Justus Möser

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Möser, Justus


Born Dec. 14, 1720, in Osnabruck; died there Jan. 8, 1794. German publicist; historian. A high official of the German principality of Osnabruck.

MÖser’s publicistic works, published in the collection Patriotic Fantasies (vols. 1-4, 1774-78), which were filled with patriotic ideas, played a considerable role in the struggle for the affirmation of a German national culture and contributed to the awakening of the national consciousness of the German people. Moser considered the main force of history to be the common people, especially the peasantry. In his historical works he expressed productive ideas on the need to consider the history of society in the organic interrelationship of all its institutions. On the whole, however, his historical views were extremely conservative. He idealized the old Germanic and early medieval society in Germany.

Although MÖser was the first in German historiography to pose the problem of the original forms of settlement of the old Germanic tribes (in his main historical work, History of Osnabruck, 1768), he developed the thesis that the Germanic tribes settled from the very beginning in individual farmsteads and were full owners of their land; he thus denied the communal social order and communal land tenure in the old Germanic and early medieval society. K. Marx sharply criticized Moser’s reactionary views (see K. Marx and F. Engels, Sock, 2nd ed., vol. 32, p. 36).


Kosminskii, E. A. Istoriografiia srednikh vekov. Moscow, 1963.
Streisand, J. Geschichtliches Denken von der deutschen Frühaufkldrung bis zur Klassik. Berlin, 1964.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The respect of both Goethe and Herder for Lessing is of course sufficiently examined, but we are also reminded of names such as Helfrich Peter Sturz, Heinrich Christian Boie, and Justus Moser, all of whom either met of corresponded with Lessing.
In addition to Werner Sombart, Georg Lukacs, John Maynard Keynes, and Herbert Marcuse- -ardent and moderate critics of capitalism--Muller looks at conservative detractors like Justus Moser and Matthew Arnold.
3277), includes selections from Hume, Burke, and Justus Moser. Muller's attempt to fold conservatism into an Enlightenment heritage, rather than accentuating a possible counter-Enlightenment lineage for it, obviously diminishes its non-Anglo-American and "radical conservative" facets.
Among these are Plastik (1778), which outlines his metaphysics; Abhandlung uber den Ursprung der Sprache (1772; "Essay on the Origin of Language"), which finds the origin of language in human nature; an essay on William Shakespeare; and "Auszug aus einem Briefwechsel uber Ossian und die Lieder alter Volker" (1773; "Extract from a Correspondence About Ossian and the Songs of Ancient Peoples"), published in a manifesto to which Goethe and Justus Moser, a forerunner of Sturm und Drang, also contributed.