Friedrich Karl Von Savigny
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.