Adam Müller from Nitterdorf

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Adam Heinrich Müller (around 1810)
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Adam Heinrich Müller , knight of Nitterdorf from 1826 or 1827 (born June 30, 1779 in Berlin , † January 17, 1829 in Vienna ), was a German philosopher , diplomat , economist and state theorist . He belonged to the Viennese romantic circle .


Adam Müller, son of a tax clerk, studied law and history in Göttingen from 1798 to 1801 ; His teachers there included the lawyer Gustav von Hugo and the historians August Ludwig von Schlözer and Arnold Heeren , who had a great influence on the young miller. He was most deeply influenced, however, by Friedrich Gentz , who in particular transferred his own Anglophilia to the young Müller. After a brief activity as a trainee lawyer at the Kurmärkische Kammer in Berlin, he became tutor of the Haza-Radlitz family in Posen ; Here he wrote his first book in 1805, the philosophical treatise The Doctrine of Opposites .

He was able to travel a few times in the following years, e.g. B. to Sweden and Denmark . During a longer stay in Vienna, he converted to the Roman Catholic Church on April 30, 1805 . Müller traveled to Dresden via Poland, where he gave lectures on German science and literature (1806) in which he showed himself to be a supporter of Schlegel 's romanticism . In 1808 he was editor of the journal Phöbus together with Heinrich von Kleist .

From the end of 1805 to 1809 Müller lived in Dresden , where he became famous for his lectures on German science and literature, which he held in 1806; Here he applied the idea of ​​balancing the opposites (Germanic versus Greek element of European literature, Classical versus Romanticism) to poetry, philosophy, and also political thinking. He developed his central political ideas in his lectures held in 1808/09, which he published in 1809 under the title The Elements of State Art . In accordance with his motto that the "state scholar" had to stand by the statesman's side, Müller propagated the basic ideas of political romanticism, the main work of which the elements should be seen: Against the modern contract theory, he set the idea of ​​the organically grown, traditional and present-day monarchical corporate state ; against the modern economic theory of Adam Smith (who was hostile to Müller throughout his life) he propagated the idea of ​​a strict social bond between property. Later, too, he repeatedly criticized modern economic life. His both admired and hostile definition of the state is: The state is not a “manufacture ... or a mercantile society, it is the most intimate connection of all physical and spiritual needs, all physical and spiritual wealth, all internal and external life Nation, into a large, energetic, infinitely moving and lively whole ”.

1809 went Müller, after he had married to Sophie Haza-Radlitz, to Berlin, where he held more historical and political lectures and articles in the by Heinrich von Kleist published newspaper Berliner evening papers published (1810/11). Müller, now back in the Prussian civil service, rejected the reform efforts of State Chancellor Karl August von Hardenberg , who had been in office since 1810, and tried to trigger a public discussion on reform policy with his articles critical of the government. In 1811 he also acted as a close political advisor to the leader of the Prussian aristocratic opposition, Friedrich August Ludwig von der Marwitz . But Hardenberg smashed the opposition: Marwitz was imprisoned, the "Abendblätter" had to stop publishing and Müller was deported to Vienna as diplomatic reporter.

Driven back to Berlin by the war, Müller wrote an indictment against State Chancellor von Hardenberg on behalf of the Kurbrandenburg Knights after he had rejected Müller's request for a position in the civil service. In this indictment intended for the king, he accused the chancellor of revolutionary principles. Müller commented on the consequences of the reform policy feared by him as follows: “Knights and peasants are going under, and in the end there are only merchants, craftsmen and Jews.” However, his writing had no consequences. Müller's anti-Semitism , which was characteristic of the Deutsche Tischgesellschaft , which he and Achim von Arnim co-founded , is also evident in his comment: “We are waging war, namely‹ ... ›another thorough, serious and sincere one against the Jews, against one Bred, which with wonderful cheek, without a profession, without talent, with little courage and even less honor, ‹...›, into the state, into science, into art, into society and ultimately even into the chivalrous barriers the duel, is trying to push in and squeeze in. "

After the Prussian state stopped paying his wages, Müller had to work in Austrian services: from 1813 to 1815 he worked for the Austrian army in Tyrol as a provincial commissioner and councilor, and as a journalist for the “Boten in Tirol”. In 1815, after having followed the Kaiser to the Feldhof camp in 1815 , he was accepted into Metternich 's staff , which from 1815 to 1826 gave him the post of Austrian Consul General for Northern Germany based in Leipzig . Here Müller developed numerous journalistic and political (partly anti-Prussian) activities, including from 1816 to 1818 he published the "German State Advertisements". As a diplomat, however, Müller acted largely unsuccessfully; his criticism of the Reformation anniversary of 1817 led to the first public disputes about his person, and after the conversion of the Ducal couple of Anhalt-Köthen to Catholicism in 1825, Metternich could no longer hold him. Müller returned to Vienna in 1827, where he at least received his personal nobility and in the last three years of his life worked as a councilor in the court and state chancellery. He died two years later.

Albert Ludwig von Haza-Radlitz , who later became a member of the German Reichstag, was his stepson and, under his influence, also converted to the Catholic Church.

His writings

Müller is the main representative of political romanticism. His work is predominantly characterized by an Enlightenment-Romantic mixed style, which proves to be particularly fruitful in his economic theoretical writing Elements of Statecraft . In it he examines the spiritual foundations of economically developed nations, how they can use their wealth for benefit for all social classes and create a just world order. Central is his criticism of liberalism and the writings of Adam Smith. Philosophically, Müller starts from his theory of opposites - a kind of early dialectical view that revolves around the ideas of mediation and balance.


  • Hannah Arendt : Adam Müller Renaissance? In: Kölnische Zeitung . Literature supplement from 13th and 17th September 1932. Now available again in English translation in: Dies .: Reflections on Literature and Culture. Stanford University Press, Stanford (California) 2007, ISBN 978-0-8047-4499-7 , pp. 38-45.
  • Jakob Baxa : Adam Müller. A picture of life from the Wars of Liberation and the German Restoration. Jena 1930.
  • Jakob Baxa: Adam Müller's testimonies. 2 volumes. Schöningh, Munich / Paderborn / Vienna 1966.
  • Gisela von Busse: The doctrine of the state as an organism. Critical investigations into the philosophy of the state of Adam Müller. Berlin 1928.
  • Silvia Dethlefs:  Müller Ritter von Nitterdorf, Adam. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 18, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1997, ISBN 3-428-00199-0 , pp. 338-341 ( digitized version ).
  • Alois Hartmann: The meaning and value of money. In the philosophy of Georg Simmel and Adam (von) Müller. Verlag für Wissenschaft und Kultur, Berlin 2003, ISBN 3-936749-53-1 .
  • Ernst Rudolf Huber: Adam Müller and Prussia. In: Ders .: Nationstaat und Verfassungsstaat: Studies on the history of the modern state idea. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 1965, pp. 48-70.
  • Benedikt Koehler: Aesthetics of Politics. Adam Müller and Political Romanticism. Klett-Cotta, Stuttgart 1980, ISBN 3-12-910800-9 .
  • Albrecht Langner: On the conservative position in the political and economic development of Germany before 1848. In: Ders. (Ed.): Catholicism, conservative criticism of capitalism and early socialism until 1850. Schöningh, Munich 1975, ISBN 3-506-70726-4 , pp. 11–73.
  • Jochen Marquardt: "Mediating story". On the relationship between aesthetic theory and historical thinking in Adam Heinrich Müller. H.-D. Heinz, Stuttgart 1993, ISBN 3-88099-280-0 .
  • Alfred von Martin : Adam Müller's world of political ideas. In: Culture and Universal History: Walter Goetz on his 60th birthday presented by colleagues, friends and others. Students. Teubner, Leipzig / Berlin 1927, pp. 305–327.
  • Ernst Mischler:  Müller, Adam Heinrich . In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Volume 22, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1885, pp. 501-511.
  • Katharina Mommsen : Kleist's fight with Goethe. Stiehm, Heidelberg 1974.
  • Ferdinand Reinkemeyer: Adam Müller's ethical and philosophical views in the light of romanticism: a structural psychological and characterological investigation. Zickfeldt, Osterwieck am Harz 1926.
  • Carl Schmitt : Political Romanticism. Duncker and Humblot, Berlin 1919.
  • Helmut Sembdner: On the history of the magazine. In: Phöbus . Emphasis. Olms, Hildesheim 1987, pp. 603-609.
  • Dierk Spreen: Exchange, technology, war. The birth of society in the technical-media a priori. Argument, Hamburg 1998, ISBN 3-88619-261-X .
  • Constantin von Wurzbach : Müller, Adam von . In: Biographisches Lexikon des Kaiserthums Oesterreich . 19th part. Kaiserlich-Königliche Hof- und Staatsdruckerei, Vienna 1868, pp. 322–328 ( digitized version ).
  • Harm-Peer Zimmermann : Aesthetic Enlightenment. For the revision of Romanticism with a folkloric intention. Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg 2001.

Web links

Commons : Adam Heinrich Müller  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files