Karl Ludwig von Haller

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Karl Ludwig von Haller

Karl Ludwig von Haller (also Carl ; born August 1, 1768 in Bern ; † May 20, 1854 in Solothurn ) was a Swiss constitutional lawyer , politician , publicist and economist in Bern. He is considered to be the pioneer of early, reactionary conservatism .



Karl Ludwig von Haller is the grandson of the polymath Albrecht von Haller (1708–1777). His parents were Gottlieb Emanuel von Haller (1735–1786) and his wife Anna Margarethe Schultheß (1734–1810).

Haller married Katharina von Wattenwyl (* 1780 - December 31, 1848) in Bern in 1806 , the daughter of David Salomon Ludwig von Wattenwyl (* October 23, 1742 - February 24, 1808) an officer in the Dutch service and governor in Fraubrunnen . The couple had two sons and a daughter:

  • Karl (1807-1893), politician, publicist
  • Albert (1808–1858), auxiliary bishop of Chur
  • Margaretha Elisabeth Cäcilia (* July 28, 1809; † 1834) ∞ Karl von Sury d'Aspermont (1799–1868)


Growing up in Bern in the milieu of the Calvinist patriciate of the city, he entered the civil service in 1786 and worked, among other things, diplomatically and also as a writer. In 1798 he fled from the advancing French revolutionary armies to southern Germany, where he made stops in Augsburg, Nuremberg and Weimar and wrote anti-French and anti-revolutionary writings. After a stay in Vienna from 1800/01, he returned to Bern in 1806 and was appointed professor of general constitutional law, patriotic history and cameralistics at the Bern Academy in 1807 - although he was self-taught and had not studied . He taught here until 1814, when he was elected to the Grand Council of the City of Bern and at the same time began working on his main work, the “Restoration of Political Science”. In 1808 he was elected a corresponding member of the Göttingen Academy of Sciences .

After he felt strongly attracted to Catholicism , he secretly converted in 1820 with the bishop of Lausanne-Geneva, Pierre Tobie Yenni , and justified this step in his brochure “Lettre à sa famille”, published in 1822, which was a scandal - not least in the Protestant world Bern - and triggered considerable polemics against Haller. As a result, he was forced to resign from all public offices. In the same year he went to Paris, where he worked as an ultra-royalist publicist, made the acquaintance of de Bonald and Lamennais and was appointed to the French Foreign Ministry in 1824. In May 1830 he was finally appointed professor at the École des Chartes , but he had to leave the country again in the course of the July Revolution . Haller returned to Switzerland after this renewed exile, lived in Solothurn and worked as a conservative publicist and writer until his death in 1854.


The "restoration"

Karl Ludwig von Haller became known far beyond Switzerland for his work “Restoration of Political Science” (1816–1834), with the full title actually: “Restoration of Political Science or the theory of the natural-sociable state of mind against the chimera of the artificial-bourgeois ". In this major work of several volumes, which he became well known at the time, he represented an at times extreme position of strong, independent princely power, which was designed as a direct counter-draft to the political thinking of the Enlightenment and the revolutionaries of 1789.

On the basis of the assertion that all revolutionary ideas are simply based on the distortion and obscuration of political and legal reality and that the princes actually have the undivided right to supreme state authority through their original ownership of the state, he develops a theory of the "patrimonial state" , in which all social and political relationships between people are of a purely private and not public law nature. In his argumentation he makes use of a historical criticism of contract theory and its basic assumptions as well as the idea of ​​a natural-divine world order which, without any enlightening natural law, assigns every human being the place it deserves in society, simply by virtue of the law of the "rule of the mightier" . This punch line brought Haller in later the accusation of "power naturalism", whereas the lack of any public law in his concept, or the public law character of state power, was criticized early on and also from the conservative side. Among other things, he was accused of wanting to revive a “patrimonial state” of the Middle Ages and, with his theory, merely to defend the interests of the land-owning upper class (such as the Prussian “ Junkers ”).


Even if his concept was widely criticized and hardly received even within the later conservative theorization, reading the "Restoration" had a demonstrable mobilization effect on some conservative politicians of the later decades, such as Ernst Ludwig von Gerlach and his colleagues in their youth, Carl Ernst Jarcke or Carl Wilhelm von Lancizolle .

The historical phase of the “ Restoration ” after the Congress of Vienna , around 1815 to 1830, was named after the title of his work .

Works (selection)

  • General States-Customer Manual . Steiner'schen Buchhandlung, Winterthur 1808. Digitized .
  • Political religion or biblical teaching about states . Steiner'schen Buchhandlung, Winterthur 1811. Digitized
  • What are subject relations? , o. O., 1814 ( online ).
  • Restoration of state science or the theory of the natural-sociable state of the chimera of the artificial-bourgeois , 6 volumes (in two editions), Winterthur 1817–1834 doi: 10.3931 / e-rara-24495 .
  • About the Constitution of the Spanish Cortes , o. O., 1820. Digitized .
  • Lettre de M. Charles-Louis de Haller, membre du conseil souverain de Berne, à sa famille, pour lui déclarer son retour à l'église catholique, apostolique et romaine [Eng., Letter from Mr. Carl Ludwig von Haller to his family; in order to announce his conversion to the Roman Catholic Apostolic Church ], Paris / Lyon 1821. Digitized .
  • Freemasonry and its influence on Switzerland , Hurter, Schaffhausen 1840. Digitized .


Web links

Commons : Karl Ludwig von Haller  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Karl Ludwig von Haller  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. See Hans-Christof Kraus: Haller, Carl Ludwig von . In: Caspar von Schrenck-Notzing (Ed.): Lexicon of Conservatism. Leopold Stocker Verlag, Graz 1996, pp. 228-230.
  2. Holger Krahnke: The members of the Academy of Sciences in Göttingen 1751-2001 (= Treatises of the Academy of Sciences in Göttingen, Philological-Historical Class. Volume 3, Vol. 246 = Treatises of the Academy of Sciences in Göttingen, Mathematical-Physical Class. Episode 3, vol. 50). Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2001, ISBN 3-525-82516-1 , p. 102.
  3. Cf. Günter Maschke: Haller, Carl Ludwig von . In: Rüdiger Voigt , Ulrich Weiß (Hrsg.): Handbuch Staatsdenker. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, pp. 147-149.
  4. See Kraus, 1996.
  5. See Maschke, 2010.