Free Conservative Party

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The Free Conservative Party (German: Freikonservative Partei, FKP) was a liberal-conservative[1][2] political party in Prussia and the German Empire which emerged from the Prussian Conservative Party in the Prussian Landtag in 1866. In the federal elections to the Reichstag parliament from 1871, it ran as the German Reich Party (German: Deutsche Reichspartei, DRP). DRP was classified as centrist or centre-right by political standards at the time, and it also put forward the slogan "conservative progress".[3]

Free Conservative Party
Freikonservative Partei
Historic leaderVictor I, Duke of Ratibor
Founded1867 (1867)
Dissolved1918 (1918)
Split fromPrussian Conservative Party
Succeeded byDNVP (right-wing factions)
DVP (moderate factions)
HeadquartersBerlin, Prussia
NewspaperDie Post
IdeologyLiberal conservatism
Progressive conservatism
Political Protestantism
East Elbia regionalism
German nationalism
Agrarianism
Political positionCentre to centre-right
Colors  Yellow

The Free Conservative Association achieved party status in 1867, comprising German nobles and East Elbian Junkers (land owners) like Duke Victor of Ratibor and Karl Rudolf Friedenthal, industrialists and government officials like Johann Viktor Bredt, Hermann von Hatzfeldt, Hermann von Dechend, Prince Karl Max von Lichnowsky or General Hans Hartwig von Beseler and scholars like Hans Delbrück and Otto Hoetzsch.

It was distinguished from the German Conservative Party established in 1876 by its unqualified support of German unification and was seen as the political party which beside the National Liberals was closest in views to those of Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, including his Anti-Socialist Laws and Kulturkampf policies. The party was generally dominated by conservative industrialists and while it opposed political liberalism it also tended to support free trade and the development of industry. Upon the accession of Emperor Wilhelm II in 1888, the party backed his naval policies and the formation of the German colonial empire, approaching towards the German nationalist Pan-German League pressure group while centrists like Adolf Grabowsky did not prevail.

The party disbanded in November 1918 following the end of the Hohenzollern monarchy and the German Revolution. Several members had supported the formation of the German Fatherland Party in 1917, now most of its constituency turned to the newly established German National People's Party while some also joined the national liberal German People's Party.

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  1. ^ Philip G. Dwyer, ed. (2014). Modern Prussian History: 1830-1947. Routledge. p. 93. ISBN 9781317887003. The liberal conservatism of the parliamentary group around Bethmann—Hollweg would later appear in the FreiKonservative Partei.
  2. ^ Marco E.L. Guidi, Massimo M. Augello, ed. (2014). Economists in Parliament in the Liberal Age: (1848–1920). Routledge. p. 93. ISBN 9781351941778. ... FK: Freikonservative Partei (Liberal Conservative Party); FrVp: Freisinnige Volkspartei (Liberal People's Party); K: Konservative Partei (Conservative Party); Linke (Left); Linkes Zentrum (Left Centre); ...
  3. ^ Ido de Haan, Matthijs Lok, ed. (2019). The Politics of Moderation in Modern European History. Springer Nature. p. 121. Conservative centrists even adopted positivist ideas of progress. For example, the Prussian Free Conservative Party (Freikonservative Partei) launched the slogan of 'conservative progress' in 1867 and, in the same year, ...