut across several socio-economic, political, and religious fronts and therefore cannot be identified as a fixed category of contentious behaviour. Yet a general anti-statist disposition does unite most of these actions. They manifest a changing popular culture, registering opposition to state intrusion and the attempt of popular classes to link grievances to broader political impulses. At issue is the question of how local life became bound up in the political frameworks of post-revolutionary Europe. In spite of formal political exclusion, common social groups acquired a political mindset of Parteilichkeit and exercised political agency in ways that affected politics at regional and national levels. Such processes of politicization should be part of an interpretive framework of civil society that can simultaneously examine popular and bourgeois political cultures and thus pose sharper questions for understanding how they mutually changed one another in the first half of the nineteenth century. Literature on social protest, civil society, Alltagsgeschichte, and the public sphere form the essay's historiographical framework.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: European History

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