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The Elections Cartel in Regierungsbezirk Bromberg (Bydgoszcz), 1898–1903: Ethnic Rivalry, Agrarianism, and “Practicing Democracy”

  • Roland Spickermann (a1)

In debates on the nature and degree of democratization in the Kaiserreich, the dynamics of rural politics have received perhaps less attention than they merit. Indeed, though the picture is more nuanced now, for a long period the ability of rural elites to dominate nonelites (a core aspect of these dynamics) was simply assumed, as was the relationship of this dominance to Germany's troubled democratization. In his 1943 work Bread and Democracy in Germany, for example, Alexander Gerschenkron blamed Germany's entrenched and elitist aristocracy for this trait of bullying voters into antidemocratic politics spanning from the Kaiserreich to the Third Reich. More subtly, the landmark 1966 study of Barrington Moore, Jr. noted the potential for an alliance between entrenched aristocracies and small peasantries, with each as reservoirs for antidemocratic (and potentially fascist) sentiment in several countries, with obvious application to the German case as well.

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1. Gerschenkron, Alexander, Bread and Democracy in Germany (Berkeley, 1943, rev. ed. Ithaca, 1989).

2. Moore, Barrington Jr., Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in the Making of the Modern World (Boston, 1966). Moore uses the examples of Britain, France, the United States, China, Japan, and India, but applies the conclusions drawn from these countries to Germany and Russia.

3. Puhle, Hans-Jürgen, Agrarische Interessenpolitik und preitssischer Konservatismus (Hanover, 1966).

4. White, Dan S., The Splintered Party: National Liberalism in Hessen and the Reich 1867–1918 (Cambridge, Mass., 1976).

5. Moeller, Robert G., “Peasants and Tariffs in the Kaiserreich: How Backward were the Bauern?” in Agricultural History 55 (1981): 370–84.

6. Hunt, James C., “Peasants, Grain Tariffs and Meat Quotas: Imperial German Protectionism Reexamined” in Central European History 7 (1974): 311–31; Webb, Steven S., “Agricultural Protection in Wilhelmian Germany: Forging an Empire with Pork and Rye” in Journal of Economic History 42 (1982): 309–26.

7. Indeed, German agrarian history has focused much more on non-Prussian areas than on Prussia for this period. Examples include Farr, Ian, “Populism and the Countryside: The Peasant Leagues in Bavaria in the 1890s” in Society and Democracy in Willielmine Germany, ed. Evans, Richard J. (London, 1978), 136–59; Blackbourn, David, “Peasants and Politics in Germany, 1871–1914” in European History Quarterly 14 (1984): 4775; Farr, Ian, “Peasant Protest in the Empire: The Bavarian Example” in Peasants and Lords in Modern Germany: Recent Studies In Agricultural History, ed. Moeller, Robert G. (Boston, 1986), 110–39; Vascik, George S., “The German Peasant League and the Limits of Rural Liberalism in Wilhelmian Germany” in Central European History 24 (1991): 147–75; Hochberger, Anton, Der bayerische Bauernbund 1893–1914 (Munich, 1991). The exception would appear to be Reif, Heinz, ed., Ostelbische Agrargesellschaft im Kaiserreich und in der Weimarer Republik: Agrarkrise — junkerliche Interessenpolitik — Modernisierungsstrategien (Berlin, 1994). However, while this collection of essays contains a great deal on economic change and grassroots economic organizations for the region and the period concerned, it has much less to say on grassroots political activities.

On German agrarian historiography in general, see Moeller, Robert, “Locating Peasants and Lords in Modern German Historiography” in Peasants and Lords, ed. idem, 1–23; Farr, Ian, “‘Tradition’ and the Peasantry: On the Modern Historiography of Rural Germany” in The German Peasantry: Conflict and Community in Rural Society from the Eighteenth to the Twentieth Centuries, ed. Evans, Richard J. and Lee, W.R. (London, 1986), 136; Bessel, Richard, “Making Sense of the Countryside: Some Recent Writing on Rural Life and Politics in Germany” in European History Quarterly 19 (1989): 115–28.

8. See Retallack, James N., Notables of the Right: The Conservative Party and Political Mobilization in Germany, 1876–1918 (Boston, 1988), and Peck, Abraham, Radicals and Reactionaries: The Crisis of Conservatism in Wilhelmine Germany (Washington, DC, 1976). As noted, the standard text on the Agrarian League remains Puhle: Agrarische Interessenpolitik, but see also Tirrell, Sarah Rebecca, German Agrarian Politics after Bismarck's Fall: The Formation of the Farmer's League (New York, 1951). More generally on elections on the period, see Sperber, Jonathan, The Kaiser's Voters: Electors and Elections in Imperial Germany (New York, 1997), and Schmädeke, Jürgen, Wählerbewegung im Wilhelminischen Deutschland, vol. 1, Die Reichstagswahlen von 1890 bis 1912: Eine historisch-statistische Untersuchung (Berlin, 1995); Suval, Stanley, Electoral Politics in Wilhelmine Germany (Chapel Hill, 1985), and Anderson, Margaret Lavinia, Practicing Democracy: Elections and Political Culture in Imperial Germany (Princeton, 2000). On Landtag elections specifically, see the comprehensive Kühne, Thomas, Dreiklassenwahlrecht und Wahlkultur in Preussen 1867–1914: Landtagswahlen zwischen korporativer Tradition und politischem Massenmarkt (Düsseldorf, 1994).

9. Rosenberg, Hans. “Die Pseudodemokratisierung der Rittergutsbesitzerklasse” in Moderne Deutsche Sozialgeschichte, ed. Wehler, Hans-Ulrich (Cologne, 1968), 287308. Originally published in Festschrift für Hans Herzfeld (Berlin, 1958), 459–86.

10. Baranowski, Shelley, The Sanctity of Rural Life: Nobility, Protestantism, and Nazism in Weimar Prussia (New York, 1995).

11. Suval, , Electoral Politics, 103.

12. Indeed, can one have group identity without political calculation? How, after all, could one affirm one's membership in a group without also pursuing its interests? How else could one judge a leader or politician, except by somehow measuring how much he had pursued the group's interests, too?

13. Anderson, , Practicing Democracy, 152–98. One may argue that the process of “practicing democracy” that Anderson describes is actually the culmination of a much longer process involving the transfer of legitimacy from a sovereign to the people. See Bendix, Reinhard, Kings or People: Power and the Mandate to Rule (Berkeley, 1978), which argues that the universal (male) franchise has been a turning point in industrializing societies for reasons similar to Anderson's: that even the merely theoretical sovereignty of the people undermines the authority of more traditional elites.

14. Perhaps the archetypical anecdote is of a farm worker who opens a ballot envelope handed to him to examine its contents, and to see for whom he is predetermined to vote, only to have the envelope snatched from him by the local inspector. “You pig,” the inspector says in dialect, “it's a secret ballot!” (“Du Schwein, de Wahl ist doch jeheim!”) See Nipperdey, Thomas, Deutsche Geschichte 1866–1918, vol. 2, Machtstaat vor der Demokratie (Munich, 1992), 498.

15. In 1905 (the census year closest to these elections), roughly 51.5 percent of the population of the Regierungsbezirk was Polish, and 48.5 percent was German or German-Jewish. See Preussische Statistik, vol. 188, 157; and vol. 206, 291–92. In this essay, “German” includes German Jews.

16. Indeed, because of the focus of historians on the wider ethnic conflict between the German and Polish communities, the combinations and conflicts among local Germans have received little attention, except in terms of opposition to the Polish party. The exception here is Kühne who, in his comprehensive study of the Prussian electoral system, notes the peculiarity of the region's Conservative-Progressive alliance, with the government actually encouraging voters to vote Progressive. However, Kühne discusses this more as an example of the Progressives' overall increased acceptance by officials (its “governmentalization”), rather than as a reflection of the region's politics and their effect on Honoratiorenpolitik, which is the intent here. See Kühne, , Dreiklassenwahlrecht, 287–93.

17. Gnesener Zeitung, 8 September 1903. Geheimes Staatsarchiv Preussischer Kulturbesitz (hereafter GStAPK) XVI Rep. 30, no. 575, v. 1. Unless otherwise stated, all citations are from this archival folio.

18. Bromberger Tageblatt, 24 October 1903. Indeed, little could better suggest the depth of the German “congenital flaw” and the need for “self-denial” than the description of allies as “enemies,” or the depth of political need if one took such enemies as allies.

19. This procedure was based on the by-laws of the 1849 Prussian Constitution. See Huber, Ernst Rudolf, Deutsche Vetfassungsgeschichte seit 1789, vol. 3, Bismarck und das Reich, 3rd ed. (Stuttgart, 1988), 8595. The text of the election rules can be found in Vogel, Bernhard et al. , Wahlen in Deutschland: Theorie — Geschichte — Dokumente 1848–1970 (Berlin, 1971), 351–54.

20. Surprisingly, local politics in this region have received less attention. Historians of the region have tended to focus on the relationship between the German/Prussian government and the local Polish population, or on Polish efforts at developing a more cohesive community, and resisting governmental efforts. One sees this in earlier works such as Broszat's, MartinZweihundert Jahre deutsche Polenpolitik (Munich, 1963), as well as in later works such as Blanke's, RichardPrussian Poland in the German Empire (Boulder, 1981), and in Polish works. See in this regard the essays in Trzeciakowski, Lech, ed., Niemcy w Poznanskiem wobec polityki germanizacyjnej 1815–1920 (Poznan, 1976), and his The Kulturkampf in Prussian Poland (New York, 1990). More recent Polish work has noted the unintentionally positive aspects of Prussian policy for Polish community development. See the respective essays of Makowski, Krzysztof and Molik, Witold in Hahn, Hans-Henning und Kunz, Peter, eds., Nationale Minderheiten und staatliche Minderheitenpolitik in Deutschland im 19. Jahrhundert. (Berlin, 1999).

Hagen's, WilliamGermans, Poles, and Jews: The National Conflict in the Prussian East, 1772–1914 (Chicago, 1980) goes further in discussing the various communities, shifting the focus more to Polish development, but nonetheless does not address German electoral politics or discuss the Bromberg Regierungsbezirk in as much detail. Indeed, Hagen's work uses sources principally from the southern half of Posen province (Regierungsbezirk Posen (Poznan]), and fewer from Regierungsbezirk Bromberg. Likewise, the work of Lech Trzeciakowski on the Kulturkampf and Jaworski's, RudolfHandel und Gewerbe im Nationalitätenkampf: Studien zur Wirtschaftsgesinnung der Polen in der Provinz Posen (Göttingen, 1986), which studies Polish economic efforts, have helped to fill gaps, but discuss neither the German community nor local elections.

21. Indeed, one might conclude that each party was ethnically based: German Conservatives, Jewish Progressives, and Poles (with some Germans voting National Liberal). But one would need much more data of the composition of the Progressive Party.

22. Examples of this are more common for the neighboring Posen Regierungsbezirk. Kühne notes that, in the 1893 Landtag election, Progressives in Posen city had won a seat through the abstention of Polish voters, while a coalition of Progressives, German Catholics, and Poles could divide the seats of Samter/Birnbaum and Posen-Land/Obornik in the Posen Regierungsbezirk. See Kühne, , Dreiklassenwahlrecht, 287.

23. “Immediat-Zeitungsberichte,” 2 December 1898, GStAPK XVI Rep. 30, No. 656, vol. 5. The Regierungspräsident records this meeting's date only as “early in the year” (im Frühjahr), so that the meeting took place at least six months before the election. Christoph von Tiedemann (about whom more later) had tried to organize a Conservative-National Liberal coalition in the Regierungsbezirk during his tenure as Regierungspräsident in the 1880s. See Kühne, , Dreiklassenwahlrecht. 290. Kühne also describes the cartel as being province-wide, including the city of Posen itself, but accounts from local newspapers do not mention the Posen connection.

24. The National Liberals had won the seat in 1893 mainly because the Poles had abstained from voting. The National Liberals at that point could benefit from their position between the Conservatives and the Progressives. Kühne, , Dreiklassenwahlrecht, 289.

25. Here the efforts of the Royal Settlement Commission (Königliche Ansiedlungskommission) actually had succeeded in increasing the German rural population in recent years, and so a National Liberal victory was a possibility.

26. “Immediat-Zeitungsberichte,” 2 December 1898, GStAPK XVI Rep. 30, No. 656, vol. 5.

27. On the Mittellandkanal, see Horn, Hannelore, Der Kampf um den Bau des Mittellandkanals (Cologne, 1964). See also Puhle, , Agrarische Interessenpolitik, 240–46, and Huber, Ernst Rudolf, Deutsche Verfassungsgeschichte, vol. 4, Struktur und Krisen des Kaiserreichs (Stuttgartr, 1957), 10871105.

28. Horn, , Der Kampf, 89 and 91.

29. Other farmers in the area blamed the poor second harvest in the fall of 1899 instead on an unusually dry season. GStAPK XVI Rep. 30, no. 656, vol. 5, 30 January 1900.

30. “Zeitungsberichte des Oberbergamts Breslau, der Landräte, des Oberbürgermeisters in Bromberg, der Handelskammer u.d. Referenten der Regierung.” 10 march 1900, GStAPK XVI Rep. 30, no. 656, vol. 5. Alfred von Conrad, the Regierungspräsident, reported that his staff had given the movement its attention, “to keep it in peaceful channels.” By 1901, productivity had plunged further; farmers had begun to buy rather than sell hay and straw. Czarnikau, LR to RP, 1 05 1901. GStAPK XVI Rep. 30, no. 663, vol. 15.

31. Czarnikau, LR to RP, 30 07 1901. GStAPK XVI Rep. 30, no. 663, vol. 15.

32. On von Colmar, see Mann, Bernhard, Biographisches Handbuch für das preussische Abgeordnetenhaus (Düsseldorf, 1988), 97, and Schwarz, Max, MdR: Biographisches Handbuch der Reichstage, (Hamburg, 1965), 289.

33. Von Colmar's stance and those of other “canal rebels” in public service later incurred the wrath of the kaiser, who supported the canal. On the “canal rebels,” see Horn, , Der Kampf, 6487.

34. Note, for example, the letter to Der Gesellige (Graudenz), 4 November 1903, which accused him of “standing off the road [being out of touch], and can only be helpful to us with difficulty.”

35. Minutes of Electoral Association meeting, 22 September 1903. On Zindler, see Mann, , Biographisches Handbuch, 432, and Schwarz, , MdR, 505. On Viereck, see Mann, , Biographisches Handbuch, 394. On Viereck's regional popularity, see the Anzeiger für den Netzedistrikt (Czarnikau), 20 October 1903.

36. Kolmarer Kreiszeitung, 17 November 1903.

37. Anzeiger für den Netzedistrikt (Czarnikau), 20 10 1903.

38. Kolmar, LR to RP, 28 10 1903. See also Czarnikau, LR to RP, 24 10 1903.

39. Kolmarer Zeitung, 14 November 1903. Most supported Viereck. One can gauge local support for each candidate through newspaper advertisements. Von Colmar had to sponsor his own in this issue, while local Notables sponsored Viereck's.

40. Posener Zeitung, 11 September 1903, quoting the Orendownik, unknown date.

41. Gnesener Zeitung, 8 Spetember 1903.

42. A popular Landrat named Robert Coeler. On Coeler, see Gey's, ThomasDie preussische Verwaltung des Regierungsbezirks Bromberg 1871–1920 (Cologne, 1976), 52.

43. Posener Zeitung, 31 October 1903.

44. “Acta betreffend den deutschen Mittelstandsbund, 1901–1912.” Wojewodskie Archiwum Panstwowe Poznaniu (WAPP) Polizeipräsidium Posen no. 4702. See the leaflet entitled “Deutsche Mitbürger!” An article in the Posener Zeitung, commenting on the 1903 Landtag campaigns, reported Mittelsland activities in Czarnikau, Inowrazlaw, and Wongrowitz. See Posener Zeitung, 25 September 1903.

45. Ibid.

46. Wegeweiser, 22 January 1902. WAPP Polizeipräsidium Posen 4702.

47. The conservative Posener Tageblatt noted approvingly that the league consisted of groups indifferent to the German cause until now: “Even the artisan and the worker carry within them selves a trove of love for their nationality, and the power of idealistic enthusiasm is large enough to create a bridge of loving understanding, cooperative reconciliation between rich and poor, young and old, officials and citizens.” See Posener Tageblatt, 12 February 1902. WAPP Polizeipräsidium Posen no. 4702.

48. Bromberger Tageblatt, 24 October 1903. “Zur Landtagswahl.” In exchange for Progressive support for a “national” candidate in the Reichstag elections of 1898, the Progressives had been guaranteed a seat in 1903.

49. Wongrowitz, LR to RP, 17 09 1903.

50. Wongrowitz, LR to RP, 8 11 1903. GStAPK XVI Rep. 30, no. 663, vol. 17.

51. Ibid.

52. Reichelt described his constituency as the "middle and lower officials, the teachers and the tradesmen, and the middle and lower retailers": the classical Mittelstand, until now always on the margins of local power.

53. Reichelt noted that a Mittelstand group wanted him to run, but that he would not if the Electoral Association would allocate a Landtag seat to the Mittelstand. Reichelt mentioned this in discussions with Dr. Ernst Schreiber, the Landrat of Wongrowitz. See Wongrowitz, LR to RP, 17 09 1903.

54. Ibid. One must consider the possibility that this Mittelstandsbund had anti-Semitic roots, but if so, its members were not primarily motivated by such roots. Their rhetoric discussed the Polish rather than the Jewish problem, and (as we shall see) the movement and the local National Liberal party were mutually sympathetic.

55. Wongrowitz, LR to RP, 20 09 1903. One man advocated his transfer to a less ethnically volatile area: “It would be a shame to lose this district again, which we just conquered in the last election, due to the egotism of a single man.” Quoted in the Posener Zeitung, 25 September 1903.

56. Ibid. The Zeitung, a liberal newspaper, continued: “How is it, though, that the Landrat and even the Court President interfere in these electoral matters?” The idea of inviolate elections evidently had taken root here, too.

57. Wongrowitz, LR to RP, 17 09 1903.

58. Wongrowitz, LR to RP, 20 09 1903 and 10 10 1903.

59. Bromberger Tageblatt, 27 September 1903. See also Posener Zeitung, 26 September 1903.

60. Ibid. The Mittelstand now included everyone "between the working class and those who have an income of 10,000 Marks or more"! With such a range, any German candidate qualified as a Mittelständler, and any vote as a pro-Mittelstand act. Curiously, the Bromberger Tageblatt argued that the incumbents, though not Mittelständler (in contradiction to Reichelt), provided satisfactory virtual (rather than actual) representation. Indeed, it concluded, the best defense of the Mittelstand lay in German unity.

61. Only in 1879 did German disunity allow a Pole to win. In 1882, the Germans restored a local cartel, and elected Christoph von Tiedemann. See LR Inowrazlaw to RP, 29 September 1903. Our knowledge that a compromise preceded von Grabski's election comes from remarks in meetings in 1903 as recorded in the Kujawischer Bote (Inowrazlaw), 25 October 1903.

62. Bromberger Tageblatt, 11 September 1903. Bernhard Seer had represented the district since 1882.

63. Christoph Willers von Tiedemann had been Regierungspräsident of Bromberg from 1881 to 1899. Afterward he no longer lived in the district, despite representing it in the Landtag. See Mann, , Biographisches Handbuch, 387, and Schwarz, , MdR, 481.

64. Magistrat Inowrazlaw to RP, 24 January 1902. “Denkschrift betreffend die wirtschaftliche Lage der Stadt Inowrazlaw in der Provinz Posen.” GStAPK XVI Rep. 30, no. 680, vol. 2.

65. At least sixty other businesses closed as a result of Paetzold's bankruptcy. Ibid.

66. Many also complained that his influence had little helped with Inowrazlaw's failed effort to get a railroad repair yard for the city. See Posener Zeitung, 12 September 1903, and Bromberger Tageblatt, 11 September 1903.

67. Kujawischer Bote (Inowrazlaw), 18 October 1903.

68. Inowrazlaw, LR to RP, 29 09 1903. On Georg Kiehn, see Mann, , Biographisches Handbuch, 213. At its own meeting in Schubin, the Agrarian League confirmed the two as candidates. See Bromberger Tageblatt, 11 September 1903.

69. Posener Zeitung, 12 September 1903. The question, hardly in awe of local Notables, was posed at a protest meeting of voters from Inowrazlaw, Argenau and Strelno.

70. Posener Zeitung, 11 September 1903. This was the request of artisans in Inowrazlaw.

71. Ibid.

72. Inowrazlaw, LR to RP, 7 10 1903.

73. Inowrazlaw, LR to RP, 29 09 1903.

74. Posener Zeitung, 27 September 1903. The Zeitung also notes that many of the efforts on behalf of the urban constituency in Inowrazlaw emanated from Wongrowitz, where Reichelt and his Mittelstand League were active.

75. Kujawischer Bote (Inowrazlaw), 16 October 1903. Meeting in Argenau of Mittelstand voters.

76. Ibid. Just in case, though, this meeting in Inowrazlaw also resolved to establish a regional “Mittelstand League.”

77. Ostdeutsche Presse, 24 October 1903. Lusensky also belonged to the National Liberals' central committee. It is safe to assume that he was preferable to Crüsemann.

78. Ostdeutsche Presse (Bromberg), 25 October 1903. Of interest here, as well, is the fact that the government official, once considered always to be “above party,” was now considered to be a mere pawn.

79. Ibid.

80. Ibid. In this regard, the proposal by the mayor of Inowrazlaw to substitute a local National Liberal (one “Herr Amtsgerichtsrat Kowalke”) got no support, despite the fact that he was more local, and presumably more moderate.

81. Gnesener General-Anzeiger, 25 October 1903.

82. Ironically, the conscientious Lusensky offered to withdraw again, fearing that he would destroy the cartel. Town Notables preemptively proposed an even more liberal replacement, a former merchant named Finsterbusch, who not only favored the canal (“he advocates the best means of transportation by water and by land”), but also giving towns in the east more representation in the estate-dominated Kreistage. Lusensky now seemed relatively moderate and acceptable to the agrarians, in further testament to their inability to impose a choice. Kujawischer Bote (Inowrazlaw), 18 November 1903.

83. The Progressives also had agreed to withdraw a spoiler candidate for the Reichstag elections that year. Conservatives had reciprocated by ceding a seat which they had held since 1879. The Progressives' concession on the Reichstag seat in 1898 had enabled the Conservatives to elect Christoph von Tiedemann, who remained in office until 1907. A Pole (Leon von Czarlinski) had won the 1893 election, the first time a Pole had won the seat, so that the impetus for compromise in 1898 clearly had been strong. Bromberg, LR to RP, 12 10 1903 (Geheim!) and Bromberger Tageblatt, 10 october 1903 and 10 November 1903.

84. Bromberg, Polizei-Verwaltung to RP, 28 09 1895. GStAPK XVI Rep. 30, No. 679: “Deutscher Ostmarken-Verein.” The branch included over 200 “buyers, estate-owners, rentiers, doctors, lawyers, higher and lower officials of various offices, teachers, artisans, etc.,” of Conservative or National Liberal inclination. One notes the overlap of this membership to that within the Mittelstand League.

85. Ernst Heinrich Dietz, a National Liberal magistrate and alderman in Bromberg, and Konrad Max von Unruh, a Free Conservative farmer, and Landrat since 1889. They also were the liaisons to the association's main offices in Berlin. Ibid.

86. Ostdeutsche Presse (Bromberg), 27 October 1903.

87. Ibid.

88. Ibid., 12 November 1903. “Zu den Wahlmänner-Wahlen.”

89. The rubber-stamp nature of the selection process can be seen in the fact that the committee had picked the nominee well before the actual meeting, and had informed the Landrat of Bromberg privately in advance that Martini would be renominated. See Bromberg, LR to RP, 12 10 1903. Geheim!

90. On Aronsohn, see Mann, , Biographisches Handbuch, 50. Little could suggest better the informal elite-dominated nature of local politics than the fact that the liberal Posener Zeitung announced Aronsohn's candidacy even before the Progressives had formally convened, as the Bromberger Tageblatt wryly noted. See Bromberger Tageblatt, 10 October 1903.

91. Bromberger Tageblatt, 10 October 1903. The Landrat of Bromberg later confirmed the National Liberals' intent. See Bromberg, LR to RP, 12 10 1903. Geheim!

92. Ostdeutsche Presse (Bromberg), 8 November 1903.

93. Bromberger Tageblatt, 11 November 1903. The Tageblatt likewise criticized the anti-Semite movement, but further documentation on the anti-Semite movement in this election is unfortunately lacking. See Bromberger Tageblatt, 10 November 1903.

94. Ostdeutsche Presse, 22 November 1903.

95. Bromberger Tageblatt, 10 November 1903.

96. Ibid.

97. If one may judge from the bureaucratic and journalistic silence on Landtag elections after 1903 (archival files for later elections concern administrative matters rather than factional renegotiations), there were no attempts to change the cartel arrangements again. Kühne, however, notes that the Landräte nonetheless met in December 1907 with the Oberpräsident in order to preemptively deal with potential conflicts, and that the agreement was renewed at each election through 1913. See Kühne, , Dreiklassenwahlrecht, 289. However, one may infer that these meetings dealt with the still-Polish seat in Gnesen-Witkowo, which in 1908 finally went to a Conservative (the local Landrat Ludwig Dionysius), and then in 1913 to a National Liberal (Max Kandler).

98. Indeed, Bret Fairbairn argues that politics in the Reichstag elections of 1898 and 1903 became more interest-oriented and less conciliatory because these years saw such a general shift in German politics from its original informal elite-oriented basis to one with permanently organized and active parties and a more mobilized electorate. See Fairbairn, Bret, Democracy in the Undemocratic State: The German Reichstag Elections of 1898 and 1903 (Toronto, 1997), chap. 2.

99. Fairbairn mentions that, in these years (1898–1903), the Conservative Party was consolidating its hold over its Reichstag seats in the north and east through its emphasis on agriculture, but in doing so was losing its more marginal seats in regions where agriculture was a secondary issue. See Fairbairn, , Democracy in the Undemocratic State, 136–37. It seems that a similar process of retreat and consolidation was underway at the local level, as well.

100. One would expect the more egalitarian and democratic rules for Reichstag elections (secret and equal votes, especially) to promote popular sovereignty more. But, as noted, these same rules meant that the Polish majorities in many Kreise routinely overrode German minorities, making negotiations for German Reichstag-level cartels pointless. Sensitivity about the electorate's wishes was pointless under the circumstances, so that democracy was less “practiced” there than at the Landtag level.

101. This also would parallel the arguments on German economic history of J.A. Perkins, who has demonstrated that the contrasts of landownership between small-holding “West Elbia” and estate-dominated “East Elbia” are exaggerated, as well. See Perkins, J.A., “A Reinterpretation of 19th-century German Agrarian History” (Ph.D. diss., University of New South Wales, 1985), and his “Dualism in German Agrarian Historiography” in Comparative Studies in Society and History 28 (1986), 287–306.

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