Cyclopædia of Political Science, Political Economy, and the Political History of the United States
LÜBECK, a free Hanseatic city, situated on the Baltic sea, and forming part of the German empire. This city formerly possessed considerable importance; it was for four years the capital of the Hanseatic league, extending its influence from London to Novogorod, and from Bergen in Norway to the commercial cities of the Rhine and the Danube. But this brilliant epoch in its history has long passed away. Lübeck was, at the close of the year 1882, a city of 50,979 souls, (in 1857 it had 26,672 in the city and 4,045 in the suburbs), and the state does not contain in its entire extent (about 127 square miles) but 63,448 inhabitants.
—Lübeck is known as a seaport, and commerce and navigation form its chief industry. This commerce may be estimated at about $50,000,000 a year, imports and exports combined, and over 2,200 vessels enter and sail from its port; in this number are included the arrival and departure of two steamboats daily during the summer months. Fifty ships constitute the force of its merchant marine, thirty of which are steamships.
—The political constitution of Lübeck was relatively aristocratic down to the year 1848. While many of the fundamental laws of Germany were being modified through the influence of the French revolution, those of Lübeck also were amended. Since Dec. 23, 1851, a new constitution has been in force in the old Hanseatic capital, the essential provisions of which we give herewith.
—The governing power is vested in a senate composed of fourteen members chosen from the citizens of Lübeck, but in such manner that six of the number shall be lawyers and five merchants. The president of this body is styled the burgomaster. During the two years of their term of office, the senators in turn fill the different public offices. The burgesses, one hundred and twenty in number, are elected for six years by their fellow citizens, who are all voters and all eligible to office. The consent of the burgesses is necessary to validate changes in the constitution, to pass or abrogate a law, to impose taxes, to allow the public exercise of an unrecognized form of worship, etc. Finally, the burgesses have a right to share in the management of the public revenue, in that of the churches and of charitable institutions. The burgesses assemble six times a year, and in addition as often as the senate or one-fourth of the deputies (burgesses) require it. A committee of thirty members, chosen from among its own members and elected for two years, meets every fifteen days, and to this committee the senate refers all matters to be discussed by the burgesses; the committee is authorized to decide questions of administration, and other matters of little importance. When the senate and the burgesses can not agree upon the interpretation of a law, they submit the matter to the arbitration of a higher court of appeal, of which there is one in common for the four free cities of Germany, or, in case of urgent necessity, to the decision of a mixed commission, composed of senators and deputies.
—The administration of this little state is, for the most part, intrusted to senators or deputies, and the different branches of the service are organized on a footing of rational economy. Lutheranism is the religion of the greater part of the population, but it enjoys no special privileges; liberty of conscience is guaranteed to every citizen.
—The revenues of the free city amounted, in 1880, to 2,739,381 marks. The public or state debt amounted, in 1879, to 23,486,045 marks.
—BIBLIOGRAPHY. Becker, Geschichte der Stadt Lübeck, 3 vols., Lübeck, 1782-1805; Behrens. Topographie and Statistik von Lübeck und dem Amte Bergedorf, 2 vols., Lübeck, 1829-39, 2d ed., 1856; Deecke, Geschichte der Stadt Lübeck, Lübeck, 1844, and Die freie und Hansestadt Lübeck, 2d ed., Lübeck, 1854; Waitz, Lübeck unter Jürgen Wullenueber, 3 vols., Berlin, 1855-9; Klug, Geschichte Lübecks während der Vereinigung mitdem franz. Kaiserreiche, Lübeck, 1857; Pauli, Lübeckische zustände im Mittelalter, 2 vols., Lübeck, 1847-72; Urkundenbuch der Stadt Lübeck, vols. 1-5, Lübeck, 1843-76.
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