German Progress Party

German Progress Party
German Progress Party
Deutsche Fortschrittspartei
Founded 1861
Dissolved 1884
Preceded by "Old liberal" group,
German National Association
Succeeded by German Free-minded Party
Newspaper NA
Ideology Liberal democracy, Liberalism, Civil nationalism, National liberalism, Parliamentarism, Social progressivism, Laicism, Classical liberalism
International affiliation none
Politics of Germany
Political parties

The German Progress Party (Deutsche Fortschrittspartei or DFP) was the first modern political party with a program in Germany, founded by the liberal members of the Prussian Lower House in 6 June, 1861.

In its program the party demanded among other things unification of Germany with the central power in Prussia, representative democracy, implementation of the rule of law and larger responsibility for the local government. Between 1861 and 1865 it had the largest group in the Prussian Lower House.

After the parliament had approved a law granting an amnesty for the government of Otto von Bismarck for its arbitrary conduct concerning the Austro-Prussian War in 1866, the party split apart. In 1867 the right wing of the party which supported the foreign policy of Bismarck seceded to form the National Liberal Party. In 1868 a democratic-republican wing in Southern Germany seceded to form German People's Party.

To characterize Bismarck's politics toward the Catholic Church, the pathologist and member of the parliament of the German Progress Party Rudolf Virchow used the term Kulturkampf the first time on January 17, 1873 in the Prussian house of representatives.[1]

In 5 March 1884 the party finally merged with the Liberal Union into German Free-minded Party.

The leaders of the party included Baron Leopold von Hoverbeck, Franz Leo Benedikt Waldeck and Hans Victor von Unruh, after the split of 1867 von Hoverbeck and Waldeck, who were soon succeeded by Eugen Richter. Rudolf Virchow was also a member of it, as well as Theodor Mommsen for some time.

See also


  1. ^ (English) "Kulturkampf". New Catholic Dictionary. 1910. "It was the distinguished liberal politician and scientist, Professor Rudolph Virchow, who first called it the Kulturkampf, or struggle for civilization." 

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