Marx and Engels in Neue Rheinische Zeitung June 1848

The Camphausen Government

Source: MECW Volume 7, p. 39;
Written: by Marx on June 3, 1848;
First published: in the Neue Rheinische Zeitung No. 4, June 4, 1848.

Cologne, June 3. It is well known that the French National Assembly of 1789 was preceded by an assembly of notables which was composed of the estates like the Prussian United Diet. In the decree by which he convoked the National Assembly, Minister Necker referred to the expressed desire of the notables to call together the Estates-General. Thus, Minister Necker held a significant advantage over Minister Camphausen. He did not have to wait for the storming of the Bastille or the overthrow of the absolute monarchy in order afterwards to link the old and new in a doctrinaire fashion so that he could laboriously maintain the illusion that France had achieved the new Constituent Assembly by the legal machinery of the old constitution. He possessed still other advantages. He was Minister of France and not Minister of Lorraine and Alsace, whereas Herr Camphausen is not Minister of Germany but Minister of Prussia. And in spite of all these advantages Minister Necker did not succeed in transforming a revolutionary movement into a tranquil reform. The serious malady could not be cured by attar of roses. [Heinrich Heine, Deutschland. Ein Wintermärchen] Herr Camphausen will succeed even less in changing the character of the movement by an artificial theory that draws a straight line of succession between his Ministry and the old conditions which prevailed in the Prussian monarchy. No device can transform the March revolution and the German revolutionary movement as a whole into incidents of more or less consequence. Was Louis Philippe elected King of the French became he was a Bourbon?

Was he chosen although he was a Bourbon? One may remember that this question divided the parties shortly after the July revolution.[32] And what did the question prove? It proved that the revolution itself was called in question and that the interests of the new ruling class and its political representatives were not the interests of the revolution.

The same significance must be ascribed to the statement of Herr Camphausen that his Government had been brought into the world not by the March revolution but after the March revolution.