Arnold Ruge

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Arnold Ruge

Arnold Ruge (born September 13, 1802 in Bergen auf Rügen , † December 31, 1880 in Brighton ) was a German writer . In 1848/1849 he was a member of the Frankfurt National Assembly , where he represented the democratic left.


Opposition in March

Ruge was the son of the land manager Christoph Arnold Ruge and his wife Catharina Sophia Wilken († October 1847); the later medical advisor Ludwig Ruge was his brother. After Ruge had successfully completed his schooling in Stralsund in 1821 at the age of 19 with the Abitur , he began to study philosophy at the University of Halle in the same year . In 1822 he switched to the same subject at the University of Jena and stayed there until 1823. He then went to the University of Heidelberg , where he was arrested and convicted in the spring of 1824 as a “member of a secret, forbidden association” . Ruge had been a leading member of the secret youth league that was betrayed in early 1824. In 1821 he was a member of the Halle fraternity , in 1822 a member of the Jena fraternity and in 1823 a member of the Heidelberg fraternity .

After a year of pre-trial detention in Köpenick , Ruge was sentenced in 1826 by the Higher Regional Court of Breslau to a 15-year prison sentence in the Kolberg fortress . Ruge was held there until he was pardoned by the king in the spring of 1830. During this prison sentence he was already studying the old classics , translating Theocritus , Aeschylus and Sophocles in the meter of the original and composing various texts that were based on the style of Jean Paul , but also of English humorists .

After his release in 1830, Ruge got a job at the Royal Pedagogy of the Francke Foundations in Halle and in the following year he was able to complete his habilitation with “The Platonic Aesthetics”. Until 1836 he worked there as a private lecturer. On May 25, 1832, Ruge married Louise Düffer († 1833).

Ruge married Agnes Wilhelmine Nietzsche (1814–1899) for the second time in 1834. She had a son Richard (1835-1905). With Agnes he had two daughters, Hedwig (1837-1910) and Francisca (1849-1939) and a son, Arnold (1843-1912).

As a private lecturer, Ruge began to talk about freedom of the press , popular sovereignty and the like in many articles in the “Blätter für literary entertainment” . and soon became the focus of the Young Hegelians . It was during this time that he became acquainted with Theodor Echtermeyer , with whom he founded the Halle Yearbooks for German Art and Science from January 1838 , which quickly became the most important critical organ of Young Hegelianism. Important employees were among others. a. Ludwig Feuerbach , David Friedrich Strauss , Hermann Franck and the Brothers Grimm .

When in the spring of 1841 the Prussian government censored and banned the "yearbooks" because of their liberal orientation, Ruge moved the editorial team from Halle to Dresden and changed the title to German yearbooks for science and art . Interior Minister Johann Paul von Falkenstein , however, withdrew the license from this magazine as well. Ruge then settled in Switzerland and had his “yearbooks” published there.

Stay in Paris and Zurich

In 1843 Ruge went to Paris , where he edited the Franco-German yearbooks together with Karl Marx . In 1844 he wrote several articles under the pseudonym "Ein Prussia" for the exile magazine Vorwärts! by Heinrich Börnstein . In March 1844, Marx and Ruge ended their collaboration because of irreconcilable differences. In the Silesian Weavers' Uprising , in which Marx and Heinrich Heine saw the harbingers of a new era, Ruge saw only a local hunger revolt. He rejected communism and campaigned for a democratic republic. Even German Mäurer that particularly for democracy began and to the imbalance between rich and poor, was in Paris to his friends.

From the beginning of September 1846, Ruge lived and worked in Zurich , where he worked very closely with Julius Froebel . The "Junius letters" were published with his significant collaboration ("Junius" was Froebel's pseudonym). In Zurich, Ruge also laid the foundation stone for his work edition, which was later published in Mannheim.

In the spring of 1847 Ruge returned to Germany and established himself as a bookseller in Leipzig. Attached to his bookstore was a small publishing house which, under Ruge's direction, now increasingly published writings on daily political events. One of the more important titles here is Die Akademie - a philosophical paperback that appeared in 1848. Other authors of this publishing house were Gustav Freytag , Julius Fröbel , Friedrich Gerstäcker , Friedrich Hebbel , Georg Herwegh , Moritz Hartmann and Ludwig Seeger .

German revolution

Ruge's friendship with Ludwig Feuerbach soon set the trend for his political stance. In 1848 Ruge welcomed the February Revolution in France and wanted such a political change for Germany as well. In order to have a platform for such a demand, Ruge founded the magazine Die Reform , which was the mouthpiece of German democracy from the start .

After the outbreak of the March Revolution of 1848 , he was elected to the Frankfurt National Assembly for Breslau , where he took his place on the extreme left . In this office he hardly appeared; His demand for self-determination by Poland and Italy at the session of July 29, 1848, seems to be particularly worth mentioning . He also proposed a congress of the great nations of Europe, which should settle the dispute in a peaceful manner and initiate general disarmament. The historiographer of the revolution, Veit Valentin , saw it as a forerunner of the League of Nations idea.

But soon Ruge withdrew politically disappointed and went to Berlin. As a result, he was declared resigned by the National Assembly. In Berlin he became a member of the Democratic Association and in October 1848 was instrumental in the development of the election and party program of a radical democratic party for Germany. At the same time, in October 1848, he attended the Democratic Congress in Berlin to have his reform elevated to the status of an organ of democracy. The ensuing state of siege , however, resulted in the ban on this newspaper and Ruge had to leave the city on January 21, 1849.

Escape abroad

Arnold Ruge 1863

Ruge returned to Leipzig and was involved there in the events of the March Revolution . After they were suppressed, Ruge fled - in the meantime advertised for a manhunt - together with his family via Brussels and Ostend to Brighton. From there Giuseppe Mazzini brought him to London to work with him, Lajos Kossuth and Alexandre Ledru-Rollin on a bourgeois-democratic opposition. This Comitato Europeo aimed to establish a pan-European republic. The political police of the German Confederation, which created lists of names and exchanged them internationally, considered Ruge more dangerous than Marx, who was also being observed.

From 1866, Ruge withdrew more and more from setting political goals; like other leftists in the Paulskirche, he considered Otto von Bismarck's policy to be forward-looking. In the battle of Königgrätz on July 3, 1866, Ruge saw - according to his own admission - "the beginning of the Prussian future of Europe". At Bismarck's personal request, Ruge was awarded an annual honorary salary of 3000 Reichsmarks from 1877 onwards for his services to Prussian politics .

Arnold Ruge died in Brighton on December 31, 1880, at the age of 78. There he found his final resting place. Much of Ruge's estate is administered by the International Institute for Social History in Amsterdam .


In addition to his own literary work (see list), Ruge has also made an outstanding contribution to literature through his translations. Here are especially Henry Thomas Buckle (History of civilization) , Fernando Garrido (Today Spain) and Henry Bulwer-Lytton (Lord Palmerston) to name. Ruge often used pseudonyms with which he drew his publications; next to “Dr. Adolph "," M. Karlstein "," Agnes W. Stein "is above all" R. Durangelo ”, an anagram of his name.

  • Eight speeches on religion . Berlin 1875
  • Call to unity . Berlin 1866
  • From earlier times. Autobiography . Berlin 1863–67 (4 vols.)
  • Bianca della Rocca. Historical narrative . Berlin 1869
  • Correspondence and diary sheets from the years 1825–1880 . Berlin 1885–86 (2 vols.)
  • History of our time since the wars of freedom . Leipzig 1881
  • Junius letters . Leipzig 1867
  • The war . Berlin 1867
  • The Lodge of Humanism . Leipzig 1851
  • Manifesto to the German nation . Hamburg 1866
  • The new world. Tragedy . Leipzig 1856
  • Novellas from France and Switzerland . Leipzig 1848
  • The novelist . Stralsund 1839
  • Revolutionary amendments . Leipzig 1850
  • Schill and his family. Tragedy . Stralsund 1830
  • Our system . Leipzig 1850
  • Two double novels in dramatic form . Berlin 1865
  • Two years in Paris . Leipzig 1846 (2 vol.)


Web links

Commons : Arnold Ruge  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Arnold Ruge  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Helge Dvorak: Biographical Lexicon of the German Burschenschaft. Volume I: Politicians. Sub-Volume 5: R – S. Winter, Heidelberg 2002, ISBN 3-8253-1256-9 , pp. 143-145.
  2. Max Morsches , Peter Lückerath: German Mäurer as a democrat and early socialist. In: Heimat between Sülz and Dhünn, history and folklore in Bergisch Gladbach and the surrounding area, issue 18, 2012.
  3. ^ Jörg-Detlef Kühne : Revolution and legal culture. The significance of the revolutions of 1848 for legal development in Europe . In: The 1848 Revolutions in European History. Results and aftermath. Contributions to the symposium in the Paulskirche from June 21 to 23, 1998. Historical magazine . Supplements, new series, Volume 29, 2000, pp. 57–72, here pp. 69–71.
  4. ^ Wolfram Siemann : 1848/49 in Germany and Europe. Event, coping, memory. Schöningh, Paderborn u. a. 2006, p. 226.
  5. Frank Möller : From revolutionary idealism to realpolitik. Generation change after 1848? In: Generational change and historical change , historical magazine . Supplements, Neue Reihe, Volume 36, 2003, pp. 71–91, here p. 77.