Skip to main content

Stein, Karl, Freiherr vom und zum

Karl Stein, Freiherr vom und zum (kärl frī´hĕr fəm ŏŏnt tsŏŏm shtīn), 1757–1831, Prussian statesman and reformer. Rising through the Prussian bureaucracy, he became minister of commerce (1804–7) but was dismissed by King Frederick William III for his attempts to increase the power of the heads of the ministries. He was recalled (1807) as chief minister after Prussia's defeat by the French only to be dismissed again (1808) on pressure by Napoleon I. An exile in Russia, Stein helped to bring about the Russo-Prussian alliance of 1813 and returned to prominence as chief administrator of the reconquered and newly conquered Prussian provinces, following the Wars of Liberation against Napoleon. His hopes for a united Germany were disappointed at the Congress of Vienna, and his role after 1815, when Prussia turned to reaction, was not prominent. Few men have achieved as many radical and successful reforms in so peaceful a manner and in such difficult circumstances as did Baron Stein. His chief reforms were carried out in 1807–8, when Prussia was a defeated nation and a virtual dependency of France. They were continued by K. A. von Hardenberg after Stein's exile, and they were forwarded by such men as Gerhard von Scharnhorst in the military field and Wilhelm von Humboldt in the educational system. Before Stein's reforms Prussia was still a semifeudal state. Stein caused the king to abolish serfdom and the estate system by the Edict of 1807. The law ended the restrictions against the sale to burghers of land owned by nobles; those restrictions had had disastrous effects on Prussian economy, for the nobles lacked the capital to till their land properly. The edict also opened all trades and professions to all classes. Stein instituted local self-government in towns, cities, and provinces. His administration transformed Prussia into a modern state and enabled it to play its leading role in the eventual unification of Germany. Stein was also responsible for the publication, beginning in 1826, of the Monumenta Germaniae Historica, which became the model for editions of national historical documents.

See biography by Sir John R. Seeley (3 vol., 1878, repr. 1968); G. S. Ford, Stein and the Era of Reform in Prussia (1922, repr. 1965); R. C. Raack, The Fall of Stein (1965).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Stein, Karl, Freiherr vom und zum." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Stein, Karl, Freiherr vom und zum." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 20, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/stein-karl-freiherr-vom-und-zum

"Stein, Karl, Freiherr vom und zum." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved October 20, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/stein-karl-freiherr-vom-und-zum

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.