1636: The Ottoman Onslaught – Snippet 06

1636: The Ottoman Onslaught – Snippet 06

The other teenager was a girl and therefore wasn’t in line of succession. The Palatinate wasn’t governed by the Salic law of France and some other principalities. There were any number of female rulers in the Germanies. The neighboring realm of Hesse-Kassel, for instance, was currently ruled by Amelie Elisabeth, the widow of Landgravine Wilhelm V, serving as regent for her oldest son. Each dynasty had its own rules when it came to the line of succession — what were called “house laws” — and those of the Palatinate excluded females.

It probably wouldn’t have mattered anyway. Even if she had been eligible to rule, Elisabeth wouldn’t be interested. Her life had also been changed by the Ring of Fire — in her case, by the influence of the American nurse in Amsterdam, Anne Jefferson. Elisabeth had developed a passionate interest in medicine. Her ambition was to become a doctor following up-time principles, not to get involved in the wrangles of royalty and aristocracy, which she now viewed as hopelessly medieval.

That left the youngest sons who’d survived infancy: Edward, Philip Frederick, and Gustav. But the oldest of them, Edward, was only ten. It would be some years before he was in any position to advance his claim to the Palatinate, assuming he chose to do so at all.

And in the meantime, Emperor Gustav II Adolf had Committees of Correspondence aroused by his former chancellor Axel Oxenstierna’s attempted counter-revolution to deal with — not to mention the so-called “Prince of Germany,” Mike Stearns, who’d just won a decisive victory over a Swedish army outside of Dresden. The emperor had come to the conclusion that a peace settlement in the hand was worth two future crises in a bush, and granted the now-very-popular demand of the Upper Palatinate’s population to get rid of the be-damned electors altogether and replace them with a republic.

“Two weeks,” von Dalberg repeated. “The elections should be held over two weeks, not ten days. They should run till the end of the month.”

Piazza shrugged. “I don’t disagree, Werner. But is it really something worth fighting with Wettin over?”

“Not in the least,” chimed in Ableidinger, “I think a shorter election period actually works to our advantage. We’re a lot better organized than our opponents.”

A woman seated next to Piazza spoke up. “Speaking of which, does anyone know yet what our opposition is going to consist of? Are the Crown Loyalists still a single party or are they going to splinter?”

The questions came from Helene Gundelfinger. Officially, she was the vice-president of the State of Thuringia-Franconia, the most populous province in the USE. In practice, she’d been functioning for months as the actual president since Ed Piazza had moved to Magdeburg — although again, not officially. He still maintained his legal residence in Bamberg, the capital of the SoTF.

Piazza and Rebecca exchanged glances. Depending on the issue involved, one or the other of them usually had better intelligence on issues of this nature than any of the other leaders of the party.

“Judging from my recent correspondence with Amelie Elisabeth,” said Rebecca, “I think what she is aiming for is to break away — or force the reactionaries to break away, so she can keep the name ‘Crown Loyalist’ — and form a new party. In all likelihood, if she succeeds in this effort Wettin will join with her. So would Duke George of Brunswick Province.”

By the time she finished, Gunther Achterhof had a frown on his face. She had no trouble seeing the expression because he was seated directly across from her at the other end of the long conference table — which was actually six tables pushed together to form one very big one. And she had no trouble interpreting the expression because she knew from long experience that Achterhof was never happy to be reminded that political affairs sometimes required regular communication with — one of his favored phrases — “the exploiters and oppressors of the common classes.”

On this occasion, though, he didn’t make any open criticism. Gunther could be extraordinarily stubborn but he was not stupid. If nothing else, he’d lost enough quarrels with Rebecca over this issue to know that his was a hopeless cause. All the more hopeless now that Gretchen Richter had made it clear in her own correspondence to the CoC activists in Magdeburg that she herself engaged in regular discussions and negotiations with Ernst Wettin, who was simultaneously the imperial administrator of Saxony and a younger brother of the current prime minister.

“What should be our attitude on the subject?” asked another participant in the meeting, seated elsewhere at the table. That was Charlotte Kienitz, the FoJP’s central leader in the province of Mecklenburg. “Or should we have one at all?”

A naïve and unsuspecting person — almost anyone, actually — would be quite taken in by Kienitz’s innocent tone. The questions she asked seemed to derive from nothing more than simple curiosity.

In reality, the questions had been pre-arranged by Rebecca and Ed Piazza. Over time, Charlotte had become one of their closest confidants and political allies in the never-ending political disputes in the party. Compared to the Crown Loyalists, with their fierce — at times, violent — factional conflicts, the Fourth of July Party was a veritable model of unity. Still, albeit not to the extent of the Crown Loyalists, it was a coalition of differing and sometimes competing interests. The leadership provided by Rebecca Abrabanel and Ed Piazza was generally accepted by most activists in the party — sometimes grudgingly — but that was at least in part due to their light-handed way of running things. They both preferred persuasion to strong-arm tactics. And if Rebecca had the ultimate strong arm available to her if she really needed it — that would be her husband Mike Stearns, the man who more than any other had created the United States of Europe in the first place, had served as its first prime minister, was now one of its most celebrated military figures and carried the unofficial title of the Prince of Germany — she preferred not to use it at all.

Which was just fine with Stearns himself. He had more than enough to deal with as a general in time of war, and he had complete confidence in his wife’s political abilities and acumen.

Rebecca had asked Charlotte to pose those questions if the opportunity arose, because she’d just spent the past few weeks writing the chapters in her book on political affairs that addressed the issue. So, she responded immediately and easily.

“I think we should view ourselves as tacitly — not openly, since that would do more harm than good — allied with Amelie Elisabeth, when it comes to this question.”

She forestalled the gathering protest she could see on several faces — Gunther’s being one of them, but by no means the only one — by pressing on.

“Be realistic, everyone!” She said that in a sharper tone than she normally used. “If there is one absolute iron law in politics, which has applied, does apply, and will apply in any political system created by the human race, it is this.”

She paused, briefly, for effect. “There will always be a conservative faction — and it will always be powerful. In fact, except in times of revolution and great upheaval, it will usually tend to be dominant.”

The protests that followed were fierce but not particularly coherent, which was what Rebecca had expected. She was making a pronouncement that was bound to irritate revolutionaries — “rub them the wrong way,” in the up-time idiom — who hadn’t thought these matters through. She waited patiently until the voices of opposition died down a bit before speaking again.

And, again, used a harsher tone than she normally did — much harsher, in fact. “Grow up, as my sometimes-blunt husband would say.”

That reminder of her closest associate brought quiet to the room. “When I say ‘conservative,’ I am not referring to any particular political philosophy. I am using the term in lower case, so to speak. I am referring to the basic attitude of most people that unless conditions are intolerable it is usually better to err on the side of caution.”


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32 Responses to 1636: The Ottoman Onslaught – Snippet 06

  1. Lyttenburgh says:

    “was currently ruled by Amelie Elisabeth, the widow of Landgravine Wilhelm V”

    Either “widow of Landgrave” or “widow Landgravine”.

  2. VernonNemitz says:

    Very nice. This could be key to eventually getting the USE become allied with Austria-Hungary (that bastion of Catholic conservatism) against the Ottomans. Because based on what I saw in “The Viennese Waltz”, that “bastion” is not hardly ready….

  3. John Cowan says:

    In 1861 OTL, the liberal political philosopher John Stuart Mill wrote this in his book Representative Governmentt:

    Well would it be for England if Conservatives voted consistently for everything conservative, and Liberals for everything liberal. We should not then have to wait long for things which, like the present and many other great measures [Mill is speaking of electoral reform], are eminently both the one and the other. The Conservatives, as being by the law of their existence the stupidest party, have much the greatest sins of this description to answer for; and it is a melancholy truth, that if any measure were proposed on any subject truly, largely, and far-sightedly conservative, even if Liberals were willing to vote for it, the great bulk of the Conservative party would rush blindly in and prevent it from being carried.

    A few years later, after having been elected to Parliament as a Liberal, he said:

    I desire to make a brief explanation in reference to a passage which the right honourable gentleman has quoted from a portion of my writings, and which has some appearance of being less polite than I should wish always to be in speaking of a great party. What I stated was, that the Conservative party was, by the law of its constitution, necessarily the stupidest party. (Laughter.)

    Now, I do not retract this assertion; but I did not mean that Conservatives are generally stupid; I meant, that stupid people are generally Conservative. (Laughter and cheers.) I believe that to be so obvious and undeniable a fact that I hardly think any honourable Gentleman will question it. Now, if any party, in addition to whatever share it may possess of the ability of the community, has nearly the whole of its stupidity, that party, I apprehend, must by the law of its constitution be the stupidest party. And I do not see why honourable gentlemen should feel that position at all offensive to them; for it ensures their being always an extremely powerful party. (Hear, hear.)

    I know I am liable to a retort, an obvious one enough, and as I do not intend any honourable gentleman to have the credit of making it, I make it myself. It may be said that if stupidity has a tendency to Conservatism, sciolism [the wish to appear knowledgeable and well-informed] and half-knowledge have a tendency to Liberalism. Well, Sir, something might be said for that — but it is not at all so clear as the other. There is an uncertainty about half-informed people. You cannot count upon them. You cannot tell what their way of thinking may be. It varies from day to day, perhaps with the last book they have read, and therefore they are as likely to prove Conservatives as Liberals, and as likely to be Liberals as Conservatives. They are a less numerous class, and also an uncertain class.

    But there is a dense solid force in sheer stupidity — such, that a few able men, with that force pressing behind them, are assured of victory in many a struggle; and many a victory the Conservative party have owed to that force. (Laughter.)

  4. Positroll says:

    As a (southern) German, I have been tempted for a while to write a story for the Gazette bringing into existence a new party to replace the crown loyalists – but including most of the above named figures. What held me back is that we are STILL waiting for the background story of what happened along the Rhine. Why did it hold me back?

    Broadly speaking, the HRE consisted of the Rhine (and Danube) Valleys (Kingdom of Germany), the Rhone valley (Kingdom of Burgundy) , and the Po valley (Kingdom of [Northern] Italy) as the main ways of transport for goods, people and ideas, and some unimportant stuff in between and around the edges. Since Otto I, for 900 out of 1000 years of history, the (roman empire influenced) Rhine (including its tributaries Ruhr, Mosel, Main and Neckar) was the real center of Germany. With respect to the Austrian Habsburgs, the Danube later took on a secondary role. But the Elbe area never was that important. Hillbillies, all 8excluding Luther … ;) ).
    Grantville popping up might for a moment move the center to the Elbe, but over time these developments almost certainly would cause a severe resistance of the traditional center. The “Rhinish party” that comes to my mind would accept the need for modernization . but it would look for guidance not to the U.S. of America, but (as far as the monarchists go to the German Empire of 1871 and) the Federal Republic of Germany of 1949. Kant, not Hobbs would inspire their version of the Ram. Social Democracy instead of “socialism”. Work councils and “Mitbestimmung” (codetermination) instead of American “hiring halls”. A Bundesrat instead of a freaking useless Senate. Cooperation with the churches, instead of a high wall. And so on. They would campaign for the introduction of the meter-scale all along the Rine and Danube (Netherlands, USE; Austria, France, ). They would demand the introduction of the German civil code, Code of civil Procedure and Code of Commerce instead of the current hodge-podge of local laws. A tax-union for the above named countries along the lines of the Zollverein and the European Community. F*ck, many modern constitutions have copied the Grundgesetz – but our own ancestors would disregard it? VERY unlikely …

    Oh, and my poor, poor Swabia? Another story that needs to be written to counter the nefarious ploys of the current writing regime !!! The state that invented the bike, the car, the Zeppelin? The state of Benz, Daimler, Otto, Diesel and Bosch (and Einstein, but E=mc2 is still a while away) !? Sitting between Rhine and Danube, it would be the first place to built a serious railroad with Fugger and Dutch money to finally connect those regions in an economic way (historically speaking, Württemberg started building railroads really early).

    Loads of interesting stuff I could write – if only someone finally tells me WTF is going on along the Rhine and who was the idiot who caused the Essen Republik to happen …

    • Positroll says:

      Forgot to mention: It would be not just German party. The original impetus would come from Reubens (no hamburgers!).
      Since we are talking monarchies, let’s call them CSU – Christlich Soziale Union
      (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_Social_Union_in_Bavaria )
      which is part of the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_People%27s_Party_Group

    • Ed Thomas says:

      Good stuff! I’d like to hear your take on the creation of strong states beween Germany and France as a way to prevent the OTL Franco-German conflicts. I have to say IMHO cooperation between church and state is a verrrry bad idea. Churches seem to have a difficult time keeping their beliefs out of the law.

      • Positroll says:

        1) A strong United Netherlands is fine with me. The new Burgundy won’t survive the nationalist feelings and split along the language lines, sooner or later. Imo the Rhinish Party would organize in the Freiburg region and if they don’t get into Swabia / USE by peaceful means, they’ll take up arms …

        2) Depends what they are cooperating on. Anything that concerns the way the state as such behaves, Chancellor Adenauer hit the nail on the head imO: “With respect to political questions it is not the job of the church to say “aye” or “no”, but they may say amen if they want to”.
        But providing social services? Why not. And having the state tax office also raking in the church tax (you can opt out by lieving the church) is no big imposition in the average German opinion but rather a very practical way of financing the church and keeping the influence of the rich on the church teachings limited)

        Also, think of the huge fight in the US about teaching of creation etc in schools. No big deal in Germany. We got “religion class” as a regular part of school – done by e.g. Catholic priests for the catholic students, Lutheran pastors for the Lutherans, etc. The curriculum is agreed upon by the state and the churches. So the priest talks about the religious view of creation – and every student knows that’s the position of the catholic church and one possible way of looking at things. Two hours later you have a class on biology that is strictly scientific and based on evolution. No “intelligent design” BS needed. For those who don’t fit any offered religion, there are mandatory “ethics” or “philosophy” classes instead to look at the different ways of explaining the world. A lot less stress all around …

        • Drak Bibliophile says:

          Yep, and if a church decides to speak out against what the State wants to do, then the State can destroy that church. [Sarcasm]

          Sorry but this is a “hot button” matter for me and plenty of others.

          “Separation Of Church And State” doesn’t mean that Religious People and/or Clergy have to “stay out of politics”.

          It means that the State can’t say “what religion is best”.

          State Religions have always been the State saying “This is the Church That Is Best”.

          Of course, with most Protestant State Religions, the Head Of State is also the Official Head of the State Church. (See Caesaropapism).

          Of course, we hear so much about “Theocracies” but true Theocracies have been very rare in Christiandom.

          • Positroll says:

            “Separation Of Church – “It means that the State can’t say “what religion is best”.”
            Sorry, but that is just part of the question.

            For my liking, the whole series (eg the Rudolphstadt debates – why does no one mention modern Germany?) suffers somewhat from the fact that no writer seems to have checked how that whole thing has developed in Germany after the 17th century. It’s all written from a very American (and sometimes English) perspective.

            But under modern German ConLaw, THERE IS NO STATE CHURCH, and still the relationship of state and church – ANY CHURCH!!! – can still be a LOT closer than anything imaginable under the current US constitution.

            The churches themselves – Catholic, Lutheran, Jewish are / can be entities of public law if they are organized in a “durable” way as our constitution requires. Nowadays that also includes the first such recognized muslim church “Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat” in Hesse.

            The state collects the tithe for the church. The church has its own tribunals for settling disputes within the church according to its own values, and German constitutional expressly grants them a special status in this regard (yes, there are limits, esp if the relationship to the church is rather lose – the contract governing the cleaning lady does not fall under the church’s privileges – well, except maybe for stuff she hears through the door during confession …).

            I was trying to find a good link to Wikipedia – but guess what? The relevant texts in German are translated in about 15 languages, but not English. Strange, isnt’t it ??

            p.s. Anybody really interested in the topic might want to read the relevant chapter in Currie, the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany. It’s a little old by now but the basics still hold true. Currie was a really great man btw, one of the very few Americans I ever knew who spoke almost perfect German and French without having family ties to those languages …

            Some questions are also covered here p 368 et seq https://static1.squarespace.com/static/56330ad3e4b0733dcc0c8495/t/56bd2f88a3360cb41675bd2f/1455239050479/GLJ_Vol_08_No_04_Jasch.pdf

          • Jeff Ehlers says:

            This is basically it in a nutshell.

            The wall of separation between church and state means that churches and the state don’t get officially involved with each other. It’s to keep the state from becoming married to any particular church, because the temptation will always be there to start making exceptions for that particular church and putting restrictions in place against other churches to help the ‘official’ church.

            Yeah, it doesn’t always happen, but it happens often enough that it’s better just to prevent it to begin with, for the same reason that conflicts of interest are disallowed by requiring people to recuse themselves if one crops up.

            It’s basically a way to pump against entropy, otherwise human affairs will naturally decay into a high entropy state.

            • Positroll says:

              1) You start from the idea that there must be one official church. Not true for modern Germany. Most German states have two or three Christian denominations (usually Catholics and either Lutherans or Calvinists) and the Jewish congregation recognized as entities of public law with the special privileges this implies. Other congregations can apply for that status if their numbers are big enough (usually no problem) and their organizational structure is stable enough to ensure durability (big problems for the mainstream Muslim communities because of constant nationalist/ regionalist bickering and heavy infighting – or because they just don’t want to be organized that strongly; in that case they simply operate as entities of private law)

              2) That’s your (and most American’s )opinion. All I am claiming is that we modern Germans look at this differently, and I am sure 99% of Germans of 1636 would find the modern German position more appealing than the American one …

              • Jeff Ehlers says:

                I’m not actually sure what you’re talking about regarding an entity of public law and an entity of private law. Could you explain? I’d like to make sure I know what you’re talking about before I comment.

          • Drak Bibliophile says:

            Sorry Positroll, I see too much nonsense here in the US on this whole question of “Separation Of Church And State”.

            I get the message that some people would love the Soviet Union’s position on “Religious Freedom”.

            Too many people think “Religion is Bad so it must not be allowed in Government”.

            Thus, Religious People in the US often get told “you can’t be involved in Government unless you support the proper (usually Leftish) politics”.

            • Positroll says:

              We are talking about politics in Germany in 1636. Why the hell should German politicians care about how crazy Americans can get in this respect? If anything, the fact that these questions aren’t a big deal in modern Germany (leaving aside the treatment of Islam, but with the coming onslaught of the Ottomans THAt won’t sway any voter) as opposed to the US would tell them that the American solution is maybe not the best one for Germany … Which is all the Rinish party is about in the first place …

            • Drak Bibliophile says:

              Which, Positroll, brings us back to the 1632 universe. [Wink]

              It’s going to be hard in the 1632 universe to get people to accept what most moderns think “Freedom Of Religion” is.

              I agree that the USE would accept a model closer to modern Germany’s than a model closer to the modern US.

              • Positroll says:

                “It’s going to be hard in the 1632 universe to get people to accept what most moderns think “Freedom Of Religion” is.” I’m not so sure about that. Like Grama Richter, most ordinary folk have been forced from one denomination to another, have seen armies of different and same faith plunder their farmsteads. I think after Kristallnacht, most ordinary folks are fine with “live and let live.” That doesn’t mean, though, that one needs to take the principle to American extremes and demand complete separation of state and church. That would simply not be “praktisch” and mean throwing out the baby with the water. Common sense would make people shake their head at that just as much as at some of the arguments of the learned professors at the Rudolphstadt colloquies …

            • Lyttenburgh says:

              “I get the message that some people would love the Soviet Union’s position on “Religious Freedom”.”

              Which was?..

              “Thus, Religious People in the US often get told “you can’t be involved in Government unless you support the proper (usually Leftish) politics”.”

              What you call “Leftish” people have the same relationship to the actual left as foot fungus to champignon.

              • Terranovan says:

                From my – possibly flawed – memory, it’s barely tolerated Russian Orthodox and everything else forbidden almost outright. More investigation will be warranted to make sure.

              • Terranovan says:

                Sorry, just in case I was ambiguous, that was my memory of the USSR’s position on religious freedom.

              • Lyttenburgh says:

                “From my – possibly flawed – memory, it’s barely tolerated Russian Orthodox and everything else forbidden almost outright. “

                Muhammad Ali, in Uzbek SSR (1978)

                “I was struck by how many races and nationalities there are there. There are not less than 100 nationalities and they live in harmony… No one hinders religious belief there. Religious Jews attend the synagogues. The Muslims have mosques.” (c)

          • Terranovan says:

            Just to weigh in on a possibly irrelevant detail – the words “separation of church and state” don’t appear anywhere in the USA constitution. The first place they were ever used was a letter from Thomas Jefferson to an association of Baptist churches in Massachusetts IIRC – to describe the effects of the First Amendment. (Specific context was protecting the church from the state, but the other way around is relevant, too.)

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      All very good points, positroll. I agree with much what you say (especially about the Senate – clear Americanism at work here)

      “They would demand the introduction of the German civil code, Code of civil Procedure and Code of Commerce instead of the current hodge-podge of local laws.”

      But they will need to write it down first, right? ;)

      Which brings me back to one issue I’ve been pondering for a looooong time – what are the current local laws here and there? Did the men who steal a loaf of bread still got hanged there? Did the forgers got the hot lead poured into their throats? Did the criminals here and there got themselves publicly whipped, branded, mutilated or exiled with all their property confiscated by the good City Fathers? And how did this seat with the up-timers?

      What about the penal systems and prison – or the general lack of them?

      As for the “separation of Church of the State” – c’mon! We are talking about 30-years war era here. Besides, no matter the legislation, there are thousand and one loopholes to circumvent it. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the Lutheran church in the USE and Radio Luther get generous “donations” from non other than GARS, plus the assorted number of other protestant princes. The same thing in the Netherlands – Fernando is “just” donating lots to Mother (Roman Catholic) Church, as befits any pious monarch. All talks about “religious tolerance” aside but that’s 17th c. we are talking about. Some glass ceiling for inconvenient minorities would persist no matter what.

  5. Positroll says:

    @Jeff: That s hard to explain, esp to people from common law countries.
    Simplified: there are two kinds of religious communities under German Constitutional law. Those that fulfill the requirements of Art 137 Weimar Constitution (which is part of the GG) and those who don’t.
    The first group is organized under public law (Körperschaft des Öffentlichen Rechts), like, say, a county or other territorial administrative entity, and has specific constitutional privileges.
    The second group mostly have the status of registered associations (eingetragener Verein) – like a sports club.
    Please note that the basic rights flowing from freedom of conscience and freedom of religion (Art 4 GG) are the same for both.
    But the first group can cooperate with the state at organizational levels that the second one can’t: As mentioned before: religion teachers in school, using the tax office to take in the church tax etc.
    Again, as said before, in theory every religion can aspire to that status. But it needs a level of organization that is hard to achieve and doesn’t fit all religions from their own point of view. Which is why e.g. Muslim denominations have united to create a kind of “umbrella organisation” specifically for the task of cooperating with (or confronting the) German state(s).

    Well, I would think that the library or some lawyer in town with occasional dealings in Europe would have a volume of the standard German legal texts around – at least on his computer. Just to be safe, my story draft starts with the local Grantville judge being visited by some law profs from Tuebingen during the Rudolphstadt colloquies and remembering a German friend from law school days who had paid part of the tuition by giving a class on German private law. After that year, they decided to travel a bit around the US and the German guy left his one suitcase with books at his friends house. Then he came down with pneumonia or something and was flown back to Germany and they completely forgot about those books. until today. So the new task of the Tuebingen law faculty: understand the German civil code.

    Maybe I also include some “modern” German music to help Ms Lindner out …

    • hank says:

      I find it doubtful that the information on contemporary German law would be available in Grantville ca 2000 AD.
      I’ve lived in or near towns of about that size all my life, in Iowa, Colorado and Washington, and it seems to me the best case(s) possible would be either a section in some Poly-Sci text somebody brought back from college comparing various systems of government, which would be more general, or perhaps something issued to somebody who was in the military in Germany detailing German law as it applied to US servicemen there, most likely very specific and only probable if someone in Grantville had been working for the JAG during their time in Europe.
      Both strike me as unlikely.
      As to something somebody might have had on their computer, remember things were somewhat less connected and computer storage more limited 16-17 years ago than now…
      It’s an interesting point but I think you might be better off concentrating on the 17th century influences that led to modern German law rather than positing a direct comparison between the 20th-21st century situations in the two countries being available.
      but hey, what do I know?

      • Positroll says:

        It’s a toss up. If it were a big law firm office or 2010 I’d bet on it being available. On the other hand, a volume with the core German texts from 1997 is sitting on my shelf: it is small (one inch thick), was quite cheap at the time ($20?) and covered a lot of ground. I can easily see an American lawyer working e.g. on a divorce acquiring the whole set. Or Ms. Mailey (well she probably has more stuff on European labor law I’d guess). Or the history department of the school as pat of the discussion of the renaissance – together with the French Code Civil which came earlier …

        So I cheat a little. Allows me to put in a few more basic books – and yes, have the Profs make some comparative remarks on the differences between the Roman Law that European lawyers rediscovered since the 16th century and what their heirs made out of it …
        Can’t get too deep, of course, or I’d put the readers asleep. Otoh, all those bible society discussion made it into the Gazette too, so we’ll see … ;)

        • Positroll says:

          Just to be clear: it will be just a few books – not a complete suitcase full. Maybe 5-6? Basically me going to my one wall filled with books and thinking: I am going to the US to study and at the same time I got to teach some Americans about the basics of German private law – what would be useful, doesn’t fill the suitcase and doesn’t weigh too much?

  6. Bret Hooper says:

    Seems to me we are all agreed that at least in general:

    1. Neither the national government nor that of any subdivision thereof (state, city, etc.) should be allowed to bully religious organizations, nor to require or forbid anyone to be a member of a religious organization, nor to hold any particular religious beliefs.
    2. No religious organization should control national or local government or any branch thereof. Every adult should have the right to decide for himself or herself what religious beliefs to hold or not to hold, or to change; to become a member of any religious organization that is willing to accept him or her as a member, or to discontinue such membership, or to choose not to be a member of any religious organization.

    I seriously doubt that either Germany or United States, or for that matter any other nation, has evolved a perfect solution to all the details of church-state relations. I know for certain that here in the United States each (church and state) has on occasion intruded improperly in the other’s realm, and both continue to do so in certain respects.

    So let’s not be too smug.

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