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Modernizing Germany

Karl Biedermann's Career in the Kingdom of Saxony, 1835-1901

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Richard J. Bazillion

Government in the Kingdom of Saxony encouraged economic modernization after 1830. In order to control the social unrest and political protest associated with the rise of an industrial society, the bureaucratic elite sometimes accepted advice from its liberal critics. The liberal movement promoted occupational mobility, dismantling of the craft guilds, worker self-help and international free trade. Except for insistence on German unification under Prussian leadership, Saxon liberals proposed modest political reforms. Led by the journalist and Leipzig professor, Karl Biederman (1812-1901), they persuaded government to tackle the «social question» posed by the growth of an urbanized working class. A timely response to the consequences of rapid industrialization prevented social violence in the decades after the Revolution of 1848-49.