Police and the Social Order in German Cities

Police and the Social Order in German Cities

Spencer traces the formation and development of large bureaucratic police forces in the cities of the Dusseldorf district, the northernmost subdivision of the Prussian Rhine province. Following the revolutions of 1848-1849 and prior to World War I, urbanization, industrialization, and a changing cultural, political, and social dynamic helped justify a dramatic increase in the size of urban police forces. As the bureaucracy of law enforcement grew, uniformed patrolmen became highly visible and often resented representatives of governmental authority. Drawing primarily on archival sources, including police records, Spencer presents a detailed study of the police--the men who joined the forces, their activities, and their relationships with the citizens they served and with government authorities. Spencer shows how the emergence of the police as an instrument of state power in German Central Europe reveals changing values and social relationships and new patterns of interaction between the bureaucracy and society. In presenting the history of German urban law enforcement during the years of state development between 1848 and 1914, Spencer begins with a brief overview of Prussian absolutism and civilian policing in the nineteenth century prior to 1848. She then focuses on the development of the police forces in the Dosseldorf district--analyzing such factors as industrialization, urban life, and crime--and examines policing actions and the role of the police in shaping popular perceptions of the state. The study concludes with the beginning of World War I, when the composition and challenges of urban police forces were significantly transformed. Spencer provides much needed information about law enforcement and the state during a crucial time in German history. Her study will serve as an important resource for scholars of law enforcement, the development of the state, and urban history.

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ISBN 9780875801704
Pages 245 pages
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