Developing Privacy Rights in Nineteenth-Century Germany: A Choice between Dignity and Liberty?

Developing Privacy Rights in Nineteenth-Century Germany: A Choice between Dignity and Liberty? Abstract Legal historian James Whitman has claimed that privacy rights in Germany are fundamentally different from privacy rights in America. According to Whitman, German privacy rights are predicated on dignity and require state intervention to uphold them, while American privacy rights protect the individual against state intervention. This paper argues that the history of rights in Germany, particularly the history of privacy rights, is far more complicated. Constitutional protections for privacy rights emerged in German-speaking Europe in the 1830s, and these privacy rights, especially protections for the home and privacy of correspondence, were conceived of as protecting individual freedom against the state. This notion of privacy rights was also emphasized in the 1848 Frankfurt Constitution. Ultimately, the German conception of privacy rights, rooted in an emphasis on individual liberties against state power, extended even into twentieth-century German constitutional development. In the early decades of the nineteenth century, the conception of human freedom as a force opposed to the state became increasingly important in German-speaking Central Europe. This understanding underpinned the constitutional laws being drafted in that region at that time. In particular, this notion of individual freedom against the state became increasingly important for the protection of privacy rights, which began to emerge in the 1830s, when German constitutional law began developing the doctrine, especially through protections for the home and correspondence. This paper will seek to demonstrate that, in the 1830s, privacy rights were understood to be protections of individual liberty against state intervention. Moreover, this view of privacy rights as individual rights against the state was reaffirmed in the wake of the Revolutions of 1848, which swept across the German-speaking lands of Central Europe (and, indeed, all of Europe).1 This paper will show that, when drafting a catalogue of ‘basic rights’ (Grundrechte) for a nascent German national constitution in Frankfurt in 1848, the constitutional framers conceived of privacy rights to the home and to correspondence as individual protections against state power.2 Legal historian James Whitman has argued against such a proposition, asserting instead that there is a major philosophical divide between continental European and American legal justifications for privacy protections.3 According to Whitman, continental European safeguards for privacy rest on ‘a right to respect and personal dignity’, while American privacy protections emphasise ‘values of liberty, […] especially liberty against the state’.4 He rejects the argument that the concept of dignity gained credence among continental Europeans following World War II as a response to the experiences of Nazism.5 Instead, Whitman contends that the continental European emphasis on dignity, particularly in Germany and France, has been a long-term process of ‘leveling up’ in which ‘Everybody is now supposed to be treated in ways that only highly placed and wealthy people were treated a couple of centuries ago’.6 Ultimately, Whitman asserts, this effort toward leveling up has extended to many areas of the law, including privacy protections.7 However, Whitman’s argument has important drawbacks, largely because he starts his historical analysis in the 1880s.8 As this paper will show, in the first half of the nineteenth century privacy rights were understood in German-speaking Europe to be protections of individual rights against state intrusion. Whitman’s omission in considering this earlier conception of German constitutional rights calls into question his conclusion that German privacy protections can be considered as a part of the levelling-up process. At its core, Whitman’s analysis is based on an older interpretation of German historiography. Of course, simply because a theory is old does not make it false, but following an earlier theory of German history without placing it in conversation with newer historiography is problematic. To frame his overall narrative of German history, Whitman cites Leonard Krieger’s The German Idea of Freedom.9 This citation is an indication that Whitman subscribes to the older Sonderweg (‘special path’) theory of German history, a school to which Krieger belonged.10 As historians of Germany David Blackbourn and Geoff Eley have noted, members of the Sonderweg School typically frame their analysis by asking a variation of the question ‘Why wasn’t Germany England?’ in order to explain why Germany followed a special path (hence, Sonderweg) compared to other Western countries.11 Whitman’s investigation fits this narrative, since he seeks to contrast Anglo-American history with Germany’s special historical path toward fascism. Whitman first states that the German conception of freedom was ‘an idea different from Anglo-American ideas of liberty – an idea focused much more on inward self-realisation, and consequently much more open to the exercise of state power and regulation of the market’.12 He then argues that precisely this deformation of the idea of freedom led Germany toward a fascist state, as ‘This German form of freedom was one that appealed to the Nazis just as it appealed to later makers of the twentieth-century social welfare state’.13 Another hallmark of Sonderweg historiography, also noted by Blackbourn and Eley, is the effort to analyse the ‘peculiar “German mind”’, trying to trace ‘values which evinced or seemed to tend toward […] the abject obedience of the “subject” (Untertan), inwardness, and contempt for supposedly mechanical western values, [which] were variously seen as characteristic German aberrations from enlightened western ways of thinking’.14 Whitman’s argument fits Blackbourn and Eley’s description perfectly, asserting that German ideas of freedom: [W]ere embraced by German jurists of the second half of the nineteenth century, and particularly of the 1880s. This was the period when German public policy began to turn away from [Adam] Smithian laissez-faire ideas, endorsing social insurance, cartelization, and protectionist policies. It was also a period when German philosophers turned strongly toward neo-Kantianism, a philosophical style fascinated with the tension between free will and determinism. It was during the same period that German lawyers began to turn away from seemingly crass Western ideas of personal liberty, endorsing a theory of personality as the true theory of freedom.15 The Sonderweg interpretation has long been called into question, particularly in the wake of Blackbourn and Eley’s highly influential revisionist work The Peculiarities of German History.16 The problem with the Sonderweg thesis, Blackbourn and Eley argue, is that it ‘can easily come to rest on a misleading and idealized picture of historical developments in those countries taken as models’.17 In particular, it may fall prey to painting ‘an idealized picture of what the “western” pattern (of development) actually was, a picture which historians of Britain, the USA, or France themselves would usually regard as quasi-mythical’,18 thereby rendering ideal types such as ‘German’ law versus ‘Western’ law as rooted more in fiction than fact. At certain points, Whitman’s argument about the German idea of freedom falls prey to this type of analysis and fails to capture the true diversity of intellectual conceptions of freedom that existed in Germany. It should be emphasised that Whitman’s thesis is not wholly incorrect; rather, the story is more complicated than his historical narrative indicates. This paper will argue that there were two understandings of rights that existed in Germany in the first half of the nineteenth century. The first emphasised the importance of individual freedom against the state, and this understanding included rights to privacy in the home and in correspondence. I trace the development of the notion of individual freedom in privacy rights from the beginning of the nineteenth century to the Revolutions of 1848, when German leaders attempted to codify these privacy rights while drafting a national constitution in Frankfurt. The second notion of rights, in line with Whitman, did indeed emphasise levelling up in society to move all individuals to the same social rank. German leaders in Frankfurt also discussed this understanding explicitly in 1848, but privacy rights were not included among these levelling-up rights. Thus, there were two notions of rights that existed in Germany simultaneously in the nineteenth century, one that emphasised individual liberty and another that emphasised the power of the state as the mechanism for granting rights predicated on social equality. Only by understanding the duality of this historical development can the arc of German legal history be fully grasped.19 I. The Development of Privacy Rights in German-Speaking Europe In 1815, in the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars, the Congress of Vienna created the German Confederation as the successor to the Holy Roman Empire and the Confederation of the Rhine.20 The German Confederation was an agglomeration of states with German-speaking populations, with Prussia and Austria being the most powerful of these states.21 In the years following, several of the constituent states drafted constitutional documents. This included the Kingdom of Bavaria (which promulgated a constitution on May 26, 1818),22 the Grand Duchy of Baden (which promulgated a constitution on 22 August 1818),23 the Kingdom of Württemberg (which promulgated a constitution on 25 September 1819),24 and the Grand Duchy of Hessen (which promulgated a constitution on 17 December 1820).25 However, none of these constitutions included any key elements of privacy protections, such as safeguards for communications by mail or for an individual’s home. It would take until the 1830s for protections to emerge. According to German legal historian Ernst Rudolf Huber, fundamental rights can be traced back to the eighteenth century: Since the Virginian Declaration of Rights of June 12, 1776, and even more clearly since the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen of 23 August 1789, the constitutional guarantee of fundamental rights of freedom for individuals and associations prevailed over state power as an indispensable element of the constitution in conformity with the idea of law.26 However, the German notions of privacy in the home and in correspondence are probably not directly related to the American or French constitutional traditions. For example, it was not until 1877 that the US Supreme Court found the Fourth Amendment prevented state interference with communications by mail in Ex parte Jackson, while in 1886 the Supreme Court found that the Fourth Amendment protected an individual’s personal documents against unreasonable government search and seizure in Boyd v United States.27 In contrast, constitutional development of privacy rights occurred in Germany in the first half of the nineteenth century. The French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, adopted in 1789, also lacks a provision barring unreasonable search and seizure akin to the American Fourth Amendment, because the declaration lacks any provision that could be construed as protecting the right to privacy, such as legal protections for the home and for personal correspondence.28 As such, the declaration could not serve as the basis for constitutional protections of the home and communications that would develop in Europe in the nineteenth century. Perhaps the most important moment in this historical evolution was the development of a constitutional protection for correspondence, which first appeared in the ‘Constitutional Charter’ (Verfassungsurkunde) for the Electorate of Hesse, adopted on 5 January 1831.29 The Electorate had been under absolutist rule from around 1815-1816, until Prince-Elector Wilhelm II stepped down in 1831, the same year that this new liberal constitution was adopted.30 The protection for the privacy of correspondence was set forth in article III of the Electorate’s constitution, entitled ‘On the General Rights and Duties of Subjects’ (Von den allgemeinen Rechten und Pflichten der Unterthanen), in section 38, which stated that ‘The privacy of correspondence is also to remain intact in the future. The intentional direct or indirect violation of this by the postal administration should be punished in accordance with the criminal law’.31 This constitutional provision in the Electorate’s constitution was framed explicitly in opposition to government intervention, not within a framework of equality or levelling up, as indicated by the specification that the postal administration, rather than private actors, was not to violate this right. Friedrich Murhard, a professor of public law, commented on this constitution in the years following its creation.32 In his discussion of section 38 of the constitution, Murhard asked: Can such a violation not be equally perpetrated by others, also in connection with the abuse of offices? What if the police or other authority take possession of my yet-undelivered letters or detain my messenger, taking my letters from him and forcibly opening them!33 Murhard’s emphasis on the police and other government authorities indicates that his chief concern was with state officials gaining accessing to his letters. While Murhard had not drafted the Electorate’s constitution, his queries indicate that at least some scholars in Germany conceived of privacy protections, such as section 38, as providing safeguards for individual privacy against state intervention, not as part of an effort to enhance equality. The constitution for the Electorate of Hessen also included a section discussing searches of the home: section 117.34 However, this was not included in the constitution’s article on rights, but was instead set forth in its article IX, entitled ‘On the Administration of Justice’ (Von der Rechtspflege).35 Section 117 declared ‘Property searches occur only upon the order of the court or local authority responsible in legally determined cases and forms’.36 Despite the fact that the constitution did not define this as a right, Friedrich Murhard still treated this as a protection of liberty against state intervention. Murhard argued that section 117 applies to the police: ‘According to the clear instruction of this paragraph, it would, for example, completely violate the constitution if a police officer wanted to enter the premises of a literary society and to confiscate a newspaper from one of its members, without the knowledge or volition of that member or at least of the society’s leadership representatives’.37 In addition, Murhard asserted that section 117 also extended to government officials other than the police. For example, he said that the provision would apply to tax collectors: With the explicit stipulation of § 117 of the Constitutional Charter it would, furthermore, be equally contradictory if the tax office issued a search warrant to, for example, uncover customs fraud and contraband. For issuing search warrants is made dependent, through the constitution, upon competent courts or local authorities in such cases too, so that these public authorities also have to examine the case in question.38 Murhard’s assertion that it would be nonsensical for the tax authority to grant itself a search order governing a tax investigation indicates that the protection of the home in the constitution was rooted in a mistrust of government power. That is, there was a belief that government agencies, such as tax authorities, could not be trusted to self-police when they assessed whether or not a home should be searched, and thus the constitution put legal controls on these authorities. Once again, this indicates the constitution for the Electorate of Hessen set forth a liberty interest, that of individuals over their property, rather than a levelling-up interest. The provisions in the constitution for the Electorate of Hessen failed to catch on in any other German principalities. The Kingdom of Saxony, which adopted a new constitution on 4 September 1831, did not include constitutional protections for either the privacy of communications or the protection of the home against meritless government searches.39 Nevertheless, privacy rights continued to be discussed. Carl Welcker, in an 1846 entry in his Staats-Lexikon entitled ‘Seizure’ (Beschlagnahme), emphasised the need for greater protections for the privacy of correspondence and the privacy of personal documents.40 Legal historian Michael Stolleis has described the Staats-Lexikon as ‘the public address system of the liberal citizenry […]’.41 In his entry, Welcker wrote: […] looking upon history and human nature, one will also recognise that forcibly opening correspondence and seizures are not only immoral and unlawful, but themselves counteract their own purpose, that they are at the same time dangerous, inconsequential, inefficient and unnecessary.42 Thus, despite the fact that constitutional protections for privacy rights were still quite limited in many parts of German-speaking Europe, interest among liberal reformers in creating protections for privacy continued into the 1840s. II. Explaining a New Understanding of Privacy By 1848, the political order established over three decades earlier by the Congress of Vienna was in crisis.43 Many people across Europe called for greater political involvement, nationalism became ascendant as a political movement, the European economy was moving toward industrialisation, causing major discontent among those left behind, and food shortages starting in 1845 raised the cost of basic foodstuffs in the years following.44 Revolution broke out in France in late February 1848, and the revolution quickly swept across the German-speaking lands of Europe throughout March and April of 1848.45 In March 1848 the Bundestag (‘Federal Diet’), a standing assembly of emissaries from the 38 German territories, sought to channel the movement toward the creation of a national constitution.46 To do so, the Bundestag selected a ‘Committee of Seventeen’ to create a constitutional document.47 The committee’s constitutional recommendations were submitted on 26 April 1848.48 These suggestions included a list of ‘Basic Rights of the German People’ (Grundrechte des deutschen Volkes) in article IV, section 25.49 Among these rights was the creation of protections for the ‘[i]nviolability of the privacy of correspondence according to the legal standardisation of constraints necessary in criminal investigations and in cases of war […]’.50 There was also a recommendation to protect the home against government searches by the enactment of ‘protections of the person against arbitrary imprisonment and house searches through a habeas-corpus act […]’.51 The inclusion of these rights in the Committee of Seventeen’s recommended list of basic rights was a major step, considering that the Electorate of Hessen was the only German-speaking state that had included protections for communications and the home in its constitution. But this was only the initial stage of a national discussion; the understanding of these rights would continue to deepen and evolve as the year 1848 wore on. Contemporaneously with the work of the Committee of Seventeen, elections were held across the German lands after the passage of two federal decrees, the first on 30 March 1848 and the second on 7 April 1848, to select representatives who would serve in the National Assembly that would convene in Frankfurt.52 The National Assembly held its first gathering on 18 May 1848.53 A week later, on 24 May 1848, the members of the National Assembly selected a group of representatives for the ‘Constitutional Committee’ (Verfassungsausschuss), who were given the task of drafting the basic rights to be included in the constitution.54 A record of the Constitutional Committee’s 1848 discussions was created by Johann Gustav Droysen,55 who had also been a member of the Committee of Seventeen.56 In addition to being a politician, Droysen was a professor from Kiel, and he represented Holstein in the far north of Germany.57 Unfortunately, Droysen did not offer a word-for-word stenographic transcript of the Constitutional Committee’s meetings, but instead summarised the main points of each committee member’s arguments on specific clauses of the constitutional draft.58 Nevertheless, Droysen’s account is still valuable. As Droysen’s writings indicate, over the course of the Constitutional Committee’s discussions, it became clear that there were two different conceptions of how particular rights would be framed. One understanding of rights sought to protect the individual against state power—this included the right to privacy of communications. As Droysen observed: In the discussion of the freedom of the press (§. 4.), of the privacy of correspondence (§. 5.), of the right to emigration (§. 7.), of a habeas-corpus act (§. 8.), (and) of the right of assembly (§. 11.) opposing demands were repeated with increasing fierceness between those who believed in the greatest individual freedom as establishing the best state, and those who saw individual freedom as tempered by the steadfast stability and order of the whole.59 The argument over the rights listed above did not focus on whether the state should be used as a mechanism to level up farmers, workers, and merchants in order to bring them on par with nobility. Instead, the Constitutional Committee members argued over whether or not individual freedoms should be constrained in order to ensure that the state could effectively guarantee societal safety. Yet a second, alternate conception of rights also emerged during the discussions of the 1848 constitutional committee. This notion favoured the use of rights and the state as a means of encouraging fundamental equality, more in line with Whitman’s argument about levelling up, which took hold later. It was often clear when this second conception of rights was being used in committee deliberations. For example, during their meetings, members of the Constitutional Committee debated whether the guarantee of legal equality had merit, discussing a proposed constitutional clause that favored ‘[e]quality before the law, in particular relating to jurisdiction, to the fitness to hold public office, to military conscription, to public levies, and to political or private privileges of individual estates’.60 Heinrich Simon, a civil servant of municipal court (Stadtgerichts-Assesor) from Breslau and representative of Magdeburg,61 criticised the notion of equality before the law by arguing that it would be used to erase differences between the nobility and other members of society. As reporter Droysen noted, ‘Simon asserted that [this clause] results principally in the abolition of the privileges of jurisdiction for the nobility and officials, for example in Prussia; it is in no manner beneficial or necessary, it must be thoroughly suppressed’.62 Although Simon was arguing against equality before the law, it is clear that his assertions were rooted in a fear that granting such a right would allow ordinary people to make use of the law and the state, giving them access to the same legal treatment as nobles and privileged members of society. Thus, two understandings of rights existed simultaneously during the drafting discussions of the constitutional committee in 1848: one that sought to guarantee the rights of the individual against state interference with their personal liberty (including the right to private correspondence) and another that sought to draw upon the power of the state to provide legal equality to all people in order to eliminate aristocratic social status. On 3 July 1848, over two months after the Constitutional Committee had been selected, the committee submitted its draft to the Frankfurt National Assembly.63 Among the enumerated rights were new protections for the individual’s home and for the privacy of correspondence, both set forth in Article II of the Basic Rights draft.64 Article II, section 8 discussed limitations on intervention in the home: The dwelling is inviolable. A house search may only be carried out under court order. This order must be shown to the parties concerned immediately or within 24 hours at the latest. There are no special restrictions on arrests made in a dwelling.65 This was followed by article II, section 9, which set forth protections for communications privacy: The privacy of correspondence is guaranteed; restrictions necessary for criminal investigation and in the event of war are to be determined through legislation. The confiscation of letters and papers may only be carried out under court order.66 The inclusion of these rights in the Constitutional Committee’s recommended list was another important step in the evolution of German privacy rights. Unfortunately, due to the paucity of discussion over these rights in Droysen’s account of the committee’s meetings, there is little information on exactly how the committee settled on their final formulation of these privacy rights. While it does not appear that the constitution for the Electorate of Hessen, which had included privacy rights, was discussed by the Constitutional Committee, the committee did discuss the 1831 Belgian constitution during its gatherings.67 The proposition that the Constitutional Committee drew from the Belgian constitution in formulating privacy rights seems all the more likely in light of the fact that in spring 1848 the Austrians had consulted the Belgian constitution of 1831 because, as historian Wolfram Siemann has noted, the Belgian document ‘epitomized the modern constitutionalism at the time’.68 Moreover, the 1848 constitutional committee could have found German-language translations of the 1831 Belgian constitution, which would have made this task even easier. A German-language version of the Belgian constitution had existed since at least the early 1830s,69 and 1848 gave the impetus for renewed translation of that constitution, as well as others.70 The Belgian constitution included specific protections for the right to privacy. Article 10 of the constitution set forth a right to privacy in the home stating that ‘The dwelling is inviolable; a house search can only occur in those cases prescribed by law and in the prescribed form’.71 It should be noted that the German-language translation of the 1831 Belgian constitution and the 1848 German Constitutional Committee’s recommendation for protecting privacy in the home both opened with the same exact German phrase (Die Wohnung ist unverletzlich), indicating that the committee may have been drawing on the text of the Belgian constitution.72 In addition, in article 22, the Belgian constitution set forth a safeguard for privacy in communications, ‘The privacy of correspondence is inviolable. The law specifies the officials who are responsible for violating the secrecy of letters entrusted to the postal service’.73 Unlike privacy rights in the home, there does not appear to be a direct textual relationship between the German-language translation of the 1831 Belgian constitution and the 1848 German Constitutional Committee’s discussion of the privacy of communications. Nevertheless, it is important that both rights to the privacy of the home and of correspondence were included in the Belgian constitution, and if the German Constitutional Committee did indeed draw upon the Belgian rights when putting together a draft of basic rights in 1848, this further calls into question the notion that there is an easily identifiable ‘German’ idea of the right to privacy. It also appears that, in their final recommendation on basic rights, the 1848 Constitutional Committee continued to consider privacy rights in the home (article II, section 8) and in communications (article II, section 9) as protections for the individual against state interference. This is supported by the Constitutional Committee’s elucidation of its ‘Motives’ for making these recommendations.74 The committee members combined their discussion of privacy rights in the home in section 8 with other recommendations for protecting individual freedoms, particularly against arbitrary arrest, set forth in section 7 of the committee’s draft of basic rights.75 With regard to arrests, the committee noted: [T]hat the provision for a court-ordered arrest warrant to be submitted within 24 hours (§ 7) allows for the dutiful maintenance of public safety in urgent instances without granting undue influence to the police force. Because if the arrest warrant is not obtained from the judge after the fact, the legal accountability of the arresting agency comes into effect. – The restrictions on house searches were understood in the same sense (§ 8).76 This statement indicates that the Constitutional Committee was concerned that the police might arbitrarily arrest and search individuals and their homes. Thus, the right to privacy in the home was viewed by the committee as an individual right against capricious government intervention into private lives. As a result, the committee sought to temper this possibility by codifying rights that would require judicial oversight for most arrests and searches. Some of the further comments that the Constitutional Committee made with regard to their motives for creating section 8 did indicate a willingness to undermine the substance of these rights. As the committee stated, ‘Admittedly, though, there were no illusions that authorising the police force directly to search suspicious houses was to be desired’.77 But this merely indicates that the committee members believed that in certain exigent circumstances a balance would need to be struck between individual liberty and societal security. Moreover, immediately after making this statement in their ‘Motives’, the committee continued and reaffirmed the importance of limiting government intervention into an individual’s private life, declaring that ‘It was thought, however, that the seizure of letters and papers could be made dependent on the prior issuance of a court order without exception’.78 Once again, the Constitutional Committee indicated that privacy rights were thought of as protecting the individual against state interference, even if some exceptions could be made to this general rule in emergency circumstances. In contrast to its position on personal privacy rights, the 1848 Constitutional Committee expressed a different concept of equal rights elsewhere in their recommendation on basic rights. This additional understanding of rights assumed that state power was necessary for the destruction of social disparities, and it is more in line with Whitman’s argument regarding rights. An example of this notion of fundamental rights based on equality was set forth in article II, section 6, which stated: All Germans are equal before the law. There will be no privileges of estate. Public offices are equally accessible to all suitably able. Military conscription is equal for all.79 Section 6 set out to abolish the feudal estates and to instead establish a constitutional order that would grant all members of German society legal equality and access to all public offices. Section 6 aims toward a levelling up of all members of society. Indeed, this section creates, in the words of Whitman, the expectation that ‘[e]verybody is now supposed to be treated in ways that only highly placed and wealthy people were treated a couple of centuries ago’.80 This is further supported by the Constitutional Committee’s discussion of its motives for making this suggestion in section 6.81 The committee declared: The general idea of the modern state, which, in contrast to the legal situation of the Middle Ages, wants to grant freedom instead of liberties, the law instead of rights, was placed at the head of § 6. – The momentous provision that there will be no estate privileges follows in the second paragraph, that is to say an estate as such has neither in public nor private law claim to privileges.82 It is noteworthy that the committee emphasised that the modern state was the tool for the realisation of individual liberties and a legal order. In particular, it appears that the justification for such state power was the belief that the state was necessary to deprive the noble estates of their legal privileges so as to build a new social order. III. Privacy Rights Reach the National Assembly As 1848 wore on, privacy rights were viewed with increasing seriousness. Whenever the right to privacy of correspondence and the right against unwarranted searches of the home were discussed in the Frankfurt National Assembly, the assembly’s members always framed these privacy rights as personal freedoms, upholding the right of the individual against state interference. For instance, Representative Friedrich Martiny83 delivered an ardent defense of individual rights before the National Assembly on 21 July 1848.84 Martiny proclaimed loftily in his oration: It concerns, gentlemen, the security of the person, the right to assembly and association, the freedom of the press, the privacy of correspondence. Gentlemen! Should I prove to you that all these rights must be guaranteed to men and the German people? You will reply to me it is not necessary. Human beings are born with these rights. Or should I prove to you that it is essential not to curtail these rights for the German people?85 As his speech makes clear, Martiny believed that the right to privacy, the right to assemble, freedom of the press, and privacy of communications were natural rights that all people were born with. Furthermore, his emphasis that these rights could only be curtailed rather than expanded, indicates that these natural rights could only be infringed upon (for example, by the government) meaning no institution could ever play a role in enlarging these rights. Similarly, several months later, on 21 December 1848, Emil Adolf Roßmäßler, a member of the National Assembly from the Saxon city of Pirna vociferously stressed the importance of the right to privacy in communications.86 Roßmäßler set forth a lengthy demand of the Imperial Minister of the Interior.87 He began with a defence of basic rights in general: Considering that the Basic Rights for the German people, determined for once and all, constitute the only guarantee of a stable legal situation, and that therefore every substantial violation of these will undermine the last remainder of trust, upon which the central government constantly relies […].88 Roßmäßler’s denunciation of the central government’s attempts to undermine basic rights indicates that he believed these rights were created to protect people from government encroachment into individual lives. Roßmäßler continued, emphasising that privacy of communications was one of these individual rights and complaining that it was not being fully respected, ‘Considering that, regardless of the present matter, the inviolability of the privacy of correspondence belongs to the delicate rights of the people, that very right has been violated in, at times, a brash and blatant manner upon the letters that members of this house send and receive […]’.89 He then inquired, ‘I ask the Imperial Minister of the Interior – in reference to previous violations of the privacy of correspondence […] What he is prepared to do, in order to prosecute such violations […]’?90 As Roßmäßler’s speech makes clear, privacy rights, including the right to privacy of correspondence, in spite of their recent vintage, were gaining importance among German politicians in the Frankfurt National Assembly. And similar to Friedrich Martiny, Roßmäßler also considered these rights to be constraints placed upon the government rather than rights that the government would create. There was more debate in the assembly over drafting the right to inviolability of the home than over the right to private correspondence. Yet the right to privacy in the home was also seen as based upon individual liberties that guaranteed protection from state power. On 17 August 1848,91 Representative Friedrich Wilhelm Schlöffel introduced an amendment that would have altered some of the constitutional text about unauthorised searches of the home.92 Schlöffel sharply denounced contemporary search practices by the police, declaring that ‘Experience has, as a matter of fact, taught from 1819 onwards that house searches, when carried out under the shield of the police, have quite often assumed the character of a burglary’.93 He continued by explaining that this trouble with police excess was a particularly modern problem, stating ‘Neither the old German law nor the old Roman law spoke to the infringement of the dwelling or such a house search, – it is a particularity of the modern police state alone to falsify its records in this manner’.94 As a result of the ‘police state’ described by Schlöffel, he proclaimed that ‘This shameful immorality, which is involved in a forcible burglary of foreign property regardless of the circumstances, became, insofar as it was carried out by police officers, a privilege of the secret police and of the secret Inquisition powers’.95 For Schlöffel, searches of the home were caused by the excesses of government power, emanating from the police in particular, which led to aggressive and overly zealous searches of a person’s home. Schlöffel’s analysis of home searches by police clearly indicates that he understood the right against unwarranted searches of the home (and thus privacy in the home) to be rooted in the need to protect the individual against arbitrary government actions. Once again, this is contrary to Whitman’s argument that Europeans conceived of the right to privacy as requiring state intervention to guarantee its protection.96 Ultimately, the final version of the basic rights was set forth in the Frankfurt National Assembly’s completed constitution, which was promulgated on 28 March 1849, over eight months after the Constitutional Committee had first issued its proposal.97 The constitution split up article II of the Constitutional Committee’s recommendations, placing the abolition of estate privileges and equal protection under the law in article II, and placing individual rights in article III. Privacy rights were placed in article III, following a provision abolishing the death penalty in many cases and many forms of cruel and unusual punishment.98 Section 140 dealt with government searches of the home: § 140. The dwelling is inviolable. A house search is only permissible: 1. on the strength of a court order indicating the grounds, which ought to be delivered to the parties involved immediately or within the next twenty-four hours, 2. in pursuit of someone caught during the commission of a criminal act, by a legally authorised official, 3. in the cases and manners, for which the law permits certain officials to do so in exceptional cases without a court order. Whenever possible, the house search must take place in the presence of the inhabitants. The inviolability of the dwelling is no barrier to the arrest of a person facing prosecution by the court.99 Sections 141 and 142 dealt with the confiscation of letters and the privacy of communications: § 141. The confiscation of letters and papers may only be carried out, except during an arrest or house search, on the strength of a court order indicating grounds, which should be delivered to the parties involved immediately or within the next twenty-four hours. § 142. The secrecy of communications is guaranteed. The necessary limits in case of criminal investigation or war are to be determined by legislation.100 However, the hope for a new political order based upon the Frankfurt constitution was short-lived. On the same day that the constitution was finalised, 28 March 1849, representatives at the Frankfurt National Assembly selected Prussian king Friedrich Wilhelm IV to be the head of their new constitutional state.101 At first, Friedrich Wilhelm did not explicitly turn down the offer, but his response was quite cool. By 28 April 1849, he decided to give a final answer—he rebuffed the National Assembly.102 With this, the moment for a national constitution would come to an end. Yet this would not be the end of the rights to privacy that had been developed in the Frankfurt constitution over the course of 1848 and 1849. IV. Epilogue While one might expect that the failure of the Revolution of 1848 would have also led to the demise of privacy rights emphasising individual liberty against government encroachment, this was not the case. This conception of privacy rights took on particular importance on 31 March 1919 in the German city of Weimar, where a committee was drafting what would ultimately become the Weimar Constitution.103 One of the representatives, Friedrich Naumann, discussed the history of the development of rights, declaring: The first is that, which we recognize under the name the human rights, those rights that hang aloft with the eternal stars, the rights we are born with, these rights that played their role from the foundation of the American republic on through European history and in all modern constitutions, also reappeared in the French, Swiss and Belgian constitution.104 Naumann believed that these rights were meant to prevent government infringement on personal freedoms: ‘These rights deal primarily with the question: what may the state not do with regard to the individual citizen? – and for that reason [Georg] Jellinek is correct in his remark that this group of basic rights is of a negative nature’.105 Naumann elaborated on this point, stating that ‘[o]ne can formulate them positively in some instances, but at their core they remain negative. These negative rights, the inalienable right of the subject’s own self against the power of the beleaguering state, are present in the drafts made available to us […]’.106 He then went on to discuss the specific rights that fell within the rights of man, including two key privacy rights, that ‘[t]he dwelling is inviolable’ (Die Wohnung ist unverletzlich) and ‘[t]he secrecy of correspondence is inviolable’ (Das Postgeheimnis ist unverletzlich).107 Naumann was overly broad in his discussion regarding the history of human rights—as demonstrated above, privacy protections for the home and for correspondence did not develop until the first half of the nineteenth century, long after other rights had been elucidated, both in German-speaking Europe and elsewhere. However, Naumann’s assertion that these human rights were rights of negative liberty that placed the individual’s freedom first, in opposition to government interests and interventions, is quite important. His statement indicates that a notion of negative liberty continued to live on in Germany after 1848 and 1849, at least into the early twentieth century. As such, it also calls into question Whitman’s argument that the German idea of freedom was predicated upon a belief that the state intervene in individuals’ lives in order to help them achieve self-fulfilment.108 However, Whitman’s analysis retains a measure of serviceability. While it is questionable to apply his levelling-up theory to privacy rights, this is not the case for all rights set forth in the German constitutions. Indeed, as Naumann continued in his discussion of rights, he stated: ‘A second group [of rights] is the group of citizens’ rights. This group of citizens’ rights is positive’.109 Naumann expanded on this notion, explaining: ‘While the first group is negative, in the sense that it says: such and such may not be encroached upon, the second group is positive in this sense: the individual has such and such rights in the state, we all are the state’.110 The power of the state could be used to realise these rights, because all of the citizens who made up the state were empowered politically to decide upon what these rights should be, as Naumann observed: This second group draws upon the thought process of Rousseau: ‘the state is made from the will of the people’. In itself, the will of the people is something mystical and intangible, but it represents itself, it materialises itself from out of the majority that one can count. All citizens of the state now belong integrated into this burgeoning majority.111 This notion of rights accorded equality to all members of the state, because they were entitled to participate by virtue of their citizenship, regardless of social or economic standing. That is why, according to Naumann, one of these positive citizens’ rights was the assertion that ‘[a]ll Germans are equal before the law […]’.112 The right of equality before the law allowed the state to intervene in order to level out the echelons of German society, wholly in line with Whitman’s thesis. By tracing early iterations of the right to privacy, particularly in the home and in correspondence, this essay has sought to bring nuance to Whitman’s argument, demonstrating that two understandings of freedom existed alongside one another in Germany. It is the continuous opposition between these two notions of liberty, both negative and positive, that makes German legal history so complex. Much more can be said on the development of other types of rights that occurred throughout the German Confederation from the beginning of the nineteenth century to the Revolution of 1848. Perhaps most interesting would be the search for a discussion of negative liberty in the context of the German Empire, from 1871 to 1918, in which Whitman finds a paucity of examples.113 Yet, as Naumann’s statements make clear, the concept of negative liberty survived in Germany, and played an important role in the 1919 Weimar Constitution’s list of rights. In analyzing the long course of modern German legal history, this essay is only a starting point, but hopefully a fruitful one. He would like to thank Adriaan Lanni, Tamar Herzog and Constantin Fasolt for their helpful comments on earlier versions of this paper. Footnotes 1 For a good historical investigation of the continent-wide revolutions that engulfed Europe in 1848, see Jonathan Sperber, The European Revolutions, 1848-1851 (2nd edn, CUP 2005). 2 The thesis set forth here contrasts with the argument made by historian Herbert Arthur Strauss, who asserted that in 1848-49 those in the Frankfurt National Assembly saw the state as the force that would propel the realisation of individual freedom and guarantee the protection of this individual liberty. Herbert Arthur Strauss, Staat, Bürger, Mensch: Die Debatten der deutschen Nationalversammlung 1848/1849 über die Grundrechte (HR Sauerländer 1947) 115. 3 James Q Whitman, ‘The Two Western Cultures of Privacy: Dignity versus Liberty’, (2004) 113 Yale LJ 1151, 1161. 4 ibid 1161 (emphasis in original). 5 ibid 1165; for example, Whitman cites Robert Kagan, Of Paradise and Power: America and Europe in the New World Order (Alfred A Knopf 2003). 6 Whitman (n 3) 1166 (emphasis in original). 7 ibid 1167. Legal historian Jörg-Detlef Kühne has made an argument somewhat similar to that made by Whitman. According to Kühne, the 1848-49 Frankfurt Constitution was the high-water mark of strong protections for the individual, which included bodily protections as well as protections for the most intimate areas of an individual’s private life, especially the home and private documents. Jörg-Detlef Kühne, Die Reichsverfassung der Paulskirche: Vorbild und Verwirklichung im späteren deutschen Rechtsleben (Alfred Metzner 1985) 346. Kühne asserts that these stalwart protections did not find their way into the 1919 Weimar Constitution or the 1949 Basic Law, which provided for significant bodily protections but allowed for greater incursion into both the home and correspondences, ibid 346. However, unlike Whitman’s assertion that a levelling-up process can explain this legal development, Kühne fails to explicate the mechanism driving such a demise of privacy protections. As a result, this article will focus on the theory proposed by Whitman. 8 Whitman (n 3) 1182. 9 ibid 1181; Leonard Krieger, The German Idea of Freedom: History of a Political Tradition (University of Chicago Press 1957). 10 David Blackbourn and Geoff Eley, The Peculiarities of German History: Bourgeois Society and Politics in Nineteenth-Century Germany (OUP 1984) 293. 11 ibid 7; Blackbourn and Eley cite to Ralf Dahrendorf as a historian who asks such a question. Ralf Dahrendorf, Society and Democracy in Germany (WW Norton 1979). 12 Whitman (n 3) 1182. 13 ibid 1187. 14 Blackbourn and Eley (n 10) 5. 15 Whitman (n 3) 1182. 16 Helmut Walser Smith, ‘When the Sonderweg Debate Left Us’, (2008) 31 German Studies Rev 225, 229. 17 Blackbourn and Eley (n 10) 10. 18 ibid 10. 19 This analysis is inspired by Konrad Jarausch and Michael Geyer’s assessment of German history in the twentieth century, according to which ‘There is no single master narrative to be told, no Weltgeist to be discovered, no national character to be indicted, or, at long last, absolved’. Konrad H Jarausch and Michael Geyer, Shattered Past: Reconstructing German Histories (Princeton UP 2003) x. 20 Michael Stolleis, Public Law in Germany, 1800-1914 (Pamela Biel tr, Berghahn Books 2001) 41-42. 21 ibid 42. 22 Ernst Rudolf Huber (ed), Dokumente zur Deutschen Verfassungsgeschichte: Deutsche Verfassungsdokumente 1803-1850, vol 1 (W Kohlhammer 1961) 141-56. 23 ibid 156-70. 24 ibid 170-200. 25 ‘Verfassungsurkunde für das Großherzogtum Hessen 17. Dezember 1820’, (Lehrstuhl für Rechtsphilosophie, Staats- und Verwaltungsrecht Prof Dr. Horst Dreier) <www.jura.uni-wuerzburg.de/lehrstuehle/dreier/verfassungsdokumente-von-der-magna-carta-bis-ins-20-jahrhundert/verfassung-des-grossherzogtums-hessen-17-dez-1820/> accessed 26 November 2017. 26 ‘Seit der virginischen Declaration of Rights vom 12. Juni 1776, eindeutiger noch seit der französischen Déclaration des droits de l’homme et du citoyen vom 23. August 1789 gilt die staatsrechtliche Verbürgung der fundamentalen Freiheitsrechte der Einzelnen und der Gemeinschaften gegenüber der Staatsgewalt als ein unentbehrlicher Bestandteil einer der Rechtsidee gemäßen Verfassung’. Ernst Rudolf Huber, Deutsche Verfassungsgeschichte seit 1789: Der Kampf um Einheit und Freiheit 1830 bis 1850, vol 2 (W Kohlhammer 1960) 774. All translations, except where otherwise noted, are my own. 27 Ex parte Jackson 96 US 727, 733 (1877); Boyd v United States 116 US 616, 640-41 (1886). 28 ‘Declaration of the Rights of Man - 1789’, (The Avalon Project 2008) <http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/rightsof.asp> accessed 26 November 2017. 29 Huber, Dokumente zur Deutschen Verfassungsgeschichte (n 22) 201. As stated above, this took place over forty years before the US Supreme Court decision in Ex parte Jackson (n 27) 727. 30 Stolleis (n 20) 171. 31 ‘Das Briefgeheimniß ist auch künftig unverletzt zu halten. Die absichtliche unmittelbare oder mittelbare Verletzung desselben bei der Postverwaltung soll peinlich bestraft werden’. Huber, Dokumente zur Deutschen Verfassungsgeschichte (n 22) 205. 32 Stolleis (n 20) 172. 33 ‘Kann dieses Vergehen nicht ebensowohl von Andern, auch verbunden mit Mißbrauch der Amtsgewalt, begangen werden? Wie wenn nun die Polizei oder eine andere Behörde sich meiner noch nicht abgegebenen Briefe bemächtigt oder meinen Boten anhält, meine Schreiben ihm abnimmt und sie erbricht!’ Friedrich Murhard, Grundlage des jetzigen Staatsrechts des Kurfürstenthums Hessen: Dargestellt nach Maßgabe der einzelnen Paragraphen der Verfassungs-Urkunde vom 5. Januar 1831, vol 1 (JJ Bohne 1834) 375. 34 Huber, Dokumente zur Deutschen Verfassungsgeschichte (n 22) 218. 35 ibid 217. 36 ‘Die Haussuchung findet nur auf Verfügung des zuständigen Gerichtes oder der Orts-Obrigkeit in den gesetzlich bestimmten Fällen und Formen statt’. ibid 218. 37 ‘Nach der klaren Vorschrift dieses §. würde es z. B. schnurstracks gegen die Verfassung stoßen, wenn ein Polizeibeamter in das Lokal eines Leseinstituts treten und dort ein den Mitgliedern desselben zugehöriges Zeitungsblatt, ohne Wissen und Willen derselben oder wenigstens der die Gesellschaft repräsentierenden Direktion wegnehmen wollte’. Friedrich Murhard, Grundlage des jetzigen Staatsrechts des Kurfürstenthums Hessen: Dargestellt nach Maßgabe der einzelnen Paragraphen der Verfassungs-Urkunde vom 5. Januar 1831, vol 2 (JJ Bohne 1835) 497-98. 38 ‘Mit der ausdrücklichen Bestimmung des § 117. der Verf. Urk. würde es ferner eben so im Widerspruch seyn, wenn von einer Steuerbehörde die Verfügung zu einer Haussuchung, z. B. Behufs der Entdeckung von Zolldefraudation und Kontrebande ertheilt würde. Denn die Verfügung der Haussuchung ist auch in solchen Fällen durch die Verfassung vom kompeteten Gerichte oder der Ortsobrigkeit abhängig gemacht, so daß also auch diese Behörden den vorkommenden Fall zu prüfen haben’. ibid 498. 39 Huber, Dokumente zur Deutschen Verfassungsgeschichte (n 22) 223-47. 40 C Welcker, ‘Beschlagnahme’ in Carl von Rotteck and Carl Welcker (eds), Das Staats-Lexikon: Encyklopädie der sämmtlichen Staatswissenschaften für alle Stände, vol 2 (Johann Friedrich Hammerich 1846) 364-81. 41 Stolleis (n 20) 118. 42 ‘[W]ird man mit dem Blick auf die Geschichte und die Menschennatur es auch einsehen, daß jene Brieferbrechungen und Beschlagnahmen nicht blos unmoralisch und rechtswidrig sind, sondern selbst ihrem eignen Zweck entgegenwirken, daß sie zugleich gefährlich, inconsequent, wirkungslos und unnötig sind’. Welcker, 374. 43 Wolfram Siemann, The German Revolution of 1848-49 (Christiane Banerji tr, St Martin’s Press 1998) 45. 44 ibid 46. 45 ibid 55-71. 46 ibid 77-78. 47 ibid 78. 48 Huber, Dokumente zur Deutschen Verfassungsgeschichte (n 22) 284. 49 ibid 289. 50 ‘Unverbrüchlichkeit des Briefgeheimnisses unter gesetzlicher Normirung (sic) der bei Criminal-Untersuchung und in Kriegsfällen notwendigen Beschränkungen […]’. ibid 290. 51 ‘Sicherstellung der Person gegen willkürliche Verhaftung und Haussuchung durch eine Habeas-Corpus-Acte […]’. ibid 290. 52 Huber, Deutsche Verfassungsgeschichte (n 26) 606; Siemann (n 43) 80. 53 Huber, Deutsche Verfassungsgeschichte (n 26) 610. 54 Siemann (n 43) 131. 55 Johann Gustav Droysen, Die Verhandlung des Verfassungs-Ausschuss der deutschen Nationalversammlung, vol 1 (Weidmann’sche Buchhandlung 1849). 56 Siemann (n 43) 78. 57 Droysen (n 55) 362. 58 According to Droysen: ‘These records were in fact not read aloud and approved as a formal transcript, but they sufficed to give a decent representation of the hearings; and the desire was expressed earlier to publish the same, a desire that was repeated explicitly by the committee members in the final session, which can also count as authorisation of it occurring now’. In the original German: ‘Diese Aufzeichnungen wurden zwar nicht wie förmliche Protocolle verlesen und genehmigt, aber sie galten dafür, ein leidliches Abbild der Verhandlung zu geben; und schon früher wurde der Wunsch ausgesprochen, dieselben zu veröffentlichen, ein Wunsch, der von den Ausschußmitgliedern in der letzten Sitzung ausdrücklich wiederholt, zugleich als Autorisation dafür gelten darf, daß es jetzt geschieht’. ibid v. 59 ‘Bei den Besprechung über die Preßfreiheit (§. 4.), über das Briefgeheimniß (§. 5.), über das Auswanderungsrecht (§. 7.), über eine Habeas-Corpus-Acte (§. 8.), über das Versammlungsrecht (§. 11.) wiederholte sich mit steigender Schärfe der Gegensatz der Forderungen derer, welche aus der größten Freiheit der Einzelnen den besten Staat zu schaffen gemeint waren, und derer, welche in der Besicherten Festigkeit und Ordnung des Ganzen auch die Freiheit des Einzelnen bedingt sahen’. ibid 21. 60 ‘Gleichheit vor dem Gesetz; namentlich in Bezug auf Gerichtsstand, auf Amtsfähigkeit, auf Wehrpflicht, auf öffentliche Abgaben, und auf politische oder private Vorrechte einzelner Stände’. ibid 34. 61 ibid 361. 62 ‘Simon macht geltend, daß es am meisten auf Aufhebung des privilegierten Gerichtsstandes für Adel und Beamte, z B in Preußen, ankomme; es sei das in keiner Weise heilsam oder nothwendig, es müsse durchaus abgestellt werden’. ibid 35. 63 Franz Wigard (ed), Stenographischer Bericht über die Verhandlung der deutschen constituirenden Nationalversammlung zu Frankfurt am Main, vol 1 (Breitkopf und Härtel und BG Teubner 1848) 681. 64 ibid 682-83. 65 ‘Die Wohnung ist unverletzlich. Eine Haussuchung darf nur auf Grund eines richterlichen Befehls vorgenommen werden. Dieser Befehl muß sofort oder spätestens innerhalb der nächsten 24 Stunden dem Betheiligten vorgewiesen werden. Für die Verhaftung in einer Wohnung finden keine besonderen Beschränkungen statt’. ibid 683. 66 ‘Das Briefgeheimniß ist gewährleistet; die bei strafgerichtlichen Untersuchung und in Kriegsfällen nothwendigen Beschränkungen sind durch die Gesetzgebung festzustellen.Die Beschlagnahme von Briefen und Papieren darf nur auf Grund eines richterlichen Befehls vorgenommen werden’. ibid 683. 67 Droysen (n 55) 8, 11, 38. 68 Siemann (n 43) 83. 69 Karl Heinrich Ludwig Pölitz, Die europäischen Verfassungen seit dem Jahre 1789 bis auf die neueste Zeit: Mit geschichtlichen Erläuterungen und Einleitungen von dem geheimen Rathe, vol 2 (2nd edn, FA Brockhaus 1833) 229-49. I will use this translation in my discussion of the Belgian constitution, because a translation made in the 1830s could have been accessible to the constitutional committee in 1848. 70 J Horwitz, Die Verfassungen der Constitutionell-Monarchischen und Republicanischen Staaten der Gegenwart: Nach den Quellen zusammengestellt und mit erläuternden Anmerkungen versehen: Zweite Lieferung: Nord-America, Belgien, Norwegen (M Simion 1848) 43-61. 71 ‘Die Wohnung ist unverletzlich; ein Haussuchung kann nur statt finden in den Fällen, welche das Gesetz voraus bezeichnet, und in der Form, welche es vorschreibt’. Pölitz (n 69) 238. 72 Wigard, vol 1 (n 63) 683; Pölitz (n 69) 238. 73 ‘Das Briefgeheimniß ist unverletzlich. Das Gesetz bestimmt die Beamten, welche für die Verletzung des Geheimnisses der, der Post anvertrauten, Briefe verantwortlich sind’. Pölitz (n 69) 239. 74 Wigard, vol 1 (n 63) 684. 75 Article II, Section 7 declared:  The freedom of the person is inviolable.  No one can be deprived of his legal judge. Exceptional courts should never take place.  The arrest of a person – except in the case of apprehension in the act – should only occur on the strength of a court order furnished with reasons.  This order must be produced at the time of the arrest or at the latest within the next 24 hours of the arrest. In the original German:  Die Freiheit der Person ist unverletzlich.  Niemand darf seinem gesetzlichen Richter entzogen werden. Ausnahmsgerichte sollen nie stattfinden.  Die Verhaftung einer Person soll – außer im Fall der Ergreifung auf frischer That – nur geschehen in Kraft eines richterlichen, mit Gründen versehen Befehls.  Dieser Befehl muß im Augenblicke der Verhaftung oder spätestens innerhalb der nächsten 24 Stunden dem Verhafteten vorgewiesen werden. ibid 683. 76 ‘[D]aß die Bestimmung, der richterliche Verhaftsbefehl könne binnen 24 Stunden nachgeliefert werden (§ 7), es gestattet, in dringenden Fällen für die öffentliche Sicherheit Sorge zu tragen, ohne der Polizeigewalt einen zu großen Einfluß einzuräumen. Denn wenn der Verhaftsbefehl nicht nachträglich vom Richter erwirkt wird, tritt die gesetzliche Verantwortlichkeit des Verhaftenden ein. – In demselben Sinn faßte man die Beschränkung der Haussuchung auf (§ 8)’. ibid 685. 77 ‘Allerdings aber verkannte man nicht, daß im Interesse der öffentlichen Sicherheit eine unmittelbare Berechtigung der Polizeigewalt zur Durchsuchung verdächtiger Häuser wünschenswerth sein könne’. ibid 685. 78 ‘Die Beschlagnahme von Briefen und Papieren glaubte man aber unbedingt von der vorgängigen Ausfertigung eines richterlichen Befehls abhängig machen zu dürfen’. ibid 685. 79  Alle Deutschen sind gleich vor dem Gesetze.  Standesprivilegien finden nicht statt.  Die öffentlichen Aemter sind für alle dazu Befähigten gleich zugänglich.  Die Wehrpflicht ist für Alle gleich. ibid 682. 80 Whitman (n 3) 1166. 81 Wigard, vol 1 (n 63) 684. 82 ‘Die allgemein Idee des modernen Staates, welcher im Gegensatz zu den Rechtszuständen des Mittelalters statt der Freiheiten die Freiheit, statt der Rechte das Recht gewähren will, ist an die Spitze des § 6 gestellt worden. – Im zweiten Absatz folge die inhaltsschwere Verfügung, daß keine Standes priviligien stattfinden sollen, d. h. ein Stand hat als solcher weder im öffentlichen, noch im Privatrechte auf Vorrechte Anspruch zu machen’. ibid 685 (emphasis added). 83 Christian Pletzing, Vom Völkerfrühling zum nationalen Konflikt: Deutscher und polnischer Nationalismus in Ost- und Westpreußen 1830-1871 (Harrassowitz 2003) 176. 84 Franz Wigard (ed), Stenographischer Bericht über die Verhandlung der deutschen constituirenden Nationalversammlung zu Frankfurt am Main, vol 2 (Johann David Sauerländer 1848) 1073. 85 ‘Es handelt sich, meine Herren, um die Sicherheit der Person, um das Versammlungs- und Vereinigungs-Recht, um die Preßfreiheit, um das Briefgeheimniß. Meine Herren! Soll ich Ihnen nachweisen, das diese Rechte sämmtlich dem Menschen und dem deutschen Volke gewährt werden müssen? Sie werden mir erwiedern, es sei nicht nöthig. Diese Rechte werden mit dem Menschen geboren. Oder solle ich Ihnen nachweisen, daß es nothwendig ist, daß man dem deutschen Volke diese Rechte nicht verkürze?’ (emphasis added); ibid 1091. 86 Franz Wigard (ed), Stenographischer Bericht über die Verhandlung der deutschen constituirenden Nationalversammlung zu Frankfurt am Main, vol 6 (Johann David Sauerländer 1849) 4301; Andreas Daum, ‘Roßmäßler, Emil Adolf’ (Neue Deutsche Bibliographie 2005) <www.deutsche-biographie.de/sfz77032.html#ndbcontent> accessed 26 November 2017. 87 Wigard, vol 6 (n 86) 4301. 88 ‘In Erwägung daß die nun endgiltig (sic) festgestellten Grundrechte für das deutschen Volk die einzige Gewähr eines gesicherten Rechtszustandes ausmachen, und daß daher jede wesentliche Verletzung derselben den letzten Rest von Vertrauen, welches die Centralgewalt bei jeder Gelegenheit in Anspruch nimmt, untergraben muß […]’. ibid 4301. 89 ‘[I]n Erwägung, daß absehend hiervon die Unverletzlichkeit des Briefgeheimnisses zu den empfindlichen Rechten des Volkes gehört, dasselbe aber an Briefen, welche Mitglieder dieses Hauses absenden und empfangen, in neuerer Zeit und zwar zum Theil in frecher, unverhohlener Weise verletzt wird […]’. ibid 4301. 90 ‘Was er zu thun bereit sei, um derartige Verletzungen des Briefgeheimnisses zu verfolgen […]?’ ibid 4301. 91 Franz Wigard (ed), Stenographischer Bericht über die Verhandlung der deutschen constituirenden Nationalversammlung zu Frankfurt am Main, vol 3 (Johann David Sauerländer 1848) 1573. 92 ibid 1576; for Schlöffel’s biography, see Helmut Bleiber, ‘Schlöffel, Friedrich Wilhelm’ (Neue Deutsche Biographie 2007) <www.deutsche-biographie.de/sfz113136.html#ndbcontent> accessed 26 November 2017. 93 ‘Die Erfahrung hat nämlich von 1819 ab gelehrt, daß die Haussuchung, wie sie unter dem Polizeischilde ausgeführt worden sind, ziemlich oft den Charakter eines Einbruchs angenommen haben’. Wigard, vol 3 (n 91) 1577. 94 ‘Weder das alte deutsche, noch das alter römische Recht kannte die Verletzung der Wohnung oder eine solche Haussuchung, – es war dieß dem modernen Polizeistaat vorbehalten, sich auf diese Weise Acten zu fabriciren’. ibid 1577. 95 ‘Diese schimpfliche Immoralität, die in einem gewaltsamen Einbruch in fremdes Eigenthum unter allen Umständen enthalten ist, wurde, soweit sie von Polizeibeamten ausgeführt, ein Privilegium der geheimen Polizei- und der geheimen Inquisitionsgewalt’. ibid 1577. 96 Whitman (n 3) 1167. 97 Huber, Dokumente zur Deutschen Verfassungsgeschichte (n 22) 304. 98 ‘§ 139. Die Todesstrafe, ausgenommen, wo das Kriegsrecht sie vorschreibt, oder das Seerecht im Fall von Meutereien sie zuläßt, so wie die Strafen des Prangers, der Brandmarkung und der körperlichen Züchtigung, sind abgeschafft’. ibid 319. 99 §140. Die Wohnung ist unverletzlich.  Eine Haussuchung ist nur zulässig:  1. in Kraft eines richterlichen, mit Gründen versehenen Befehls, welcher sofort oder innerhalb der nächsten vier und zwanzig Stunden dem Betheiligten zugestellt werden soll,  2. im Falle der Verfolgung auf frischer That, durch den gesetzlich berechtigten Beamten,  3. in den Fällen und Formen, in welchen das Gesetz ausnahmsweise bestimmten Beamten auch ohne richterlichen Befehl dieselbe gestattet.  Die Haussuchung muß, wenn thunlich, mit Zuziehung von Hausgenossen erfolgen.  Die Unverletzlichkeit der Wohnung ist kein Hinderniß der Verhaftung eines gerichtlich Verfolgten. ibid 319. 100 §141. Die Beschlagnahme von Briefen und Papieren darf, außer bei einer Verhaftung oder Haussuchung, nur in Kraft eines richterlichen, mit Gründen versehenen Befehls vorgenommen werden, welcher sofort oder innerhalb der nächsten vier und zwanzig Stunden dem Betheiligten zugestellt werden soll‘.  § 142. Das Briefgeheimniß ist gewährleistet.  Die bei strafgerichtlichen Untersuchungen und in Kriegsfällen nothwendigen  Beschränkungen sind durch die Gesetzgebung festzustellen. ibid 319. 101 Siemann (n 43) 197. 102 ibid 197-99. 103 Bericht und Protokolle des Achten Ausschusses über den Entwurf einer Verfassung des Deutschen Reichs (Carl Heymanns 1920) 171. 104 ‘Die erste ist das, was wir unter dem Namen Menschenrechte verstehen, jene Rechte, die droben hängen bei den ewigen Sternen, die mit uns geborenen Rechte, diese Rechte, die von der Gründung des amerikanischen Freistaats an durch die europäische Geschichte hindurch ihre Rolle gespielt haben und in allen modernen Verfassungen, auch in der französischen, schweizer und belgischen Verfassung wieder aufgetaucht sind’. ibid 177. 105 ‘Diese Rechte beschäftigen sich vornehmlich mit der Frage: Was darf der Staat gegenüber dem einzelnen Bürger nicht tun? – und darum hat Jellinek mit seiner Bemerkung recht, daß diese Gruppe von Grundrechten negativer Natur ist’. ibid 177. Georg Jellinek, born in Austria, was a liberal jurist and was one of the foremost scholars of public law, particularly constitutional and international law, Stolleis (n 20) 440-41. He taught at the University of Heidelberg for most of his career, where he was connected with Max Weber, ibid 441; for a discussion of Jellinek’s scholarship, see ibid 440-44. 106 ‘Man kann sie unter Umständen positiv formulieren, aber in der Sache bleiben sie negative. Diese negative Rechte, die unveräußerlichen Rechte des Ichs gegenüber der Macht des umdrängenden Staates, sind hier vorhanden in den uns vorliegenden Entwürfen […]’. Bericht und Protokolle des Achten Ausschusses (n 103) 177. 107 ibid 177. 108 Whitman (n 3) 1181. 109 ‘Eine zweite Gruppe ist die Gruppe der Bürgerrechte. Diese Gruppe der Bürgerrechte ist positiv’. Bericht und Protokolle des Achten Ausschusses (n 103) 177 (emphasis removed). 110 ‘Während also die erste Gruppe negative ist, in dem Sinne, daß sie sagt: das und das darf nicht berührt werden, ist die zweite Gruppe positive in dem Punkt: der einzelne hat das und das Recht im Staate, wir alle sind der Staat’. ibid 177. 111 ‘Die zweite Gruppe geht auf die Gedankengänge Rousseaus zurück: “der Staat wird gemacht vom Volkswillen.” Der Volkswille ist an sich etwas Mystisches und Ungreifbares, aber er repräsentiert, er materialisiert sich aus den Mehrheiten, die man zählen kann. In diese Mehrheitsbildung hinein gehören nun alle Staatsbürger’. ibid 177. 112 ‘Alle Deutschen sind vor dem Gesetze gleich […]’. ibid 177. 113 Whitman (n 3) 1181-89. © The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/about_us/legal/notices) http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png American Journal of Legal History Oxford University Press

Developing Privacy Rights in Nineteenth-Century Germany: A Choice between Dignity and Liberty?

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0002-9319
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2161-797X
D.O.I.
10.1093/ajlh/njy002
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Abstract

Abstract Legal historian James Whitman has claimed that privacy rights in Germany are fundamentally different from privacy rights in America. According to Whitman, German privacy rights are predicated on dignity and require state intervention to uphold them, while American privacy rights protect the individual against state intervention. This paper argues that the history of rights in Germany, particularly the history of privacy rights, is far more complicated. Constitutional protections for privacy rights emerged in German-speaking Europe in the 1830s, and these privacy rights, especially protections for the home and privacy of correspondence, were conceived of as protecting individual freedom against the state. This notion of privacy rights was also emphasized in the 1848 Frankfurt Constitution. Ultimately, the German conception of privacy rights, rooted in an emphasis on individual liberties against state power, extended even into twentieth-century German constitutional development. In the early decades of the nineteenth century, the conception of human freedom as a force opposed to the state became increasingly important in German-speaking Central Europe. This understanding underpinned the constitutional laws being drafted in that region at that time. In particular, this notion of individual freedom against the state became increasingly important for the protection of privacy rights, which began to emerge in the 1830s, when German constitutional law began developing the doctrine, especially through protections for the home and correspondence. This paper will seek to demonstrate that, in the 1830s, privacy rights were understood to be protections of individual liberty against state intervention. Moreover, this view of privacy rights as individual rights against the state was reaffirmed in the wake of the Revolutions of 1848, which swept across the German-speaking lands of Central Europe (and, indeed, all of Europe).1 This paper will show that, when drafting a catalogue of ‘basic rights’ (Grundrechte) for a nascent German national constitution in Frankfurt in 1848, the constitutional framers conceived of privacy rights to the home and to correspondence as individual protections against state power.2 Legal historian James Whitman has argued against such a proposition, asserting instead that there is a major philosophical divide between continental European and American legal justifications for privacy protections.3 According to Whitman, continental European safeguards for privacy rest on ‘a right to respect and personal dignity’, while American privacy protections emphasise ‘values of liberty, […] especially liberty against the state’.4 He rejects the argument that the concept of dignity gained credence among continental Europeans following World War II as a response to the experiences of Nazism.5 Instead, Whitman contends that the continental European emphasis on dignity, particularly in Germany and France, has been a long-term process of ‘leveling up’ in which ‘Everybody is now supposed to be treated in ways that only highly placed and wealthy people were treated a couple of centuries ago’.6 Ultimately, Whitman asserts, this effort toward leveling up has extended to many areas of the law, including privacy protections.7 However, Whitman’s argument has important drawbacks, largely because he starts his historical analysis in the 1880s.8 As this paper will show, in the first half of the nineteenth century privacy rights were understood in German-speaking Europe to be protections of individual rights against state intrusion. Whitman’s omission in considering this earlier conception of German constitutional rights calls into question his conclusion that German privacy protections can be considered as a part of the levelling-up process. At its core, Whitman’s analysis is based on an older interpretation of German historiography. Of course, simply because a theory is old does not make it false, but following an earlier theory of German history without placing it in conversation with newer historiography is problematic. To frame his overall narrative of German history, Whitman cites Leonard Krieger’s The German Idea of Freedom.9 This citation is an indication that Whitman subscribes to the older Sonderweg (‘special path’) theory of German history, a school to which Krieger belonged.10 As historians of Germany David Blackbourn and Geoff Eley have noted, members of the Sonderweg School typically frame their analysis by asking a variation of the question ‘Why wasn’t Germany England?’ in order to explain why Germany followed a special path (hence, Sonderweg) compared to other Western countries.11 Whitman’s investigation fits this narrative, since he seeks to contrast Anglo-American history with Germany’s special historical path toward fascism. Whitman first states that the German conception of freedom was ‘an idea different from Anglo-American ideas of liberty – an idea focused much more on inward self-realisation, and consequently much more open to the exercise of state power and regulation of the market’.12 He then argues that precisely this deformation of the idea of freedom led Germany toward a fascist state, as ‘This German form of freedom was one that appealed to the Nazis just as it appealed to later makers of the twentieth-century social welfare state’.13 Another hallmark of Sonderweg historiography, also noted by Blackbourn and Eley, is the effort to analyse the ‘peculiar “German mind”’, trying to trace ‘values which evinced or seemed to tend toward […] the abject obedience of the “subject” (Untertan), inwardness, and contempt for supposedly mechanical western values, [which] were variously seen as characteristic German aberrations from enlightened western ways of thinking’.14 Whitman’s argument fits Blackbourn and Eley’s description perfectly, asserting that German ideas of freedom: [W]ere embraced by German jurists of the second half of the nineteenth century, and particularly of the 1880s. This was the period when German public policy began to turn away from [Adam] Smithian laissez-faire ideas, endorsing social insurance, cartelization, and protectionist policies. It was also a period when German philosophers turned strongly toward neo-Kantianism, a philosophical style fascinated with the tension between free will and determinism. It was during the same period that German lawyers began to turn away from seemingly crass Western ideas of personal liberty, endorsing a theory of personality as the true theory of freedom.15 The Sonderweg interpretation has long been called into question, particularly in the wake of Blackbourn and Eley’s highly influential revisionist work The Peculiarities of German History.16 The problem with the Sonderweg thesis, Blackbourn and Eley argue, is that it ‘can easily come to rest on a misleading and idealized picture of historical developments in those countries taken as models’.17 In particular, it may fall prey to painting ‘an idealized picture of what the “western” pattern (of development) actually was, a picture which historians of Britain, the USA, or France themselves would usually regard as quasi-mythical’,18 thereby rendering ideal types such as ‘German’ law versus ‘Western’ law as rooted more in fiction than fact. At certain points, Whitman’s argument about the German idea of freedom falls prey to this type of analysis and fails to capture the true diversity of intellectual conceptions of freedom that existed in Germany. It should be emphasised that Whitman’s thesis is not wholly incorrect; rather, the story is more complicated than his historical narrative indicates. This paper will argue that there were two understandings of rights that existed in Germany in the first half of the nineteenth century. The first emphasised the importance of individual freedom against the state, and this understanding included rights to privacy in the home and in correspondence. I trace the development of the notion of individual freedom in privacy rights from the beginning of the nineteenth century to the Revolutions of 1848, when German leaders attempted to codify these privacy rights while drafting a national constitution in Frankfurt. The second notion of rights, in line with Whitman, did indeed emphasise levelling up in society to move all individuals to the same social rank. German leaders in Frankfurt also discussed this understanding explicitly in 1848, but privacy rights were not included among these levelling-up rights. Thus, there were two notions of rights that existed in Germany simultaneously in the nineteenth century, one that emphasised individual liberty and another that emphasised the power of the state as the mechanism for granting rights predicated on social equality. Only by understanding the duality of this historical development can the arc of German legal history be fully grasped.19 I. The Development of Privacy Rights in German-Speaking Europe In 1815, in the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars, the Congress of Vienna created the German Confederation as the successor to the Holy Roman Empire and the Confederation of the Rhine.20 The German Confederation was an agglomeration of states with German-speaking populations, with Prussia and Austria being the most powerful of these states.21 In the years following, several of the constituent states drafted constitutional documents. This included the Kingdom of Bavaria (which promulgated a constitution on May 26, 1818),22 the Grand Duchy of Baden (which promulgated a constitution on 22 August 1818),23 the Kingdom of Württemberg (which promulgated a constitution on 25 September 1819),24 and the Grand Duchy of Hessen (which promulgated a constitution on 17 December 1820).25 However, none of these constitutions included any key elements of privacy protections, such as safeguards for communications by mail or for an individual’s home. It would take until the 1830s for protections to emerge. According to German legal historian Ernst Rudolf Huber, fundamental rights can be traced back to the eighteenth century: Since the Virginian Declaration of Rights of June 12, 1776, and even more clearly since the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen of 23 August 1789, the constitutional guarantee of fundamental rights of freedom for individuals and associations prevailed over state power as an indispensable element of the constitution in conformity with the idea of law.26 However, the German notions of privacy in the home and in correspondence are probably not directly related to the American or French constitutional traditions. For example, it was not until 1877 that the US Supreme Court found the Fourth Amendment prevented state interference with communications by mail in Ex parte Jackson, while in 1886 the Supreme Court found that the Fourth Amendment protected an individual’s personal documents against unreasonable government search and seizure in Boyd v United States.27 In contrast, constitutional development of privacy rights occurred in Germany in the first half of the nineteenth century. The French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, adopted in 1789, also lacks a provision barring unreasonable search and seizure akin to the American Fourth Amendment, because the declaration lacks any provision that could be construed as protecting the right to privacy, such as legal protections for the home and for personal correspondence.28 As such, the declaration could not serve as the basis for constitutional protections of the home and communications that would develop in Europe in the nineteenth century. Perhaps the most important moment in this historical evolution was the development of a constitutional protection for correspondence, which first appeared in the ‘Constitutional Charter’ (Verfassungsurkunde) for the Electorate of Hesse, adopted on 5 January 1831.29 The Electorate had been under absolutist rule from around 1815-1816, until Prince-Elector Wilhelm II stepped down in 1831, the same year that this new liberal constitution was adopted.30 The protection for the privacy of correspondence was set forth in article III of the Electorate’s constitution, entitled ‘On the General Rights and Duties of Subjects’ (Von den allgemeinen Rechten und Pflichten der Unterthanen), in section 38, which stated that ‘The privacy of correspondence is also to remain intact in the future. The intentional direct or indirect violation of this by the postal administration should be punished in accordance with the criminal law’.31 This constitutional provision in the Electorate’s constitution was framed explicitly in opposition to government intervention, not within a framework of equality or levelling up, as indicated by the specification that the postal administration, rather than private actors, was not to violate this right. Friedrich Murhard, a professor of public law, commented on this constitution in the years following its creation.32 In his discussion of section 38 of the constitution, Murhard asked: Can such a violation not be equally perpetrated by others, also in connection with the abuse of offices? What if the police or other authority take possession of my yet-undelivered letters or detain my messenger, taking my letters from him and forcibly opening them!33 Murhard’s emphasis on the police and other government authorities indicates that his chief concern was with state officials gaining accessing to his letters. While Murhard had not drafted the Electorate’s constitution, his queries indicate that at least some scholars in Germany conceived of privacy protections, such as section 38, as providing safeguards for individual privacy against state intervention, not as part of an effort to enhance equality. The constitution for the Electorate of Hessen also included a section discussing searches of the home: section 117.34 However, this was not included in the constitution’s article on rights, but was instead set forth in its article IX, entitled ‘On the Administration of Justice’ (Von der Rechtspflege).35 Section 117 declared ‘Property searches occur only upon the order of the court or local authority responsible in legally determined cases and forms’.36 Despite the fact that the constitution did not define this as a right, Friedrich Murhard still treated this as a protection of liberty against state intervention. Murhard argued that section 117 applies to the police: ‘According to the clear instruction of this paragraph, it would, for example, completely violate the constitution if a police officer wanted to enter the premises of a literary society and to confiscate a newspaper from one of its members, without the knowledge or volition of that member or at least of the society’s leadership representatives’.37 In addition, Murhard asserted that section 117 also extended to government officials other than the police. For example, he said that the provision would apply to tax collectors: With the explicit stipulation of § 117 of the Constitutional Charter it would, furthermore, be equally contradictory if the tax office issued a search warrant to, for example, uncover customs fraud and contraband. For issuing search warrants is made dependent, through the constitution, upon competent courts or local authorities in such cases too, so that these public authorities also have to examine the case in question.38 Murhard’s assertion that it would be nonsensical for the tax authority to grant itself a search order governing a tax investigation indicates that the protection of the home in the constitution was rooted in a mistrust of government power. That is, there was a belief that government agencies, such as tax authorities, could not be trusted to self-police when they assessed whether or not a home should be searched, and thus the constitution put legal controls on these authorities. Once again, this indicates the constitution for the Electorate of Hessen set forth a liberty interest, that of individuals over their property, rather than a levelling-up interest. The provisions in the constitution for the Electorate of Hessen failed to catch on in any other German principalities. The Kingdom of Saxony, which adopted a new constitution on 4 September 1831, did not include constitutional protections for either the privacy of communications or the protection of the home against meritless government searches.39 Nevertheless, privacy rights continued to be discussed. Carl Welcker, in an 1846 entry in his Staats-Lexikon entitled ‘Seizure’ (Beschlagnahme), emphasised the need for greater protections for the privacy of correspondence and the privacy of personal documents.40 Legal historian Michael Stolleis has described the Staats-Lexikon as ‘the public address system of the liberal citizenry […]’.41 In his entry, Welcker wrote: […] looking upon history and human nature, one will also recognise that forcibly opening correspondence and seizures are not only immoral and unlawful, but themselves counteract their own purpose, that they are at the same time dangerous, inconsequential, inefficient and unnecessary.42 Thus, despite the fact that constitutional protections for privacy rights were still quite limited in many parts of German-speaking Europe, interest among liberal reformers in creating protections for privacy continued into the 1840s. II. Explaining a New Understanding of Privacy By 1848, the political order established over three decades earlier by the Congress of Vienna was in crisis.43 Many people across Europe called for greater political involvement, nationalism became ascendant as a political movement, the European economy was moving toward industrialisation, causing major discontent among those left behind, and food shortages starting in 1845 raised the cost of basic foodstuffs in the years following.44 Revolution broke out in France in late February 1848, and the revolution quickly swept across the German-speaking lands of Europe throughout March and April of 1848.45 In March 1848 the Bundestag (‘Federal Diet’), a standing assembly of emissaries from the 38 German territories, sought to channel the movement toward the creation of a national constitution.46 To do so, the Bundestag selected a ‘Committee of Seventeen’ to create a constitutional document.47 The committee’s constitutional recommendations were submitted on 26 April 1848.48 These suggestions included a list of ‘Basic Rights of the German People’ (Grundrechte des deutschen Volkes) in article IV, section 25.49 Among these rights was the creation of protections for the ‘[i]nviolability of the privacy of correspondence according to the legal standardisation of constraints necessary in criminal investigations and in cases of war […]’.50 There was also a recommendation to protect the home against government searches by the enactment of ‘protections of the person against arbitrary imprisonment and house searches through a habeas-corpus act […]’.51 The inclusion of these rights in the Committee of Seventeen’s recommended list of basic rights was a major step, considering that the Electorate of Hessen was the only German-speaking state that had included protections for communications and the home in its constitution. But this was only the initial stage of a national discussion; the understanding of these rights would continue to deepen and evolve as the year 1848 wore on. Contemporaneously with the work of the Committee of Seventeen, elections were held across the German lands after the passage of two federal decrees, the first on 30 March 1848 and the second on 7 April 1848, to select representatives who would serve in the National Assembly that would convene in Frankfurt.52 The National Assembly held its first gathering on 18 May 1848.53 A week later, on 24 May 1848, the members of the National Assembly selected a group of representatives for the ‘Constitutional Committee’ (Verfassungsausschuss), who were given the task of drafting the basic rights to be included in the constitution.54 A record of the Constitutional Committee’s 1848 discussions was created by Johann Gustav Droysen,55 who had also been a member of the Committee of Seventeen.56 In addition to being a politician, Droysen was a professor from Kiel, and he represented Holstein in the far north of Germany.57 Unfortunately, Droysen did not offer a word-for-word stenographic transcript of the Constitutional Committee’s meetings, but instead summarised the main points of each committee member’s arguments on specific clauses of the constitutional draft.58 Nevertheless, Droysen’s account is still valuable. As Droysen’s writings indicate, over the course of the Constitutional Committee’s discussions, it became clear that there were two different conceptions of how particular rights would be framed. One understanding of rights sought to protect the individual against state power—this included the right to privacy of communications. As Droysen observed: In the discussion of the freedom of the press (§. 4.), of the privacy of correspondence (§. 5.), of the right to emigration (§. 7.), of a habeas-corpus act (§. 8.), (and) of the right of assembly (§. 11.) opposing demands were repeated with increasing fierceness between those who believed in the greatest individual freedom as establishing the best state, and those who saw individual freedom as tempered by the steadfast stability and order of the whole.59 The argument over the rights listed above did not focus on whether the state should be used as a mechanism to level up farmers, workers, and merchants in order to bring them on par with nobility. Instead, the Constitutional Committee members argued over whether or not individual freedoms should be constrained in order to ensure that the state could effectively guarantee societal safety. Yet a second, alternate conception of rights also emerged during the discussions of the 1848 constitutional committee. This notion favoured the use of rights and the state as a means of encouraging fundamental equality, more in line with Whitman’s argument about levelling up, which took hold later. It was often clear when this second conception of rights was being used in committee deliberations. For example, during their meetings, members of the Constitutional Committee debated whether the guarantee of legal equality had merit, discussing a proposed constitutional clause that favored ‘[e]quality before the law, in particular relating to jurisdiction, to the fitness to hold public office, to military conscription, to public levies, and to political or private privileges of individual estates’.60 Heinrich Simon, a civil servant of municipal court (Stadtgerichts-Assesor) from Breslau and representative of Magdeburg,61 criticised the notion of equality before the law by arguing that it would be used to erase differences between the nobility and other members of society. As reporter Droysen noted, ‘Simon asserted that [this clause] results principally in the abolition of the privileges of jurisdiction for the nobility and officials, for example in Prussia; it is in no manner beneficial or necessary, it must be thoroughly suppressed’.62 Although Simon was arguing against equality before the law, it is clear that his assertions were rooted in a fear that granting such a right would allow ordinary people to make use of the law and the state, giving them access to the same legal treatment as nobles and privileged members of society. Thus, two understandings of rights existed simultaneously during the drafting discussions of the constitutional committee in 1848: one that sought to guarantee the rights of the individual against state interference with their personal liberty (including the right to private correspondence) and another that sought to draw upon the power of the state to provide legal equality to all people in order to eliminate aristocratic social status. On 3 July 1848, over two months after the Constitutional Committee had been selected, the committee submitted its draft to the Frankfurt National Assembly.63 Among the enumerated rights were new protections for the individual’s home and for the privacy of correspondence, both set forth in Article II of the Basic Rights draft.64 Article II, section 8 discussed limitations on intervention in the home: The dwelling is inviolable. A house search may only be carried out under court order. This order must be shown to the parties concerned immediately or within 24 hours at the latest. There are no special restrictions on arrests made in a dwelling.65 This was followed by article II, section 9, which set forth protections for communications privacy: The privacy of correspondence is guaranteed; restrictions necessary for criminal investigation and in the event of war are to be determined through legislation. The confiscation of letters and papers may only be carried out under court order.66 The inclusion of these rights in the Constitutional Committee’s recommended list was another important step in the evolution of German privacy rights. Unfortunately, due to the paucity of discussion over these rights in Droysen’s account of the committee’s meetings, there is little information on exactly how the committee settled on their final formulation of these privacy rights. While it does not appear that the constitution for the Electorate of Hessen, which had included privacy rights, was discussed by the Constitutional Committee, the committee did discuss the 1831 Belgian constitution during its gatherings.67 The proposition that the Constitutional Committee drew from the Belgian constitution in formulating privacy rights seems all the more likely in light of the fact that in spring 1848 the Austrians had consulted the Belgian constitution of 1831 because, as historian Wolfram Siemann has noted, the Belgian document ‘epitomized the modern constitutionalism at the time’.68 Moreover, the 1848 constitutional committee could have found German-language translations of the 1831 Belgian constitution, which would have made this task even easier. A German-language version of the Belgian constitution had existed since at least the early 1830s,69 and 1848 gave the impetus for renewed translation of that constitution, as well as others.70 The Belgian constitution included specific protections for the right to privacy. Article 10 of the constitution set forth a right to privacy in the home stating that ‘The dwelling is inviolable; a house search can only occur in those cases prescribed by law and in the prescribed form’.71 It should be noted that the German-language translation of the 1831 Belgian constitution and the 1848 German Constitutional Committee’s recommendation for protecting privacy in the home both opened with the same exact German phrase (Die Wohnung ist unverletzlich), indicating that the committee may have been drawing on the text of the Belgian constitution.72 In addition, in article 22, the Belgian constitution set forth a safeguard for privacy in communications, ‘The privacy of correspondence is inviolable. The law specifies the officials who are responsible for violating the secrecy of letters entrusted to the postal service’.73 Unlike privacy rights in the home, there does not appear to be a direct textual relationship between the German-language translation of the 1831 Belgian constitution and the 1848 German Constitutional Committee’s discussion of the privacy of communications. Nevertheless, it is important that both rights to the privacy of the home and of correspondence were included in the Belgian constitution, and if the German Constitutional Committee did indeed draw upon the Belgian rights when putting together a draft of basic rights in 1848, this further calls into question the notion that there is an easily identifiable ‘German’ idea of the right to privacy. It also appears that, in their final recommendation on basic rights, the 1848 Constitutional Committee continued to consider privacy rights in the home (article II, section 8) and in communications (article II, section 9) as protections for the individual against state interference. This is supported by the Constitutional Committee’s elucidation of its ‘Motives’ for making these recommendations.74 The committee members combined their discussion of privacy rights in the home in section 8 with other recommendations for protecting individual freedoms, particularly against arbitrary arrest, set forth in section 7 of the committee’s draft of basic rights.75 With regard to arrests, the committee noted: [T]hat the provision for a court-ordered arrest warrant to be submitted within 24 hours (§ 7) allows for the dutiful maintenance of public safety in urgent instances without granting undue influence to the police force. Because if the arrest warrant is not obtained from the judge after the fact, the legal accountability of the arresting agency comes into effect. – The restrictions on house searches were understood in the same sense (§ 8).76 This statement indicates that the Constitutional Committee was concerned that the police might arbitrarily arrest and search individuals and their homes. Thus, the right to privacy in the home was viewed by the committee as an individual right against capricious government intervention into private lives. As a result, the committee sought to temper this possibility by codifying rights that would require judicial oversight for most arrests and searches. Some of the further comments that the Constitutional Committee made with regard to their motives for creating section 8 did indicate a willingness to undermine the substance of these rights. As the committee stated, ‘Admittedly, though, there were no illusions that authorising the police force directly to search suspicious houses was to be desired’.77 But this merely indicates that the committee members believed that in certain exigent circumstances a balance would need to be struck between individual liberty and societal security. Moreover, immediately after making this statement in their ‘Motives’, the committee continued and reaffirmed the importance of limiting government intervention into an individual’s private life, declaring that ‘It was thought, however, that the seizure of letters and papers could be made dependent on the prior issuance of a court order without exception’.78 Once again, the Constitutional Committee indicated that privacy rights were thought of as protecting the individual against state interference, even if some exceptions could be made to this general rule in emergency circumstances. In contrast to its position on personal privacy rights, the 1848 Constitutional Committee expressed a different concept of equal rights elsewhere in their recommendation on basic rights. This additional understanding of rights assumed that state power was necessary for the destruction of social disparities, and it is more in line with Whitman’s argument regarding rights. An example of this notion of fundamental rights based on equality was set forth in article II, section 6, which stated: All Germans are equal before the law. There will be no privileges of estate. Public offices are equally accessible to all suitably able. Military conscription is equal for all.79 Section 6 set out to abolish the feudal estates and to instead establish a constitutional order that would grant all members of German society legal equality and access to all public offices. Section 6 aims toward a levelling up of all members of society. Indeed, this section creates, in the words of Whitman, the expectation that ‘[e]verybody is now supposed to be treated in ways that only highly placed and wealthy people were treated a couple of centuries ago’.80 This is further supported by the Constitutional Committee’s discussion of its motives for making this suggestion in section 6.81 The committee declared: The general idea of the modern state, which, in contrast to the legal situation of the Middle Ages, wants to grant freedom instead of liberties, the law instead of rights, was placed at the head of § 6. – The momentous provision that there will be no estate privileges follows in the second paragraph, that is to say an estate as such has neither in public nor private law claim to privileges.82 It is noteworthy that the committee emphasised that the modern state was the tool for the realisation of individual liberties and a legal order. In particular, it appears that the justification for such state power was the belief that the state was necessary to deprive the noble estates of their legal privileges so as to build a new social order. III. Privacy Rights Reach the National Assembly As 1848 wore on, privacy rights were viewed with increasing seriousness. Whenever the right to privacy of correspondence and the right against unwarranted searches of the home were discussed in the Frankfurt National Assembly, the assembly’s members always framed these privacy rights as personal freedoms, upholding the right of the individual against state interference. For instance, Representative Friedrich Martiny83 delivered an ardent defense of individual rights before the National Assembly on 21 July 1848.84 Martiny proclaimed loftily in his oration: It concerns, gentlemen, the security of the person, the right to assembly and association, the freedom of the press, the privacy of correspondence. Gentlemen! Should I prove to you that all these rights must be guaranteed to men and the German people? You will reply to me it is not necessary. Human beings are born with these rights. Or should I prove to you that it is essential not to curtail these rights for the German people?85 As his speech makes clear, Martiny believed that the right to privacy, the right to assemble, freedom of the press, and privacy of communications were natural rights that all people were born with. Furthermore, his emphasis that these rights could only be curtailed rather than expanded, indicates that these natural rights could only be infringed upon (for example, by the government) meaning no institution could ever play a role in enlarging these rights. Similarly, several months later, on 21 December 1848, Emil Adolf Roßmäßler, a member of the National Assembly from the Saxon city of Pirna vociferously stressed the importance of the right to privacy in communications.86 Roßmäßler set forth a lengthy demand of the Imperial Minister of the Interior.87 He began with a defence of basic rights in general: Considering that the Basic Rights for the German people, determined for once and all, constitute the only guarantee of a stable legal situation, and that therefore every substantial violation of these will undermine the last remainder of trust, upon which the central government constantly relies […].88 Roßmäßler’s denunciation of the central government’s attempts to undermine basic rights indicates that he believed these rights were created to protect people from government encroachment into individual lives. Roßmäßler continued, emphasising that privacy of communications was one of these individual rights and complaining that it was not being fully respected, ‘Considering that, regardless of the present matter, the inviolability of the privacy of correspondence belongs to the delicate rights of the people, that very right has been violated in, at times, a brash and blatant manner upon the letters that members of this house send and receive […]’.89 He then inquired, ‘I ask the Imperial Minister of the Interior – in reference to previous violations of the privacy of correspondence […] What he is prepared to do, in order to prosecute such violations […]’?90 As Roßmäßler’s speech makes clear, privacy rights, including the right to privacy of correspondence, in spite of their recent vintage, were gaining importance among German politicians in the Frankfurt National Assembly. And similar to Friedrich Martiny, Roßmäßler also considered these rights to be constraints placed upon the government rather than rights that the government would create. There was more debate in the assembly over drafting the right to inviolability of the home than over the right to private correspondence. Yet the right to privacy in the home was also seen as based upon individual liberties that guaranteed protection from state power. On 17 August 1848,91 Representative Friedrich Wilhelm Schlöffel introduced an amendment that would have altered some of the constitutional text about unauthorised searches of the home.92 Schlöffel sharply denounced contemporary search practices by the police, declaring that ‘Experience has, as a matter of fact, taught from 1819 onwards that house searches, when carried out under the shield of the police, have quite often assumed the character of a burglary’.93 He continued by explaining that this trouble with police excess was a particularly modern problem, stating ‘Neither the old German law nor the old Roman law spoke to the infringement of the dwelling or such a house search, – it is a particularity of the modern police state alone to falsify its records in this manner’.94 As a result of the ‘police state’ described by Schlöffel, he proclaimed that ‘This shameful immorality, which is involved in a forcible burglary of foreign property regardless of the circumstances, became, insofar as it was carried out by police officers, a privilege of the secret police and of the secret Inquisition powers’.95 For Schlöffel, searches of the home were caused by the excesses of government power, emanating from the police in particular, which led to aggressive and overly zealous searches of a person’s home. Schlöffel’s analysis of home searches by police clearly indicates that he understood the right against unwarranted searches of the home (and thus privacy in the home) to be rooted in the need to protect the individual against arbitrary government actions. Once again, this is contrary to Whitman’s argument that Europeans conceived of the right to privacy as requiring state intervention to guarantee its protection.96 Ultimately, the final version of the basic rights was set forth in the Frankfurt National Assembly’s completed constitution, which was promulgated on 28 March 1849, over eight months after the Constitutional Committee had first issued its proposal.97 The constitution split up article II of the Constitutional Committee’s recommendations, placing the abolition of estate privileges and equal protection under the law in article II, and placing individual rights in article III. Privacy rights were placed in article III, following a provision abolishing the death penalty in many cases and many forms of cruel and unusual punishment.98 Section 140 dealt with government searches of the home: § 140. The dwelling is inviolable. A house search is only permissible: 1. on the strength of a court order indicating the grounds, which ought to be delivered to the parties involved immediately or within the next twenty-four hours, 2. in pursuit of someone caught during the commission of a criminal act, by a legally authorised official, 3. in the cases and manners, for which the law permits certain officials to do so in exceptional cases without a court order. Whenever possible, the house search must take place in the presence of the inhabitants. The inviolability of the dwelling is no barrier to the arrest of a person facing prosecution by the court.99 Sections 141 and 142 dealt with the confiscation of letters and the privacy of communications: § 141. The confiscation of letters and papers may only be carried out, except during an arrest or house search, on the strength of a court order indicating grounds, which should be delivered to the parties involved immediately or within the next twenty-four hours. § 142. The secrecy of communications is guaranteed. The necessary limits in case of criminal investigation or war are to be determined by legislation.100 However, the hope for a new political order based upon the Frankfurt constitution was short-lived. On the same day that the constitution was finalised, 28 March 1849, representatives at the Frankfurt National Assembly selected Prussian king Friedrich Wilhelm IV to be the head of their new constitutional state.101 At first, Friedrich Wilhelm did not explicitly turn down the offer, but his response was quite cool. By 28 April 1849, he decided to give a final answer—he rebuffed the National Assembly.102 With this, the moment for a national constitution would come to an end. Yet this would not be the end of the rights to privacy that had been developed in the Frankfurt constitution over the course of 1848 and 1849. IV. Epilogue While one might expect that the failure of the Revolution of 1848 would have also led to the demise of privacy rights emphasising individual liberty against government encroachment, this was not the case. This conception of privacy rights took on particular importance on 31 March 1919 in the German city of Weimar, where a committee was drafting what would ultimately become the Weimar Constitution.103 One of the representatives, Friedrich Naumann, discussed the history of the development of rights, declaring: The first is that, which we recognize under the name the human rights, those rights that hang aloft with the eternal stars, the rights we are born with, these rights that played their role from the foundation of the American republic on through European history and in all modern constitutions, also reappeared in the French, Swiss and Belgian constitution.104 Naumann believed that these rights were meant to prevent government infringement on personal freedoms: ‘These rights deal primarily with the question: what may the state not do with regard to the individual citizen? – and for that reason [Georg] Jellinek is correct in his remark that this group of basic rights is of a negative nature’.105 Naumann elaborated on this point, stating that ‘[o]ne can formulate them positively in some instances, but at their core they remain negative. These negative rights, the inalienable right of the subject’s own self against the power of the beleaguering state, are present in the drafts made available to us […]’.106 He then went on to discuss the specific rights that fell within the rights of man, including two key privacy rights, that ‘[t]he dwelling is inviolable’ (Die Wohnung ist unverletzlich) and ‘[t]he secrecy of correspondence is inviolable’ (Das Postgeheimnis ist unverletzlich).107 Naumann was overly broad in his discussion regarding the history of human rights—as demonstrated above, privacy protections for the home and for correspondence did not develop until the first half of the nineteenth century, long after other rights had been elucidated, both in German-speaking Europe and elsewhere. However, Naumann’s assertion that these human rights were rights of negative liberty that placed the individual’s freedom first, in opposition to government interests and interventions, is quite important. His statement indicates that a notion of negative liberty continued to live on in Germany after 1848 and 1849, at least into the early twentieth century. As such, it also calls into question Whitman’s argument that the German idea of freedom was predicated upon a belief that the state intervene in individuals’ lives in order to help them achieve self-fulfilment.108 However, Whitman’s analysis retains a measure of serviceability. While it is questionable to apply his levelling-up theory to privacy rights, this is not the case for all rights set forth in the German constitutions. Indeed, as Naumann continued in his discussion of rights, he stated: ‘A second group [of rights] is the group of citizens’ rights. This group of citizens’ rights is positive’.109 Naumann expanded on this notion, explaining: ‘While the first group is negative, in the sense that it says: such and such may not be encroached upon, the second group is positive in this sense: the individual has such and such rights in the state, we all are the state’.110 The power of the state could be used to realise these rights, because all of the citizens who made up the state were empowered politically to decide upon what these rights should be, as Naumann observed: This second group draws upon the thought process of Rousseau: ‘the state is made from the will of the people’. In itself, the will of the people is something mystical and intangible, but it represents itself, it materialises itself from out of the majority that one can count. All citizens of the state now belong integrated into this burgeoning majority.111 This notion of rights accorded equality to all members of the state, because they were entitled to participate by virtue of their citizenship, regardless of social or economic standing. That is why, according to Naumann, one of these positive citizens’ rights was the assertion that ‘[a]ll Germans are equal before the law […]’.112 The right of equality before the law allowed the state to intervene in order to level out the echelons of German society, wholly in line with Whitman’s thesis. By tracing early iterations of the right to privacy, particularly in the home and in correspondence, this essay has sought to bring nuance to Whitman’s argument, demonstrating that two understandings of freedom existed alongside one another in Germany. It is the continuous opposition between these two notions of liberty, both negative and positive, that makes German legal history so complex. Much more can be said on the development of other types of rights that occurred throughout the German Confederation from the beginning of the nineteenth century to the Revolution of 1848. Perhaps most interesting would be the search for a discussion of negative liberty in the context of the German Empire, from 1871 to 1918, in which Whitman finds a paucity of examples.113 Yet, as Naumann’s statements make clear, the concept of negative liberty survived in Germany, and played an important role in the 1919 Weimar Constitution’s list of rights. In analyzing the long course of modern German legal history, this essay is only a starting point, but hopefully a fruitful one. He would like to thank Adriaan Lanni, Tamar Herzog and Constantin Fasolt for their helpful comments on earlier versions of this paper. Footnotes 1 For a good historical investigation of the continent-wide revolutions that engulfed Europe in 1848, see Jonathan Sperber, The European Revolutions, 1848-1851 (2nd edn, CUP 2005). 2 The thesis set forth here contrasts with the argument made by historian Herbert Arthur Strauss, who asserted that in 1848-49 those in the Frankfurt National Assembly saw the state as the force that would propel the realisation of individual freedom and guarantee the protection of this individual liberty. Herbert Arthur Strauss, Staat, Bürger, Mensch: Die Debatten der deutschen Nationalversammlung 1848/1849 über die Grundrechte (HR Sauerländer 1947) 115. 3 James Q Whitman, ‘The Two Western Cultures of Privacy: Dignity versus Liberty’, (2004) 113 Yale LJ 1151, 1161. 4 ibid 1161 (emphasis in original). 5 ibid 1165; for example, Whitman cites Robert Kagan, Of Paradise and Power: America and Europe in the New World Order (Alfred A Knopf 2003). 6 Whitman (n 3) 1166 (emphasis in original). 7 ibid 1167. Legal historian Jörg-Detlef Kühne has made an argument somewhat similar to that made by Whitman. According to Kühne, the 1848-49 Frankfurt Constitution was the high-water mark of strong protections for the individual, which included bodily protections as well as protections for the most intimate areas of an individual’s private life, especially the home and private documents. Jörg-Detlef Kühne, Die Reichsverfassung der Paulskirche: Vorbild und Verwirklichung im späteren deutschen Rechtsleben (Alfred Metzner 1985) 346. Kühne asserts that these stalwart protections did not find their way into the 1919 Weimar Constitution or the 1949 Basic Law, which provided for significant bodily protections but allowed for greater incursion into both the home and correspondences, ibid 346. However, unlike Whitman’s assertion that a levelling-up process can explain this legal development, Kühne fails to explicate the mechanism driving such a demise of privacy protections. As a result, this article will focus on the theory proposed by Whitman. 8 Whitman (n 3) 1182. 9 ibid 1181; Leonard Krieger, The German Idea of Freedom: History of a Political Tradition (University of Chicago Press 1957). 10 David Blackbourn and Geoff Eley, The Peculiarities of German History: Bourgeois Society and Politics in Nineteenth-Century Germany (OUP 1984) 293. 11 ibid 7; Blackbourn and Eley cite to Ralf Dahrendorf as a historian who asks such a question. Ralf Dahrendorf, Society and Democracy in Germany (WW Norton 1979). 12 Whitman (n 3) 1182. 13 ibid 1187. 14 Blackbourn and Eley (n 10) 5. 15 Whitman (n 3) 1182. 16 Helmut Walser Smith, ‘When the Sonderweg Debate Left Us’, (2008) 31 German Studies Rev 225, 229. 17 Blackbourn and Eley (n 10) 10. 18 ibid 10. 19 This analysis is inspired by Konrad Jarausch and Michael Geyer’s assessment of German history in the twentieth century, according to which ‘There is no single master narrative to be told, no Weltgeist to be discovered, no national character to be indicted, or, at long last, absolved’. Konrad H Jarausch and Michael Geyer, Shattered Past: Reconstructing German Histories (Princeton UP 2003) x. 20 Michael Stolleis, Public Law in Germany, 1800-1914 (Pamela Biel tr, Berghahn Books 2001) 41-42. 21 ibid 42. 22 Ernst Rudolf Huber (ed), Dokumente zur Deutschen Verfassungsgeschichte: Deutsche Verfassungsdokumente 1803-1850, vol 1 (W Kohlhammer 1961) 141-56. 23 ibid 156-70. 24 ibid 170-200. 25 ‘Verfassungsurkunde für das Großherzogtum Hessen 17. Dezember 1820’, (Lehrstuhl für Rechtsphilosophie, Staats- und Verwaltungsrecht Prof Dr. Horst Dreier) <www.jura.uni-wuerzburg.de/lehrstuehle/dreier/verfassungsdokumente-von-der-magna-carta-bis-ins-20-jahrhundert/verfassung-des-grossherzogtums-hessen-17-dez-1820/> accessed 26 November 2017. 26 ‘Seit der virginischen Declaration of Rights vom 12. Juni 1776, eindeutiger noch seit der französischen Déclaration des droits de l’homme et du citoyen vom 23. August 1789 gilt die staatsrechtliche Verbürgung der fundamentalen Freiheitsrechte der Einzelnen und der Gemeinschaften gegenüber der Staatsgewalt als ein unentbehrlicher Bestandteil einer der Rechtsidee gemäßen Verfassung’. Ernst Rudolf Huber, Deutsche Verfassungsgeschichte seit 1789: Der Kampf um Einheit und Freiheit 1830 bis 1850, vol 2 (W Kohlhammer 1960) 774. All translations, except where otherwise noted, are my own. 27 Ex parte Jackson 96 US 727, 733 (1877); Boyd v United States 116 US 616, 640-41 (1886). 28 ‘Declaration of the Rights of Man - 1789’, (The Avalon Project 2008) <http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/rightsof.asp> accessed 26 November 2017. 29 Huber, Dokumente zur Deutschen Verfassungsgeschichte (n 22) 201. As stated above, this took place over forty years before the US Supreme Court decision in Ex parte Jackson (n 27) 727. 30 Stolleis (n 20) 171. 31 ‘Das Briefgeheimniß ist auch künftig unverletzt zu halten. Die absichtliche unmittelbare oder mittelbare Verletzung desselben bei der Postverwaltung soll peinlich bestraft werden’. Huber, Dokumente zur Deutschen Verfassungsgeschichte (n 22) 205. 32 Stolleis (n 20) 172. 33 ‘Kann dieses Vergehen nicht ebensowohl von Andern, auch verbunden mit Mißbrauch der Amtsgewalt, begangen werden? Wie wenn nun die Polizei oder eine andere Behörde sich meiner noch nicht abgegebenen Briefe bemächtigt oder meinen Boten anhält, meine Schreiben ihm abnimmt und sie erbricht!’ Friedrich Murhard, Grundlage des jetzigen Staatsrechts des Kurfürstenthums Hessen: Dargestellt nach Maßgabe der einzelnen Paragraphen der Verfassungs-Urkunde vom 5. Januar 1831, vol 1 (JJ Bohne 1834) 375. 34 Huber, Dokumente zur Deutschen Verfassungsgeschichte (n 22) 218. 35 ibid 217. 36 ‘Die Haussuchung findet nur auf Verfügung des zuständigen Gerichtes oder der Orts-Obrigkeit in den gesetzlich bestimmten Fällen und Formen statt’. ibid 218. 37 ‘Nach der klaren Vorschrift dieses §. würde es z. B. schnurstracks gegen die Verfassung stoßen, wenn ein Polizeibeamter in das Lokal eines Leseinstituts treten und dort ein den Mitgliedern desselben zugehöriges Zeitungsblatt, ohne Wissen und Willen derselben oder wenigstens der die Gesellschaft repräsentierenden Direktion wegnehmen wollte’. Friedrich Murhard, Grundlage des jetzigen Staatsrechts des Kurfürstenthums Hessen: Dargestellt nach Maßgabe der einzelnen Paragraphen der Verfassungs-Urkunde vom 5. Januar 1831, vol 2 (JJ Bohne 1835) 497-98. 38 ‘Mit der ausdrücklichen Bestimmung des § 117. der Verf. Urk. würde es ferner eben so im Widerspruch seyn, wenn von einer Steuerbehörde die Verfügung zu einer Haussuchung, z. B. Behufs der Entdeckung von Zolldefraudation und Kontrebande ertheilt würde. Denn die Verfügung der Haussuchung ist auch in solchen Fällen durch die Verfassung vom kompeteten Gerichte oder der Ortsobrigkeit abhängig gemacht, so daß also auch diese Behörden den vorkommenden Fall zu prüfen haben’. ibid 498. 39 Huber, Dokumente zur Deutschen Verfassungsgeschichte (n 22) 223-47. 40 C Welcker, ‘Beschlagnahme’ in Carl von Rotteck and Carl Welcker (eds), Das Staats-Lexikon: Encyklopädie der sämmtlichen Staatswissenschaften für alle Stände, vol 2 (Johann Friedrich Hammerich 1846) 364-81. 41 Stolleis (n 20) 118. 42 ‘[W]ird man mit dem Blick auf die Geschichte und die Menschennatur es auch einsehen, daß jene Brieferbrechungen und Beschlagnahmen nicht blos unmoralisch und rechtswidrig sind, sondern selbst ihrem eignen Zweck entgegenwirken, daß sie zugleich gefährlich, inconsequent, wirkungslos und unnötig sind’. Welcker, 374. 43 Wolfram Siemann, The German Revolution of 1848-49 (Christiane Banerji tr, St Martin’s Press 1998) 45. 44 ibid 46. 45 ibid 55-71. 46 ibid 77-78. 47 ibid 78. 48 Huber, Dokumente zur Deutschen Verfassungsgeschichte (n 22) 284. 49 ibid 289. 50 ‘Unverbrüchlichkeit des Briefgeheimnisses unter gesetzlicher Normirung (sic) der bei Criminal-Untersuchung und in Kriegsfällen notwendigen Beschränkungen […]’. ibid 290. 51 ‘Sicherstellung der Person gegen willkürliche Verhaftung und Haussuchung durch eine Habeas-Corpus-Acte […]’. ibid 290. 52 Huber, Deutsche Verfassungsgeschichte (n 26) 606; Siemann (n 43) 80. 53 Huber, Deutsche Verfassungsgeschichte (n 26) 610. 54 Siemann (n 43) 131. 55 Johann Gustav Droysen, Die Verhandlung des Verfassungs-Ausschuss der deutschen Nationalversammlung, vol 1 (Weidmann’sche Buchhandlung 1849). 56 Siemann (n 43) 78. 57 Droysen (n 55) 362. 58 According to Droysen: ‘These records were in fact not read aloud and approved as a formal transcript, but they sufficed to give a decent representation of the hearings; and the desire was expressed earlier to publish the same, a desire that was repeated explicitly by the committee members in the final session, which can also count as authorisation of it occurring now’. In the original German: ‘Diese Aufzeichnungen wurden zwar nicht wie förmliche Protocolle verlesen und genehmigt, aber sie galten dafür, ein leidliches Abbild der Verhandlung zu geben; und schon früher wurde der Wunsch ausgesprochen, dieselben zu veröffentlichen, ein Wunsch, der von den Ausschußmitgliedern in der letzten Sitzung ausdrücklich wiederholt, zugleich als Autorisation dafür gelten darf, daß es jetzt geschieht’. ibid v. 59 ‘Bei den Besprechung über die Preßfreiheit (§. 4.), über das Briefgeheimniß (§. 5.), über das Auswanderungsrecht (§. 7.), über eine Habeas-Corpus-Acte (§. 8.), über das Versammlungsrecht (§. 11.) wiederholte sich mit steigender Schärfe der Gegensatz der Forderungen derer, welche aus der größten Freiheit der Einzelnen den besten Staat zu schaffen gemeint waren, und derer, welche in der Besicherten Festigkeit und Ordnung des Ganzen auch die Freiheit des Einzelnen bedingt sahen’. ibid 21. 60 ‘Gleichheit vor dem Gesetz; namentlich in Bezug auf Gerichtsstand, auf Amtsfähigkeit, auf Wehrpflicht, auf öffentliche Abgaben, und auf politische oder private Vorrechte einzelner Stände’. ibid 34. 61 ibid 361. 62 ‘Simon macht geltend, daß es am meisten auf Aufhebung des privilegierten Gerichtsstandes für Adel und Beamte, z B in Preußen, ankomme; es sei das in keiner Weise heilsam oder nothwendig, es müsse durchaus abgestellt werden’. ibid 35. 63 Franz Wigard (ed), Stenographischer Bericht über die Verhandlung der deutschen constituirenden Nationalversammlung zu Frankfurt am Main, vol 1 (Breitkopf und Härtel und BG Teubner 1848) 681. 64 ibid 682-83. 65 ‘Die Wohnung ist unverletzlich. Eine Haussuchung darf nur auf Grund eines richterlichen Befehls vorgenommen werden. Dieser Befehl muß sofort oder spätestens innerhalb der nächsten 24 Stunden dem Betheiligten vorgewiesen werden. Für die Verhaftung in einer Wohnung finden keine besonderen Beschränkungen statt’. ibid 683. 66 ‘Das Briefgeheimniß ist gewährleistet; die bei strafgerichtlichen Untersuchung und in Kriegsfällen nothwendigen Beschränkungen sind durch die Gesetzgebung festzustellen.Die Beschlagnahme von Briefen und Papieren darf nur auf Grund eines richterlichen Befehls vorgenommen werden’. ibid 683. 67 Droysen (n 55) 8, 11, 38. 68 Siemann (n 43) 83. 69 Karl Heinrich Ludwig Pölitz, Die europäischen Verfassungen seit dem Jahre 1789 bis auf die neueste Zeit: Mit geschichtlichen Erläuterungen und Einleitungen von dem geheimen Rathe, vol 2 (2nd edn, FA Brockhaus 1833) 229-49. I will use this translation in my discussion of the Belgian constitution, because a translation made in the 1830s could have been accessible to the constitutional committee in 1848. 70 J Horwitz, Die Verfassungen der Constitutionell-Monarchischen und Republicanischen Staaten der Gegenwart: Nach den Quellen zusammengestellt und mit erläuternden Anmerkungen versehen: Zweite Lieferung: Nord-America, Belgien, Norwegen (M Simion 1848) 43-61. 71 ‘Die Wohnung ist unverletzlich; ein Haussuchung kann nur statt finden in den Fällen, welche das Gesetz voraus bezeichnet, und in der Form, welche es vorschreibt’. Pölitz (n 69) 238. 72 Wigard, vol 1 (n 63) 683; Pölitz (n 69) 238. 73 ‘Das Briefgeheimniß ist unverletzlich. Das Gesetz bestimmt die Beamten, welche für die Verletzung des Geheimnisses der, der Post anvertrauten, Briefe verantwortlich sind’. Pölitz (n 69) 239. 74 Wigard, vol 1 (n 63) 684. 75 Article II, Section 7 declared:  The freedom of the person is inviolable.  No one can be deprived of his legal judge. Exceptional courts should never take place.  The arrest of a person – except in the case of apprehension in the act – should only occur on the strength of a court order furnished with reasons.  This order must be produced at the time of the arrest or at the latest within the next 24 hours of the arrest. In the original German:  Die Freiheit der Person ist unverletzlich.  Niemand darf seinem gesetzlichen Richter entzogen werden. Ausnahmsgerichte sollen nie stattfinden.  Die Verhaftung einer Person soll – außer im Fall der Ergreifung auf frischer That – nur geschehen in Kraft eines richterlichen, mit Gründen versehen Befehls.  Dieser Befehl muß im Augenblicke der Verhaftung oder spätestens innerhalb der nächsten 24 Stunden dem Verhafteten vorgewiesen werden. ibid 683. 76 ‘[D]aß die Bestimmung, der richterliche Verhaftsbefehl könne binnen 24 Stunden nachgeliefert werden (§ 7), es gestattet, in dringenden Fällen für die öffentliche Sicherheit Sorge zu tragen, ohne der Polizeigewalt einen zu großen Einfluß einzuräumen. Denn wenn der Verhaftsbefehl nicht nachträglich vom Richter erwirkt wird, tritt die gesetzliche Verantwortlichkeit des Verhaftenden ein. – In demselben Sinn faßte man die Beschränkung der Haussuchung auf (§ 8)’. ibid 685. 77 ‘Allerdings aber verkannte man nicht, daß im Interesse der öffentlichen Sicherheit eine unmittelbare Berechtigung der Polizeigewalt zur Durchsuchung verdächtiger Häuser wünschenswerth sein könne’. ibid 685. 78 ‘Die Beschlagnahme von Briefen und Papieren glaubte man aber unbedingt von der vorgängigen Ausfertigung eines richterlichen Befehls abhängig machen zu dürfen’. ibid 685. 79  Alle Deutschen sind gleich vor dem Gesetze.  Standesprivilegien finden nicht statt.  Die öffentlichen Aemter sind für alle dazu Befähigten gleich zugänglich.  Die Wehrpflicht ist für Alle gleich. ibid 682. 80 Whitman (n 3) 1166. 81 Wigard, vol 1 (n 63) 684. 82 ‘Die allgemein Idee des modernen Staates, welcher im Gegensatz zu den Rechtszuständen des Mittelalters statt der Freiheiten die Freiheit, statt der Rechte das Recht gewähren will, ist an die Spitze des § 6 gestellt worden. – Im zweiten Absatz folge die inhaltsschwere Verfügung, daß keine Standes priviligien stattfinden sollen, d. h. ein Stand hat als solcher weder im öffentlichen, noch im Privatrechte auf Vorrechte Anspruch zu machen’. ibid 685 (emphasis added). 83 Christian Pletzing, Vom Völkerfrühling zum nationalen Konflikt: Deutscher und polnischer Nationalismus in Ost- und Westpreußen 1830-1871 (Harrassowitz 2003) 176. 84 Franz Wigard (ed), Stenographischer Bericht über die Verhandlung der deutschen constituirenden Nationalversammlung zu Frankfurt am Main, vol 2 (Johann David Sauerländer 1848) 1073. 85 ‘Es handelt sich, meine Herren, um die Sicherheit der Person, um das Versammlungs- und Vereinigungs-Recht, um die Preßfreiheit, um das Briefgeheimniß. Meine Herren! Soll ich Ihnen nachweisen, das diese Rechte sämmtlich dem Menschen und dem deutschen Volke gewährt werden müssen? Sie werden mir erwiedern, es sei nicht nöthig. Diese Rechte werden mit dem Menschen geboren. Oder solle ich Ihnen nachweisen, daß es nothwendig ist, daß man dem deutschen Volke diese Rechte nicht verkürze?’ (emphasis added); ibid 1091. 86 Franz Wigard (ed), Stenographischer Bericht über die Verhandlung der deutschen constituirenden Nationalversammlung zu Frankfurt am Main, vol 6 (Johann David Sauerländer 1849) 4301; Andreas Daum, ‘Roßmäßler, Emil Adolf’ (Neue Deutsche Bibliographie 2005) <www.deutsche-biographie.de/sfz77032.html#ndbcontent> accessed 26 November 2017. 87 Wigard, vol 6 (n 86) 4301. 88 ‘In Erwägung daß die nun endgiltig (sic) festgestellten Grundrechte für das deutschen Volk die einzige Gewähr eines gesicherten Rechtszustandes ausmachen, und daß daher jede wesentliche Verletzung derselben den letzten Rest von Vertrauen, welches die Centralgewalt bei jeder Gelegenheit in Anspruch nimmt, untergraben muß […]’. ibid 4301. 89 ‘[I]n Erwägung, daß absehend hiervon die Unverletzlichkeit des Briefgeheimnisses zu den empfindlichen Rechten des Volkes gehört, dasselbe aber an Briefen, welche Mitglieder dieses Hauses absenden und empfangen, in neuerer Zeit und zwar zum Theil in frecher, unverhohlener Weise verletzt wird […]’. ibid 4301. 90 ‘Was er zu thun bereit sei, um derartige Verletzungen des Briefgeheimnisses zu verfolgen […]?’ ibid 4301. 91 Franz Wigard (ed), Stenographischer Bericht über die Verhandlung der deutschen constituirenden Nationalversammlung zu Frankfurt am Main, vol 3 (Johann David Sauerländer 1848) 1573. 92 ibid 1576; for Schlöffel’s biography, see Helmut Bleiber, ‘Schlöffel, Friedrich Wilhelm’ (Neue Deutsche Biographie 2007) <www.deutsche-biographie.de/sfz113136.html#ndbcontent> accessed 26 November 2017. 93 ‘Die Erfahrung hat nämlich von 1819 ab gelehrt, daß die Haussuchung, wie sie unter dem Polizeischilde ausgeführt worden sind, ziemlich oft den Charakter eines Einbruchs angenommen haben’. Wigard, vol 3 (n 91) 1577. 94 ‘Weder das alte deutsche, noch das alter römische Recht kannte die Verletzung der Wohnung oder eine solche Haussuchung, – es war dieß dem modernen Polizeistaat vorbehalten, sich auf diese Weise Acten zu fabriciren’. ibid 1577. 95 ‘Diese schimpfliche Immoralität, die in einem gewaltsamen Einbruch in fremdes Eigenthum unter allen Umständen enthalten ist, wurde, soweit sie von Polizeibeamten ausgeführt, ein Privilegium der geheimen Polizei- und der geheimen Inquisitionsgewalt’. ibid 1577. 96 Whitman (n 3) 1167. 97 Huber, Dokumente zur Deutschen Verfassungsgeschichte (n 22) 304. 98 ‘§ 139. Die Todesstrafe, ausgenommen, wo das Kriegsrecht sie vorschreibt, oder das Seerecht im Fall von Meutereien sie zuläßt, so wie die Strafen des Prangers, der Brandmarkung und der körperlichen Züchtigung, sind abgeschafft’. ibid 319. 99 §140. Die Wohnung ist unverletzlich.  Eine Haussuchung ist nur zulässig:  1. in Kraft eines richterlichen, mit Gründen versehenen Befehls, welcher sofort oder innerhalb der nächsten vier und zwanzig Stunden dem Betheiligten zugestellt werden soll,  2. im Falle der Verfolgung auf frischer That, durch den gesetzlich berechtigten Beamten,  3. in den Fällen und Formen, in welchen das Gesetz ausnahmsweise bestimmten Beamten auch ohne richterlichen Befehl dieselbe gestattet.  Die Haussuchung muß, wenn thunlich, mit Zuziehung von Hausgenossen erfolgen.  Die Unverletzlichkeit der Wohnung ist kein Hinderniß der Verhaftung eines gerichtlich Verfolgten. ibid 319. 100 §141. Die Beschlagnahme von Briefen und Papieren darf, außer bei einer Verhaftung oder Haussuchung, nur in Kraft eines richterlichen, mit Gründen versehenen Befehls vorgenommen werden, welcher sofort oder innerhalb der nächsten vier und zwanzig Stunden dem Betheiligten zugestellt werden soll‘.  § 142. Das Briefgeheimniß ist gewährleistet.  Die bei strafgerichtlichen Untersuchungen und in Kriegsfällen nothwendigen  Beschränkungen sind durch die Gesetzgebung festzustellen. ibid 319. 101 Siemann (n 43) 197. 102 ibid 197-99. 103 Bericht und Protokolle des Achten Ausschusses über den Entwurf einer Verfassung des Deutschen Reichs (Carl Heymanns 1920) 171. 104 ‘Die erste ist das, was wir unter dem Namen Menschenrechte verstehen, jene Rechte, die droben hängen bei den ewigen Sternen, die mit uns geborenen Rechte, diese Rechte, die von der Gründung des amerikanischen Freistaats an durch die europäische Geschichte hindurch ihre Rolle gespielt haben und in allen modernen Verfassungen, auch in der französischen, schweizer und belgischen Verfassung wieder aufgetaucht sind’. ibid 177. 105 ‘Diese Rechte beschäftigen sich vornehmlich mit der Frage: Was darf der Staat gegenüber dem einzelnen Bürger nicht tun? – und darum hat Jellinek mit seiner Bemerkung recht, daß diese Gruppe von Grundrechten negativer Natur ist’. ibid 177. Georg Jellinek, born in Austria, was a liberal jurist and was one of the foremost scholars of public law, particularly constitutional and international law, Stolleis (n 20) 440-41. He taught at the University of Heidelberg for most of his career, where he was connected with Max Weber, ibid 441; for a discussion of Jellinek’s scholarship, see ibid 440-44. 106 ‘Man kann sie unter Umständen positiv formulieren, aber in der Sache bleiben sie negative. Diese negative Rechte, die unveräußerlichen Rechte des Ichs gegenüber der Macht des umdrängenden Staates, sind hier vorhanden in den uns vorliegenden Entwürfen […]’. Bericht und Protokolle des Achten Ausschusses (n 103) 177. 107 ibid 177. 108 Whitman (n 3) 1181. 109 ‘Eine zweite Gruppe ist die Gruppe der Bürgerrechte. Diese Gruppe der Bürgerrechte ist positiv’. Bericht und Protokolle des Achten Ausschusses (n 103) 177 (emphasis removed). 110 ‘Während also die erste Gruppe negative ist, in dem Sinne, daß sie sagt: das und das darf nicht berührt werden, ist die zweite Gruppe positive in dem Punkt: der einzelne hat das und das Recht im Staate, wir alle sind der Staat’. ibid 177. 111 ‘Die zweite Gruppe geht auf die Gedankengänge Rousseaus zurück: “der Staat wird gemacht vom Volkswillen.” Der Volkswille ist an sich etwas Mystisches und Ungreifbares, aber er repräsentiert, er materialisiert sich aus den Mehrheiten, die man zählen kann. In diese Mehrheitsbildung hinein gehören nun alle Staatsbürger’. ibid 177. 112 ‘Alle Deutschen sind vor dem Gesetze gleich […]’. ibid 177. 113 Whitman (n 3) 1181-89. © The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/about_us/legal/notices)

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American Journal of Legal HistoryOxford University Press

Published: Apr 13, 2018

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