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The Ponytail, The Enthusiast, And The Enlightened Public Sphere

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Chapter Summary

Using the controversies in which Johann Heinrich Schulz and Friedrich Wilhelm Brumbey were embroiled as a window onto elite attitudes toward the masses, this chapter argues that members of Prussia's service elite-irrespective of whether they were devoted to enlightened autonomy or statist reform-cultivated an intellectual world that expressly excluded the uneducated, lower classes from public discussion. Before entering into the cases themselves, however, it considers in more detail the relationship of Prussia's official Enlightenment to the public sphere in the eighteenth century. The chapter makes two fundamental points. First, although historians of Prussia have understood both edicts as reactions against enlightened print debate, both were really concerned with maintaining stability in the oral realm. Second, and more generally, print had neither subverted the state nor had the state attacked print debate. The public battle was over who would control religious speech in Prussia.

Keywords: Enlightenment; Friedrich Wilhelm Brumbey; Johann Heinrich Schulz; print debate; Prussia; public sphere



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