Friedrich Karl Von Savigny

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Savigny, Friedrich Karl Von


Born Feb. 21, 1779, in Frankfurt am Main; died Oct. 25, 1861, in Berlin. German legal scholar.

Savigny was a professor at the University of Berlin from 1810 to 1842. From 1842 to 1848 he headed a department for the revision of Prussian statutes. Savigny gained renown as the author of numerous works on Roman and civil law and as a prominent representative of the historical school of law. In his major work On the Vocation of Our Age for Legislation and Jurisprudence (1814), he viewed law as an embodiment of a certain mystical and spontaneously developing “national spirit.” Savigny was opposed to the codification of German civil law, considering such a step premature. He felt that since law did not derive from state power it could not be established by legislation. In Savigny’s opinion, the task of legal scholars was to disclose the “consciousness of the people” and to bring current legislation into accord with this consciousness.

The idea of the continuity of historical development proposed by Savigny was combined with a negative evaluation of revolutionary upheavals in history. This combination imparted to Savigny’s concepts a reactionary cast.


Istoriiapoliticheskikh uchenii, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1971. Pages 264–66.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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A descendant of the famous jurisprudent of German Romanticism, Friedrich Karl von Savigny, he lived from 1900 to 1967, studied law -- as the son of a well-to-do family -- but never practiced it or ever occupied a stable position.