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Born May 1, 1805, in Königsberg (now Kaliningrad); died there Mar. 6, 1877. German democrat.
In the early 1840’s Jacoby, a physician by profession, joined the liberal bourgeois opposition to the absolutist Prussian regime and became a leader of its left wing. In his journalistic writings of this period he advocated the right of the people to take part in government. During the Revolution of 1848–49 in Germany, Jacoby was a leader of the leftists in the Prussian National Assembly. In the 1860’s he joined the party of the “progressives.” He criticized, from a bourgeois radical standpoint, O. von Bismarck’s policy on the unification of Germany.
In 1872, Jacoby publicly announced his allegiance to the social democratic movement. In 1874, as a member of the Social Democratic Party, he was elected to the Reichstag; he gave up his seat, however, in protest against the reactionary character of the Reichstag. K. Marx and F. Engels held Jacoby in high esteem as a democrat who aligned himself with the working-class movement, but they criticized his positions on numerous issues, particularly his inconsistency on the matter of working-class participation in parliamentary activity.
REFERENCESMarx, K., and F. Engels. Soch., 2nd ed., vols. 4–6, 8,12, and 31–33. (See Name Index.)
Lenin, V. I. Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 39, p. 18.
Silberner, E. J. Jacoby: Politiker und Mensch. Bonn-Bad Godesberg, 1976.