Authoritative State

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Authoritative state refers to a state model that was originally applied to monocratic states in contrast to council democracy . In this understanding, a state is characterized as an authoritarian state if the public affairs are almost exclusively regulated by a ruler and an aristocratic , military or bureaucratic leadership group assigned to him . In a narrower sense, the term is used in historical studies - not least because of the “inflationary occurrence” of the term “ authority” between the 15th and 17th centuries - also to the age of absolutism . Furthermore, the well is constitutional-monarchical German state of the 19th century characterized as authoritarian state in which in comparison to the constitutional system of the Basic Law in the Federal Republic of Germany the possibility of participation of the citizen has been far less on government decision-making. The underlying political idea of ​​the authoritarian state that all power is transferred to the state, that it guarantees security and that the citizen as a subject acts apolitically and purely privately, can be traced back to the political philosophy of Thomas Hobbes .


Thanks to Hugo Preuss , who on November 14, 1918 published the highly regarded article People's state or wrong authoritarian state?” In the Berliner Tageblatt as part of the drafting of the Weimar constitution , the term authoritarian state became a widespread political catchphrase . The tradition of the term authoritarian state as a polemical category can be traced back to Otto von Gierke , whose historically reconstructed doctrine of cooperatives Hugo Preuss referred to in his rejection of state sovereignty , which he understood as "the fundamental principle of the authoritarian state". For Preuss, the legal-theoretical concept of cooperatives was an alternative to the rule of law , as he perceived the rule of law under the auspices of an authoritarian state and sharply separated state and society on the one hand and public and private law on the other. In the conception of his preferred “people's state”, which he designed based on the ideas of Gierke and Freiherr vom Stein as a counter-model to the “authoritarian state”, more space was to be given to the political participation of society “from below”. Against this background, Preuss understood “ municipalities , states and the state as a whole as functionally delimited and graded levels” of his model of the people's state; local self-government in particular should be strengthened.

In the still young Federal Republic of Germany, the philosopher Karl Jaspers advocated a consistent "turning away from the authoritarian state" in view of the experiences with National Socialism . According to him, democracy is always threatened with the danger that it could develop from an authoritarian state to a dictatorship . Among other things, under the impression of the Spiegel affair , the grand coalition and the discussion about the emergency laws, he diagnosed in 1966 in his book “Wohin drieben the Federal Republic?” : “From the centuries-old authoritarian state, without clear consciousness, the attitudes that remain today are still powerful. ”As examples, he cited, among other observed characteristics, the“ need to worship the state in the form of representative politicians as a substitute for emperor and king ”and“ the confidence that the government will do it right ”. Although Jaspers did not see an authoritarian state in the Federal Republic, he suspected that a development towards this could take place again due to the lack of freedom of the citizens: “But this state itself has tendencies that make it an authoritarian entity in which there is no monarch prevails and is no longer desired, but in such a way that this state is changing into an authoritarian state with a subservient attitude, largely similar to the Wilhelmine era . ”In his book “ Antwort ” , which he published in 1967 in response to the criticism of his book, concretized Jaspers that he considered the tendencies towards the “ party oligarchy ”, the authoritarian and the dictatorship to be possible, but also to be averted: “Tendencies, that means: it doesn't have to happen that way. The more clearly the citizens perceive the tendencies, the greater the chance that they will not be completed. ”And he added:“ A people becomes ripe for democracy by being politically active itself. A prerequisite for a democracy is therefore that the people are given a maximum of participation or that they take it from themselves, and trust in the people, not in what it is, but in what it can become. "


  • Wolfgang Kaupen, Theo Rasehorn : The judiciary between the authoritarian state and democracy. An empirical contribution to the sociology of German legal lawyers. Neuwied a. Rh. 1971.
  • Gerhard Dürr, Walter Hähnle: Citizenship against the authoritarian state. Stuttgart 1979, ISBN 3-87173-553-1 .
  • Wilfried Loth : The Empire. Authority and Political Mobilization. Munich 1996, ISBN 3-423-04505-1 .
  • Manfred Teufel: The southwest German police in the government and people's state. Data - Facts - Structures 1807–1932. Holzkirchen 1999, ISBN 3-927983-41-1 .
  • Ralf Zoll (Ed.): From the authoritarian state to politics without borders. Opladen / Wiesbaden 1999, ISBN 3-531-13413-2 .
  • Winfried Becker: The Bismarck Empire - an Authoritative State? The development of parliamentarism and parties, 1871-1890. Friedrichsruh 2000, ISBN 3-933418-08-9 .

Individual evidence

  1. Werner Rösener (Ed.): State and War. From the Middle Ages to the modern age. Göttingen 2000, p. 206, ISBN 3-525-01386-8 ; Susanne Baer: “The citizen” in administrative law. Subject construction through models of the state. Tübingen 2006, p. 95, ISBN 3-16-147514-3 .
  2. Susanne Baer: "The Citizen" in Administrative Law. Subject construction through models of the state. Tübingen 2006, p. 93 f.
  3. ^ Herder Lexicon Politics . With around 2000 keywords and over 140 graphics and tables, special edition for the State Center for Civic Education North Rhine-Westphalia, Freiburg / Basel / Vienna 1993, p. 154.
  4. ^ Sigrid Schmitt : Territorial state and municipality in the Palatinate Oberamt Alzey from the 14th to the beginning of the 17th century. Institute for Historical Regional Studies at Johannes Gutenberg University. Stuttgart 1992 (1964), p. 70, ISBN 3-515-06069-3 .
  5. Hartmut Zückert: The social foundations of the baroque culture in southern Germany. Stuttgart 1988, p. 338, ISBN 3-437-50315-4 .
  6. ^ Volker Schlette: The administration as a contractual partner. Empiricism and dogmatics of administrative agreements between authorities and citizens. Tübingen 2000, p. 104, ISBN 3-16-147224-1 . (In this context, Schlette wrote of a "change in the state from an authoritarian state to a 'cooperative state'".)
  7. ^ Nikolai Blaumer: The communal civil society as a place of integration. A sketch of modern citizenship. GRIN Verlag, Munich 2008, p. 11, ISBN 3-640-16660-4 ; Richard Saage: Fascism. Conceptions and historical contexts. An introduction. VS Verlag, Wiesbaden 2007, p. 78, ISBN 3-531-15387-0 .
  8. ^ Otto Brunner et al. (Ed.): Basic historical concepts. Historical lexicon on political and social language in Germany. Vol. 5. Stuttgart 1984, p. 416, ISBN 3-12-903890-6 ; Susanne Baer: “The Citizen” in Administrative Law. Subject construction through models of the state. Tübingen 2006, p. 93 f.
  9. Marcus Llanque : Democratic thinking in war. The German Debate in the First World War. Berlin 2000, pp. 68 f., ISBN 3-05-003517-X .
  10. ^ Michael Stolleis : History of Public Law in Germany. Weimar Republic and National Socialism. Munich 2002, p. 82 f., ISBN 3-406-48960-5 .
  11. Kurt Salamun: Karl Jaspers. An introduction to his thinking. 2., verb. and exp. Ed., Würzburg 2006, p. 79, ISBN 3-8260-3253-5 .
  12. ^ A b Karl Jaspers : Where is the Federal Republic drifting? Munich 1966, p. 146.
  13. Karl Jaspers: Where is the Federal Republic going? Munich 1966, p. 155.
  14. Karl Jaspers: Answer. To the criticism of my work Where is the Federal Republic drifting? Munich 1967, p. 86.
  15. Karl Jaspers: Answer. To the criticism of my work Where is the Federal Republic drifting? Munich 1967, p. 130.