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Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 11, Slice 8 "Germany" to "Gibson, William"

Such as Forckenbeck and Bunsen

were followed by the disruption

of the National Liberal party and a complete change in the parliamentary situation. Already the Liberal ministers, Falk and Hobrecht, had resigned, as well as Max von Forckenbeck the president, and Stauffenberg the vice-president of the Reichstag; in their place there were chosen a Conservative, and the Catholic Baron von Franckenstein. The whole party had voted against the Franckenstein Clause, but a few days later fifteen of the right wing left the party and transferred their support to the government. For another year the remainder kept together, but there was no longer any real harmony or co-operation; in 1880 nineteen, including most of the ablest leaders, Lasker, Forckenbeck, Bamberger and Bunsen, left the party altogether. The avowed cause of difference was commercial policy; they were the Free Traders, but they also justly foresaw that the reaction would extend to other matters. They took the name of the _Liberale Vereinigung_, but were generally known as the _Sezessionisten_; they hoped to become the nucleus of a united Liberal party in which all sections should join together on the principles of Free Trade and constitutional development. At the elections of 1881 they secured forty-seven seats, but they were not strong enough to maintain themselves, and with great reluctance in 1884 formed a coalition with the Progressives (_Freisinnigen_), who had gained greatly in strength owing to the breach among the government parties. They did so reluctantly, because they would
thereby condemn themselves to assume that attitude of purely negative criticism which, during the great days of their prosperity, they had looked down upon with contempt, and were putting themselves under the leadership of Eugen Richter, whom they had long opposed. The new party, the _Deutschfreisinnige_, had no success; at the election of 1884 they secured only sixty-seven seats, a loss of thirty-nine; they were subjected to all inconveniences which belonged to opposition; socially, they were boycotted by all who were connected with the court or government; they were cut off from all hope of public activity, and were subjected to constant accusations for _Bismarck Beleidigung_. Their only hope was in the time when the crown prince, who had shown great sympathy with them, should succeed. They were popularly known as the crown prince's party. Lasker soon died; others, such as Forckenbeck and Bunsen, retired from public life, unable to maintain their position at a time when the struggle of class interests had superseded the old conflicts of principle. At the election of 1887 they lost more than half their seats, and in 1893 the party again broke up.

The remainder of the National Liberals only won forty-five seats in 1881, and during the next three years they were without influence on the government; and even Bennigsen, unable to follow Bismarck in his new policy, disgusted at the proposals for biennial budgets and the misuse of government influence at the elections, retired from political life. In 1884 a new development took place: under the influence of Miquel a meeting was held at Heidelberg of the South German members of the party, who accepted the commercial and social policy of the government, including the Socialist law; their programme received Bismarck's approval, and was accepted by the rest of the party, so that they henceforward were taken into favour by the government; but they had won the position by sacrificing almost all the characteristics of the older Liberalism; the hope of a reunion for all the different sections which had hitherto kept the name of Liberal was at an end.

Political reaction.

These events had a very unfortunate effect on the character

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