Eichhorn, Karl Friedrich

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Eichhorn, Karl Friedrich


Born Nov. 20, 1781, in Jena; died July 4,1854, in Cologne. German jurist and historian of law; one of the main representatives of the historical school of law.

Eichhorn was a professor in Frankfurt an der Oder from 1805 to 1811, in Berlin from 1811 to 1813, in Göttingen from 1816 to 1829, and again in Berlin from 1832 to 1847. His main scholarly work was the History of the German State and Law (1808–23).

Eichhorn was one of the founders of the historical school of law, which drew on all the sources available to scholarship at that time. He traced the development of Germanic law, as well as the history of state institutions and of some social institutions, from ancient times to 1815. He believed that the state and law are a product of organic development rather than arbitrary acts of legislators and that the nature of the state and legal systems is determined by the “folk spirit.”

Eichhorn’s outlook was strictly conservative. He was hostile to French bourgeois institutions, and he defended Germanic law, which was derived from feudalism. Eichhorn considered the communal mark, the aristocracy, and retainership to be original German institutions.


Deutsche Staats- und Rechsgeschichte, parts 1–4, 5th ed. Göttingen, 1843–44.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.