Peasant law literature

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The Bauer legal literature was a legal literary genre in the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation . It presented the legal situation and the ruling practice of the courts, in particular the Reich Chamber Court, in conflicts between the peasants and their landlords in the late period of the feudal order from the end of the 16th to the 19th century. After the peasant wars (1524 to 1525) existed also with the territorial lords the need that conflicts between landlords and farmers can be resolved without violence. The prohibition of violence resulted in the legalization of the conflicts by improving the possibilities to bring subject trials. While the peasant-friendly literature was based on the fundamental freedom of the peasant, the landlord-friendly literature emphasized his fundamental lack of freedom.

Landlord-friendly literature

Stumpf (1534), Lehenmann (1612) and Erhardt (1624) justify the introduction of land and body rule in a simplistic way with the victory of the Frankish king Clovis I over the Alemanni (500 and 537) and the victory of Charlemagne over the Saxons (782 ). The defeated were made prisoners of war, but not killed, but given life in slavery. The entire German nation has lost its freedom and therefore the basic assumption is that the peasant is not free.

Melchior Dethmar Grolmann (1734) and Johann Georg Estor (1742) still adhered to the basic assumption of lack of freedom in the 18th century. In case of doubt, it is assumed that the farmer is subject to the jurisdiction of his landlord. There is a presumption against the farmer that he is free from labor. The farmer must therefore prove his freedom.

Peasant-friendly literature

Husanus (1530) rejects the basic assumption of personal bondage. The only reason for servitude can be war or slavery, and therefore the contemporary form of servitude is more moderate and less harsh than slavery. The easement is necessary, however, to keep the community in a safe and stable condition. In case of doubt, however, a decision must be made in favor of the subject. With this, Husanus follows Roman law, according to which personal freedom is the ordinary legal status of man and can only be lost through special events and legal transactions.

Man can forego his freedom through contracts and restrictions of freedom are usually of a contractual nature: "Our farmers are not always servants." Erhardt (1624) therefore calls for a careful and contractual exercise of labor rights, because labor services meet the natural need for freedom contradict and are therefore hated. Similar principles are represented by Stamm (1625), Mevius (1645), Otto (1681), Potgieser (1707) and Ahasver Fritsch (1673). According to Mevius and Fritsch, it depends on the local customs, and therefore the farmers in Mecklenburg and Western Pomerania are subject to plaice compulsory (glebae adscripticii) and are not entitled to deduct. H. permissive.

Last phase of the feudal order

Hauschild (1738 and 1771), Klingner (1749–1755) and Bünemann (1750) conclude the doctrine of the basic assumption of personal freedom against Grolmann (1734), Estor (1742), Reineccius (1747) and Breuning (1767).

Hauschild argues anthropologically that man must be free because he must maintain himself through work. He can only limit his natural freedom through contracts. Even in Saxony, where the peasants were not serfs, the expansion of the Fronen would lead to serfdom in 40 to 50 years. Without the demand of the peasant class, no more goods and handicrafts would be produced. If the forced labor were too oppressive, the entire economic cycle would come to a standstill.

The “praesumptio pro libertate”, ie the presumption of personal freedom in material and procedural law, is the best remedy against the expansion of the labor burden. A reduction in the frones only diminishes the value of the manor, and this damage is easy to cope with. The restoration commission of the Saxon state reform of 1763 took up these ideas, but could not prevail against the nobility. From 1790, the process of basic relief or feudal replacement began in Germany, which today is often referred to as peasant liberation .

Peasant law literature by date of publication

  • Johannes Stumpf: Schwytzer Chronica. Zurich 1554.
  • Martin Pegius: De jure emphyteutico, Bawrecht, which is otherwise called inheritance law, is indicated in how it should be kept between the landlord and the Bawrecht. Ingolstadt 1559.
  • Martin Pegius: From the easements of local and Bavarian goods. Ingolstadt 1567.
  • Renatus Choppinus: De privilegiis rusticorum libri tres. Paris 1575
  • Andreas Gail: Practicarum observationum tam ad processum iudiciarum praesertim imperialis camerae, quam causarum decisiones pertinentium libri duo, ed postrema, Cologne 1621. first 1578.
  • Siculus Flaccus: De rusticorum privilegiis. Cologne 1582.
  • Johann Friedrich Husanus: Tractatus de hominibus propriis, in quo tum veteris, tum hodiernae servitutis jura breviter et dilucide explicantur. Hamburg 1590.
  • Heinrich v. Rosenthal: Tractatus et synopsis totius juris feudalis, 2 volumes. Frankfurt am Main 1597/1600.
  • Siculus Flaccus: De rusticorum regimine. Mainz 1601.
  • Christoph Lehenmann: Chronicle of the Freyen Reichs instead of Speyr. 1612.
  • Jonas Eucharius Erhardt: Dissertatio inauguralis de operis rusticorum. Basel 1622.
  • Johann Hermann Stamm: Tractatus de servitute personali liber tertius. Frankfurt am Main 1625.
  • Kaspar Klock: Tractatus nomico-politicus de contributionibus in romano-germanico imperio. Frankfurt am Main 1634.
  • David Mevius : A brief concern about the questions, such as the state, demands and repressed succession of the students, about which someone avoids encouragement, arise and occur at the present time. Stralsund 1645.
  • Johann Franz Balthasar: Dissertatio de operis subditorum. Salzburg 1656.
  • Johann Andreas Frommann: Discursus inauguralis in sectioram quaedam puncta de subditorum et maxime rusticorum operis, from Frohn services. Tubingen 1671.
  • Ahasver Fritsch: Tractatus de jure ac statu pagorum Germaniae. Jena 1673.
  • August Benedict Carpzov : Disputatio juridica de praecipuis rusticorum privilegiis. Univ. Diss. Leipzig 1678.
  • Gerhard Feltmann: Jus georgicum cum inclusione animalium aliisque rei agrariae argumentis. Leipzig 1678.
  • Jakob Otto: To observe seven pieces of peculiarities in the imagination of serfdom. Frankfurt am Main 1681.
  • Johannes Nicolaus Hertius: Dissertatio inauguralis de hominibus propriis. Giessen 1682.
  • Christoph Besold : Thesaurus practicus iuridicus, volumes 1 and 2. 1679, editio nova, Nuremberg 1697
  • Gottfried Christian Leyser (1647–1700, son of Wilhelm Leyser I ): Jus georgicum, sive tractatus de praediis. Leipzig / Frankfurt am Main 1698.
  • Joachim Potgieser: De conditione et statu servorum apud Germanos. Cologne 1707.
  • Christoph Lorenz Bilderbeck: Newly increased village = and country = law: That is: perfect instruction from those villages, whose country = people stand, distinction, Ländereyen, Dorff-Fluhren, obligations, in particular those herendienst, their acquisition and loss, the service Freyheit, from the Weyde law, and the Koppel Weyde etc .. Leipzig / Celle 1708.
  • Johann Philipp Streit: Dissertatio inauguralis juridica de operis determinatis et indeterminatis. Erfurt 1709.
  • Johann Paul Kress: Dissertatio juridica de privilegiis agriculturae apud germanos. Of freedoms and other equities of agriculture in Germany. first Helmstedt 1712, ed.Tertia Jena 1731.
  • Anton Wilhelm Ertl: Praxis aurea de jurisdictione inferiori civili et bassa: vulgo of the lower jurisdiction, inheritance court, vogtheylichen authority and Hofmarck court. Nuremberg 1713.
  • Johannes Melchior Franck: De saevitia, Of cruelty. Jena 1719.
  • Johann Friedrich Hoeckner: De operarum indeterminatarum determinatione, sive of inadequate service reduction. Univ.-Diss. Leipzig 1720.
  • David Georg Strube : Commentatio de jure villicorum, vulgo by Meyer = law. 2nd edition, Hildesheim 1735, first 1720.
  • Johann Wilhelm von Goebel: Tractatio iuris georgici de singularibus quibusdam praediis rusticorum, quae sunt in terris brunsvico-luneburgicis et vicinia, commonly known from Sattelfreyen- Meyerdings-, Propstings- and Laet- goods. Helmstedt Univ.- Diss. 1728.
  • Georg Melchior von Ludolff: Variarum observationum forensium, Tomus I. Wetzlar 1732.
  • Johann Heinrich Zedler: Large complete universal lexicon Volume 3, B - Bi. Halle / Leipzig 1733.
  • Justus Henning Böhmer : De libertate imperfacta rusticorum in Germania. Hall Univ. Diss. 1733.
  • Melchior Dethmar Grolmann: Dissertatio juridica deoperarum debitarum mutatione. Casting 1734.
  • David Georg Strube: Thorough report of the Abmeyerungsrecht, which proves that no man of the estate is authorized to exonerate his Meyer and their heirs from Meyerstatt at will and without substantial cause. Hildesheim 1738.
  • Johannes Leonhard Hauschild: Opusculum historico-juridicum praesumptionem pro libertate naturali in causis rusticorum. Dresden 1738.
  • Johann Anton Denecke: Newly increased village and land law. 5th increased edition. Frankfurt / Leipzig 1739.
  • Johann Georg Estor: Civil legal scholarship of the Germans after the imperial farewells and proven news, 3 volumes. Marburg / Frankfurt am Main 1742.
  • Joachim Jakob Reineccius: Commentatio de rustico quondam servo. Jena 1747.
  • Johann Gottlob Klingner: Collections on village and peasant rights, 4 volumes. Leipzig 1749–1755.
  • August Rudolph Jesaias Bünemann : BS Icti Hanoverani Assertio de rusticorum libertate et operis contra Reineccium. Hanover / Leipzig 1750.
  • Anton Hockauf: Tractatus juridicus de servitute praecipuarum regionum Germaniae, From serfdom in Germany. Leipzig 1757.
  • Johann Georg Estor: Commentatio de praesumtione contra rusticos in causis operarum harumque redemtione licita. Marburg 1765.
  • Christian Heinrich Breuning: Dissertatio de falsa praesumptione libertatis rusticorum a censu et operis. Leipzig 1767.
  • Johann Gottfried Schaumburg: Introduction to Saxon Law, new edition, 4 volumes. Dresden / Leipzig 1768.
  • Friedrich Carl von Buri : Extensive treatise of peasant goods in Germany. 2nd Edition. Casting 1769.
  • Christoph Heinrich Schweser: Theatrum Servitutum or scene of the easements, whereupon all types of servituts as well as the old and new servants and servants are presented, discussed and explained through many quaestiones and cases. 2nd edition, Nuremberg 1769.
  • Johannes Leonhard Hauschild: Legal treatise of peasants and their merrymaking also the presumption of their natural freedom founded in rights. Dresden and Leipzig 1771.
  • Johann Heinrich Christian von Selchow: Elementa juris germanici privati ​​hodierni ex ipsius fontis deducta. 6th edition. Goettingen 1779.
  • Ludewig Friederich Gabcke: On the benefits of village and peasant law and the way to present it. Hall 1780.
  • Ludewig Friederich Gabcke: Principles of village and peasant law. 1780.
  • Justus Friedrich Runde: Comparison of the former and present condition of German farmers and investigation of the means by which the changes that have taken place in the German peasant class are brought about, in: Memoires de la Societe des Antiquites de Cassel I. Kassel 1780, pp. 252-272.
  • Johann Melchior Hoscher: Contributions to the latest history of the outrage of German subjects against their sovereignty. From court files. Casting 1790.
  • Justus Friedrich Runde: Principles of common German private law. 4th edition. Göttingen 1806, first 1791.
  • Ludwig Julius Friedrich Höpfner : Theoretical - practical commentary on the Heineccian institutions according to their latest edition. 8th edition. by AD Weber, Frankfurt am Main 1818.
  • Ferdinand Friedrich Weichsel: Legal historical investigations concerning the landlord-peasant relationship in Germany. Bremen 1822.
  • Carl Friedrich Eichhorn: Introduction to German private law including feudal law. 5th edition. Göttingen 1845, first in 1825.
  • Johann Christian Fleischhauer: The manor-peasant relationship in Germany: how it originated, spread and made difficult ...; together with the effects and consequences .... Neustadt an der Orla 1837.
  • Mittermaier: Principles of common German private law including trade, bills of exchange and maritime law 1. 7th edition. Regensburg 1847.
  • Daniel Gaede: The landlord peasant ownership in Western Pomerania and Rügen. Berlin 1853.


Individual evidence

  1. Schulze, Bauernrecht, pp. 142, 132.
  2. Schulze, Bauernrecht, p. 155 f.
  3. a b c Schulze, Bauernrecht, p. 150.
  4. a b Schulze, Bauernrecht, p. 151.
  5. Schulze, Bauernrecht, p. 143.
  6. a b c Schulze, Bauernrecht, p. 144.
  7. D. 1,5,4,1; 48,19,2; 50.17.209.
  8. Schulze, Bauernrecht, p. 146.
  9. Schulze, Bauernrecht, p. 147.
  10. a b Schulze, Bauernrecht, p. 148.
  11. Schulze, Bauernrecht, p. 152.
  12. Groß, Bürgerliche Agrarreform, p. 44 f.
  13. Schneider, Peasant Liberation, p. 7.