Hermann Marcus Kottinger.

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Because we desire, also, to keep the possession of our own.
What crimes must we therefore shun ?

Theft, 7'obbery, and fraud.

Who makes himself guilty of these crim-^s ?

Any one makes himself guilty of theft, who secretly deprives
others of their property ; of robbery, he who seizes violently on
it ; of fraud, he who withdraws it from them by means of designed
deceit or illusion.

To what regard ought we, especially, to avoid fraud ?

In regard to purchase and sale, in measure and weight.

What is that who has knowingly or unknowingly deprived others
of their rightful property, in duty bound to do ?

He is bound to indemnify them for the damage he has caused

§ 29. 4.— With Regard to Reputation and Veracity— Slander-
Lie— Promise.

I. What further belongs to the possessions of man?

To the possessions of man also belongs his honor, his good



Why ought the honor of others to be sacred to us?
Because we desire, too, that they shall not violate ours.

2. What ought we then, to shun ?
Slander !

Who is said to slander others ?

Whoever designedly imputes to them trespasses and crimes they
have not committed ; whoever magnifies their faults, or diminishes
their merits : such an one slanders

What is a slanderer under obligation to do ?

He is under obligation to re-store the reputation of the slandered
person .

3. How ought we to speak in our conversation ?

Why is it our duty to be truthful in our discourse ?

Because we virtually promise to the one addressed to tell the

Who lies ?

He who, with the design of leading others into error, speaks
otherwise than as he means : such an one is lying.

Why is a lie wrong ?

Because it is a kind of fraud.

4. Ought we also to avoid white lies (fibs) ?

Yes ; for they soon grow habitual, and lead insensibly to lies of
selfishness and malice.

What should we do, if it be neither advisable nor our duty to
speak truth ?

In such a case we may keep silence.

5. What order of lies is he guilty of who in religious matters
teaches otherwise than what he thinks ?

Such an one becomes guilty of :\. pious lie.
What are such men called ?

Religious hypocrites, Pharisees. In the Christian Church many
miracles were forged in order to convert the credulous.

What did pious lies and pious frauds bring to the Church ?
They brought to her immeasurable damage.

6. When are we obliged to speak tiie truth to others ?

Wlien they have no right to expect it. e. g., A robber has no


right to expect that we discover to him the place where our money
is hidden ; nor the murderer or the insane man that we show him
the road the fugitive whom he persecutes has taken. No more
right have the enemies of our country to expect the avowal of
truth from a spy who has stolen into their camp.

7. Lastly, what does the duty of veracity command ?

It commands us to keep \.\\q promise we have voluntarily given to

In what cases is a promise not binding ?

When it violates the laws of morals or justice ; when it has been
forced out of us ; when it is impossible to fulfill it, or when it could
be only kept by the breach of a higher duty ; e. g., we have promised
a friend a situation, but afterward we find out that he has not the
knowledge which is necessary for the discharge of the duties of
the office.

What precaution should we use in this regard ?

Never to give a promise which would likely afterwards to put us
in collision with our duty.

What are the most important species of promise ?

Co fit r acts.

§ 30.— Contracts.

What is a contract ?

A contract is a written or implied promise by which two or
more persons bind themselves mutually to certain performances.

What is the object of most contracts ?

The object of most contracts is either property or personal ser-

What does justice demand ?•

That the performance and the reciprocal service shall have the
same value.

What are the most important and the most common contracts ?

The loan-contract, the contract of purchase, the contract of
trading-companies, the marriage-contract, the contract of service,
and the State-contract.

§ 31. 1.— Loan-Contract— Usury.

I. In what condition ou^jht we to return the bor»-owed article?

In the same condition as we received it.

2. What damage have we to make good to the owner ; what

We have to make good such damage as has arisen from our neg- *
ligence in using the object loaned ; but we are not responsible for
the damage which has necessarily arisen from the use the proprietor
has allowed to be made of it.

3. To what kind of contracts does the loan of capital belong ?
To loan-contracts.

Wiiat does a creditor usually require of a debtor ?
Certain interest.

Has the capitalist the right to demand interest, and why ?
He has a right to do so, because his capital is profitable to the
debtor, and is dead to the owner so long as it is loaned.

Into what can the charge of high interests easily degenerate?
Into usury.

§ 32. 2.— The Contract of Purchase. 3.— Trading-Companies.

1. What law is infringed by the maxim : ''Buy as cheap as
possible, and sell as dear as you can ?"

The law of equity.

What seems to be the best rule in buying and selling ?
The ruling price of any merchandise in market.
When does the seller of a ware perpetrate a fraud ?
When he commends it for qualities it does not possess.
When can he not be made responsible for its defects?
When he does not warrant its superior quality.
What does he commit who counterfeits money or knowingly
circulates it ?

He commits a fraud.


Because money represents merchandise.

2. What is a trading' company ?

The union of two or several persons formed for the purjiose of
carrying on a commercial business in common.
What is the duty of such persons ?
To deal honestly with each other.


In what proportion ought the partners of the company to divide
the joint gain of the business?

In the proportion of their individual interest.

§ 33. 4.— Marriage Contract.*

1. How was the wife in ancient times used and considered?
As the servant, nay, frequently, as the slave of man.

What does the Christian religion demand from the wife ?
Subjection to the dominion of man.

2. What are the rights of husband and wife by nature ?
They are equal.

For what reason ?

Because both have the like nature, the like destination, and, in
general, the like faculties. If man usually excels woman in intel-
lect, she, on the other hand, posseses more intensive feelings.

Does the outweighing strength of man give him the privilege of
ruling the wife?

No ; might is not right, in such cases.

3. What is marriage?

Marriage is an alliance by which man and woman unite for a
communion intended to last for life.

4. What ought to be the motive to this alliance ?

Mutual love; not avidity, not voluptuousness, etc. It also
ought not to be concluded inconsiderately, because it has to last
through long time.

5. What duties have both consorts to fulfill?

They ought to be devoted to each other with love and unshaken
fidelity, and to support each other in all changes of life.

6. What duties have they to discharge to their children ?
They ought to provide well for them, to teach them to labor,

to educate them carefully, and to treat them as beings who enjoy
the same rights as all men. In their moral conduct they ought to
be their models.

7. What are, especially, the obligations of the hu.sband ?

He is obliged to afford his family food, clothing, shelter, pro-
tection, honor, and comfort.

■^This paragraph i.s inserted for such children as are more advanced in age and education.


8. What are the wife's reasonable duties ?

She ought to arrange and manage prudently the household, and
to try to ease the cares and troubles of the husband by kind be-

9. In what condition of life does man usually best fulfill the
objects of life ?

In matrimony.

10. Why should polygamy be reprobated?

Because it hurts generally the moral feelings of our age, violates
the customs of the most civilized nations on earth, and degrades
the dignity of the wife.

^ 34. 5.— Contract of Service— Indenture of Apprenticeship.

1. What do servants owe their employes?

They owe them obedience, application, faithfulness and economy.

2. How ought they to consider themselves?

They ought to consider themselves as members of the family.

How ouglit they to behave?

They ought to take a heartfelt interest in the prosperous and ad-
verse fate of the family, and to discharge their obligations not from
greediness of wages, but induced by benevolence towards their

3. What are the duties of the employers towards their servants
and employes ?

They ought to do justice to them by performing strictly the
conditions of their mutual contract, especially by giving them
their due wages. Besides, they ought not to overcharge them with
needless work.

4. What more ought they to do ?

They ought to treat their servants with meekness and affability,
to avoid harsh, morose manners towards them, and to grant them
harmless pleasures.

Why ought employers to act in this manner ?

Because servants are also human beings, like their masters, born
with the same titles to life, liberty, and happiness.

5. For what ought masters not to employ their apprentices ?
They ought not to employ them for by-work, but let them per-
form the task of their vocation.


What other duties have masters to fulfill towards them ?

The sauie duties which employers generally have to perform
toward their inferiors.

6. In what cases is it wrong to employ children in factories and
workshops ?

When their bodies have not yet obtained the necessary strength,
and their minds have not yet received a sufficient measure of school-

To what do parents who hire out such children become acces-
sory ?

They become accessory to the injustice inflicted upon their
children by the employers.

The most important of all contracts, the social or State contract,
deserves a closer examination.

//. Public Rights and Ditties {State


§ 35. First Principles.

1. In the Declaration of Independence of the United States of
America, the following principles are proclaimed : '* We hold
these truths to be self-evident : That all men are created equal ;
that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable
rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of hap-
piness. That, to secure these rights. Governments are instituted
among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the

2. Liberty, civilization and prosperity for all !

§ 36. General Definitions.

1 . What is a State ?

K State is a spontaneous union of men, who are living under the
same laws, in equal social relations.

2. What is the object of their union ?

The object is the welfare of all the members in as high a degree
as possible ; particularly their mutual protection.

In what way is this end to be attained ?
By mutual assistance.

3. What is a State contract (social contract) ?

It is the contract to which the members of a State agree explic-
itly or tacitly among themselves, in order to secure that end.

4. Why are social contracts necessary?

■ Because the voices of conscience and sympathy are often too
feeble to induce man to perform his duty, e. g., to pay a debt.
To the merely moral motives the fear of coercion and punishment
must be joined. In the state of nature. Right cannot always be
enforced. Therefore, a power must be created which man, who
has to fulfill an obligation cannot resist.

Where does such a power exist ?

In the State.

5. What advantages does the State afford to man ?

The State is the safest foundation of Right ; it promotes the
welfare of all its constituents, and the general civilization of the

6. What is needed in every State ?

In every State a Government and Laws are needed.

7. Are Governments ever instituted by God's grace ?

No ; but every Government derives its power from the expressed
or tacit consent of the people.

8. Of what kind can the Government of a State be?

It can be either republican, or aristocratical, or monarchical.

9. When is a Government republican (democratic) ?
When the people govern themselves.

When is it an aristocracy ? *•

When the higher castes (the nobility, or the richest families)
are governing.

When is it monarchical ?

When only one person rules the State.

What is a hierarchy (theocracy)?

A State in which the priests control the (iovernment.

By what law do the sovereigns in monarchies for the most part
hold their power ?

By the law of hereditary succession.


Into what pernicious form is the Government of a monarchy apt
to degenerate ?

To despotism and tyranny.

10. Why ought the people to govern themselves?
Because the welfare of all citizens demands it.
What are a people called who govern themselves ?
The sovereigns (supreme rulers of the State).

11. When is the form of Government strictly democratic?
When the laws are given by the whole people; i. e., when each

man casts a vote.

For what States is this kind of democracy proper?

Only for small ones.

In what manner must the people govern themselves in larger
States ?

By representatives.

What right ought the people to reserve to themselves in choos-
ing their representatives, even if they fill the highest offices?

The rights to recall them whenever they do not act according to
their commission ; also the right to approve or to reject bills and
resolutions of very high importance.

12. How many branches does the power of Government com-
prise ?

It comprises three branches, to wit : the legislative, the execu-
tive, and the judiciary.

Do people for legislation need two chambers, and for adminis-
tration a President ?

One chamber suffices, and the executive power ought to be in-
vested in a commission ; for an upper chamber (a Senate) is a
relic of aristocratical institutions, and the Presidency is a copy of

What does the jurisprudence of our age teach with regard to
these three branches ?

It teaches that they ought to be separated, and each administered
independently of the others.

13. Whose duty is it to select the State officers ?
It is the duty of the people themselves.

Should they be elected for life?


They ought to be chosen only for shorter or longer terms.

14. What are the rights and functions of the legislative body?

The legislative body makes the general laws of the country ; im-
poses the necessary taxes, declares war, makes peace, and forms
alliances with other States, coins money for the use of the State, etc.

15. What is meant by the Constitution of a State?

By it those laws are meant which regulate the fundamental rights
and duties of the citizens of the State.

Must the Constitution of a State be always the same? No; it
ought to be amended from time to time, according to the changed
condition of the State.

§ 37.— Duties of the State (Government).

1. What is the duty of the State with regard to the private
rights of its citizens?

The State ought to render all the private rights of its citizens

2. Especially with regard to life?

It showld protect life against the attacks of domestic and foreign

3. With regard to health ?

It should keep away influences obnoxious to health, and protect
it by a controlling supervision of factories, provisions, and dwell-
ings. It ought also to prohibit the overwork of children for in-
dustrial purposes.

4. What other rights of its citizens ought it to secure ?
Their personal and religious liberty, their property and honor,

their right to assemble peaceably, and to petition the Government
for a redress of grievances, the liberty of speech and of the press.

5. Has the State the right to teach religion ?

It has no right to teach religion, nor to enjoin upon its members
what creed they shall profess ; because, by doing so, it restricts
their liberty of thought (cf. § 27).

What more results from that liberty ?

The State Government has no right fo establish a State Church,
to command what day the citizens ought to sanctify, and in what
manner they ought to do so. It has no right to appoint chaplains,
to establish religious festivals and fast-days, or to enjoin the judi-


cial uath u[.>on the Bible or in any religious form. Nor has it the
right to permit the use of the Bible, or other sectarian books in
the public schools. Instead of the Bible, human rights and duties
ought to be taught.

6. In what manner ought justice to be administered ?

It ought to be administered early, firmly, impartially, publicly,
so as to help the poor as well as the rich to his right, gratuitously,
at the State's expense. Juries ought to be instituted.

7. What duty has the State to discharge with regard to public
education ?

It ought to care for the best education of the people, mingled
with wholesome labor.

What institutions should it found to this end ?

The best schools, where every one, without distinction of sex,
both the poor and the rich, gratuitously receives the most perfect
physical and mental cultivation. Also to the higher institutes every
one ought to have free admission, without distinction of descent,
sex, or wealth. It ought also to provide for public libraries and

Who should meet the expenses of the public instruction ?

All citizens unitedly, by equable taxation.

May the tuition money of the State be divided among sects?

No ; for the public schools are secular institutions.

Why ought the State to provide for the education of the citizens ?

Because the people are the sovereigns, and if ignorant, and lack-
ing civilization, are unable to govern themselves.

For what other reason ought the State to educate the citizens ?

Because many crimes originate in their want of a good educa-

How ought education to be conducted with regard to mental
development and Progress?

It ought to keep pace with the Progress of the Age.

What is the State's duty toward parents who neglect the educa-
tion of their children ?

It is its duty to compel them to perform that obligation.

What should it do in regard to the arts and sciences ?

It should foster and encourage their culture.


S. What duty is incumbent upon the State in regard to public
morals ?

It ought to superintend them, and to tbrbid and punish actions
which corrupt them, e. g., extravagance, intoxication, games of
hazzard, immoral exhibitions and publications.

Are temperance-laws needed?

No ; for they are useless measures of coercion against those,
against whom they are directed, and insulting restiictions of the
personal liberty of those who do not need them.

9. What is its duty with regard to trade, traffic, and improve-

It ought to advance commerce, trade, and agriculture, to build
public roads, to regulate measures and weights, and to check usury.

ID. For what objects should the public revenues be spent?

Only for the common welfare.

11. Is the Government permitted to grant exclusive privileges
to any single class of citizens ?

No ! All ought to enjoy equal rights according to Law, also
women, children, and colored people.

To what professions, occupations, and offices should the female
sex be privileged ?

To all those for which women are capable.

Why, especially, ought women to enjoy the right of public
suffrage ?

Because women must pay taxes, like men.

Is it just to subject the minority to the will of the majority ?

No ; for the laws cannot have general validity, but by the general
consent, since all citizens hold the same rights.

12. With what dictates ought the laws of a country to be in
accordance ?

With the dictates of Reason and natural Law.

What, then, ought to be done with defective laws ?

They ought to be abrogated or amended. The best legal right
is often the greatest wrong, if considered in the light of natural
Right, e. g., slavery, disfranchisment of woman, and, in several
countries, the very disproportionate division of land,

13. How ought State officers to deport themselves?

They should try to discharge faithfully and assiduously the duties
of their offices.

§ 38— Continuation— Lisposition of State Land.

Since universal welfare is the object of life in a State, what is the
duty of the State ?

It is to take care that every one without hindrance can acquire
a competence if he has ability to do so.

Whose condition ought the Government to aim to alleviate ?

The condition of' the poor, of the proletaries, and laborers.
The rich can help themselves. Originally all things were free.
Then the earth was divided in order that it could be cultivated,
and that fighting for its possession might be avoided. But the par-
tition was arranged on the tacit condition that the State would pro-
cure the ways and means for the distressed to acquire a living in
keeping with man's dignity. The State is to aim at filling the
chasm which lies between abundance and misery, and, therefore,
to protect the weak, and to restrict the strong. Many times, also,
lands were conquered and their inhabitants deprived of them by
force of arms. There are countries in which there are only few
landed proprietors, and the great majority of the inhabitants have
no real property. Such an organization of State is a most atro-.
cious wrong, All men still have the same right to possess the
earth, because they all enjoy, by nature, equal rights.

Does not land become the property of the first occupant ?

No, not without the consent of the rest of men ; for it is their
common property.

Does it not become his property, if he cultivates it ?

By its culture he acquires, at best, the right to collect the frui^
of his industry ; but the soil itself does not become his property.

What follows from the nature of equal rights of all ?

It follows that the State is the rightful owner of all the land.

What duty of the present landed proprietors is to be inferred
from that principle?

The duty to re-cede the land they possess to the State, if the
State orders it so.

Would it be just to drive them by force from the land ?

I 26

No, because they have acquired it in a legal way, by purchase,
inheritance, etc.

What expedients have been proposed in order to remedy the
disproportion in the possession of property?

It has been proposed to distribute the land among all in equal
parcels, or to procure work for the working classes by the efforts
of the State, or to support them by general poor-taxes, to shelter
them in work and poor houses, to assess high taxes on heritages,
etc. All these expedients have been tried.

Has good success followed these experiments?

No !

What is, from the standpoint of Natural Rights, the only way
to acquire landed property?

The State redeems the land of its actual possessors: they cede
it to it, and for their loss they are recompensed according to the
law of equity. Thereby the State becomes the real possessor of
the whole territory. Any citizen who wishes to get land, then
takes a piece at rent from the State for a fixed time, on certain
conditions ; he pays the State his rent out of the earnings of his
labor, and the balance is his own.*

§ 39. Conclusion— Disposition of Heritages— Belief of the Condi-
tion of Workmen and Proletaries.

What part of lands ought the State to reserve ?

Such an one as it wants for general institutions, namely for pub-
lic roads, for publicbuildings, forests, etc.

Ought the tenant to be permitted to lease a part of the land he
holds by rent, to others ?

No ; otherwise the poor would again fall a prey to the leasor.

What precaution ought the State to take in order to prevent the
insecurity of possession ?

It warrants the tenant and his immediate descendents the poses-
sion for as long time as they cultivate the soil ; else they might be
forcibly obliged to quit it.

*Cf. Herb. Spencer, "Social Statistics," (pp. 131-159), and Louis Buechner, "Stellung des
Menschen in der Natur," (pp. 251-290), the principles of whom are the foundation of the new
school of Socialism, and are representeil in this section. Thi; further proposals of reform, fol-
lowing after this note, in g 39, are communicated by Ch. Hinzen, and other liber^»' Writers.
But the former thinks that lor such reforms still the course of many years is required', and that
in monarchies tli.y can only be effected by the way of revolution.


How should the State dispose of all public lands which are not
brought under cultivation up to a certain time ?

Online LibraryHermann Marcus KottingerThe youth's liberal guide for their moral culture and religious enlightenment → online text (page 9 of 28)