August Ludwig von Schlözer

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August Ludwig Schlözer, anonymous portrait, 1779

August Ludwig von Schlözer , also writing under the pseudonym Johann Joseph Haigold and sometimes writing Schlötzer (* July 5, 1735 Gaggstatt (County Hohenlohe-Kirchberg, today Kirchberg an der Jagst ); † September 9, 1809 in Göttingen ) was a German historian , constitutional lawyer , writer , journalist , philologist , educator and statistician of the Enlightenment .


His parents were the pastor from Gaggstatt Johann Georg Friedrich Schlözer (1689–1740) and his wife Sophia Catherina Haigold (1697–1768 / 69).

life and work

In 1751 he began studying theology at the University of Wittenberg . Following the call of the famous orientalist Johann David Michaelis , he continued his studies in Göttingen . In order to deepen his understanding of the Bible, he studied geography and languages ​​of the Orient in preparation for a trip to Palestine . The project, which he pursued intensively for a long time, is indicative of the way he thought: for a theoretical problem he sought a deeper knowledge through practical testing. He was extraordinarily gifted at productively absorbing foreign material; there was also objective commitment and an unusual workforce. He also studied medicine and political science. Three years as a private tutor in Sweden was enough for him to be able to write scientific papers in Swedish . His attempt at a general history of action and seafaring in the oldest times (1758), translated into German in 1761, is an example of his historiography, which combines lifeworld with economic and political factors in order to arrive at a more complete historical knowledge.

From 1761 to 1770 in Russia , first as a private tutor, then as adjunct of the Petersburg Academy of Sciences and teacher of Russian history , he very quickly absorbed the demands of his new environment and delved into the sources on Russian history. His main work, the edition of the Old Russian Nestor Chronicle (1802–1809), evolved from this occupation, demonstrating precise knowledge and reflection of the historical method. Tsar Alexander I honored his services to Russian history through ennobling. With his appointment as full professor in the Philosophical Faculty of Göttingen University, Schlözer had found his calling. He initially taught universal history, after the death of Gottfried Achenwall also statistics, politics, modern history and constitutional law. As a teacher, he fascinated his students, including future politicians and officials such as Heinrich Friedrich Karl vom Stein and Karl August von Hardenberg , with his didactic skill in revealing the contemporary significance of historical knowledge, his frank criticism of any magisterial arbitrariness and his passionate political temperament.

In his presentation of his universal history (1772), Schlözer attributes the further development of mankind to responsible human behavior. History and politics were related in his understanding. In the context of the emerging bourgeois public, the author and reader take part in a historical discourse that Schlözer opens by explicitly addressing the reader.

Fundamental to his constitutional and political ideas is his work Stats Advertisements (1804), which, in addition to general constitutional law and constitutional theory, contains a reflection called metapolitics and a theory of statistics. His understanding of statistics, which he once defined as "stationary history" in contrast to history characterized as "continuous statistics", had an influence on his famous company: August Ludwig Schlözer's correspondence, mostly of historical and political content (1778–1782) and state advertisements ( 1782-1793). It was important to him to collect all the information that could describe and explain the conditions in a country. Just as the historian researches past worlds, the statistician Schlözer, as editor of his journals, proceeded with the aim of illuminating the present. His company was extremely successful, and its publicity was feared by the powerful. In his article Repeated Judicial Murder in Switzerland (reprinted in the Stats advertisements ), in which he criticized the witch trial against Anna Göldi in the Swiss town of Glarus in 1782 , he coined the German word Judizmord .

As a teacher, writer and journalist, Schlözer stimulated the public discussion of the norms and values ​​of politics and human coexistence and promoted the development of bourgeois emancipation, an achievement that he himself - tired and bitter at the end of his life - assessed critically.

Professor Schlözer with his wife and five children, daughter Dorothea with a globe

In 1769 he married the 16-year-old Caroline Friederike Roederer . She later became known as a painter and art embroiderer. The only surviving daughter from this marriage was Dorothea Schlözer (1770-1825). At her father's instigation, she received lessons in mathematics , history , French , English , Dutch , Swedish , Italian , Latin , Spanish , Hebrew and Greek and passed the philosophical doctoral examination in Göttingen in 1787 as the first female candidate. She is one of the group known as the “ university ladies ” group of Göttingen learned daughters of the 18th century.

After completing her doctorate, she helped her father to work out the history of coins, money and mining in the Russian Empire from 1700–1789 (1791). In 1792 she married the Lübeck merchant and later Senator Mattheus Rodde , whose house she made into a social center of the Hanseatic city in the following years. After he went bankrupt in 1810, the family moved to Göttingen.


In 1769 he married Caroline Friederike Roederer (1753–1808), a daughter of the anatomist Johann Georg Roederer (1726–1763). The couple had several children:

  • Karl (1780–1859), businessman and Russian consul general ∞ Friederike Platzmann (* July 1, 1787; † September 28, 1873)
  • Christian (1774–1831), professor of political science in Moscow, later in Bonn
  • Ludwig (1776–1812), officer of the King's German Legion , died in French captivity
  • Dorothea (1770–1825) ∞ Freiherr Mattheus Rodde (1754–1825)
  • Elisabeth (1783–1818) ∞ Johann Heinrich Gelbke (1746–1822), Chamber Secretary


Schlözer's coat of arms in the Russian nobility diploma from 1804

Works (selection)


Text editions

  • August Ludwig v. Schlözer: Preparation for world history for children. A book for children's teachers. Edited by Marko Demantowsky and Susanne Popp , Göttingen 2011, ISBN 978-3-525-35844-3 .
  • August Ludwig v. Schlözer: Presentation of his Universal-Historie (1772/73): with supplements. Reprint of the edition Göttingen, Gotha, Dieterich, 1772. New ed., Introduced and commented by Horst Walter Blanke. Spenner, Waltrop 1997, ISBN 3-927718-85-8 .
  • Eduard Winter (Ed.): August Ludwig v. Schlözer and Russia. Letters and reports from and to Schlözer 1764-1803. Berlin / GDR 1961 (letters and studies on the history of Eastern Europe, 9).

Books about Schlözer

  • Martin Peters: Old Reich and Europe. The historian, statistician and publicist August Ludwig (v.) Schlözer (1735–1809) . Lit, Münster et al. 2003, ISBN 3-8258-6236-4 (plus dissertation from the University of Marburg, 2000).
  • Werner Hennies: The political theory of Schlözers between enlightenment and liberalism. Munich 1985 (list of papers, works and literature, pp. 264–301)
  • Friederike Fürst: AL Schlözer, a German enlightener in the 18th century. Heidelberg 1928 (Heidelberg Treatises on Middle and Modern History, H. 56).
  • Ferdinand Frensdorff : From and about Schlözer. Berlin 1909.
  • Christian von Schlözer : Schlözer's public and private life from original documents and with literal addition of several of the latter. 2 vols., Leipzig 1828.
  • Grete Gonser: Schlözer's roots in Hohenlohe, Kirchberger Hefte No. 8/2009, 28 pages + family tree, published by the Kirchberg Museum and Culture Association.


  • Martin Peters: Possibilities and Limits of the Reception of Rousseau in German Historiography. The example of the Göttingen professors August Ludwig von Schlözer and Christoph Meiners. In: Herbert Jaumann (Ed.): Rousseau in Germany. Berlin & New York 1995, pp. 267-289.
  • Jürgen Voss: Schlözer and France. In: Gonthier-Louis Fink (ed.): German studies in an intercultural perspective. Strasbourg 1988, pp. 93-105.
  • Richard Saage: August Ludwig Schlözer as a political theorist. In: Hans-Georg Herrlitz, Horst Kern (Hrsg.): Beginnings of Göttingen social science. Methods, content and social processes in the 18th and 19th centuries. Göttingen 1987, pp. 13-54.
  • Horst Kern: Schlözer's importance for the methodology of empirical social research. In: ibid., Pp. 55–71.
  • Hans Erich Bödeker : A writer ... is an unskilled, unpaid servant of civil society. On the educational engagement of August Ludwig Schlözer (1735–1809). In: Photorin. Communications of the Lichtenberg Society (1987) H. 11/12, pp. 3-18.
  • Ursula AJ Becher: August Ludwig von Schlözer - Analysis of a historical discourse. In: Hans E. Bödeker u. a. (Ed.): Enlightenment and history. Studies in history in the 18th century. Göttingen 1986, pp. 344-362.
  • Günter Mühlpfordt: Ethnic history instead of princely history - Schlözer as the founder of critical-ethnic historical research. In: Jahrbuch für Geschichte 25 (1982), pp. 23–72.
  • Otto Brinken: The professor from Göttingen and the rappel-headed farmers. On three remarkable historical children's books August Ludwig v. Schlözers in the context of the history book in the 18th century. In: Die Schiefafel 4 (1981), pp. 25-47.
  • Ursula AJ Becher: August Ludwig von Schlözer. In: Hans-Ulrich Wehler: German historians. Volume 7, Göttingen 1980, pp. 7-23.
  • Ján Tibenský: Schlözer's importance for the views of the Slavs that prevailed in Slovakia in the 18th century . In: Eduard Winter (ed.): Lomonosov - Schlözer - Pallas. German-Russian Academic Relations in the 18th Century. Berlin 1962, pp. 228-244.
  • Theodor Heuss : August Ludwig von Schlözer and his daughter. In: Ders .: Shadow conjuring. Figures on the margins of history. Stuttgart & Tübingen 1947; Klöpfer and Meyer, Tübingen 1999, ISBN 3-931402-52-5 .
  • Hans Dieter Haller: August Ludwig von Schlözer (1735 to 1809) , in: Pegasus in the country - writers in Hohenlohe . Baier-Verlag 2006, pp. 116–123.
  • Han F. Vermeulen: 'From the Field to the Study. AL Schlözer and the Invention of Ethnology '. In: Han F. Vermeulen: Before Boas. the genesis of ethnography and ethnology in the German Enlightenment . Lincoln & London, University of Nebraska Press, 2016, ISBN 978-0-8032-5542-5 .


Web links

Commons : August Ludwig von Schlözer  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Schlözer, Caroline Friedrike von . In: Hans Vollmer (Hrsg.): General lexicon of fine artists from antiquity to the present . Founded by Ulrich Thieme and Felix Becker . tape 30 : Scheffel – Siemerding . EA Seemann, Leipzig 1936, p. 115 .