Arnold Ruge

Arnold Ruge

German writer and philosopher.
Date of Birth: 13.09.1802
Country: Germany

Biography of Arnold Ruge

Arnold Ruge was a German writer and philosopher. He was born to Christoph Arnold Ruge, a land manager, and his wife Katarina Sophie Wilken. After successfully completing school in 1821 in Stralsund, Ruge enrolled at the University of Halle to study philosophy. In 1822, he transferred to the University of Jena and studied there until 1823. He then moved to the University of Heidelberg, where he was arrested and later sentenced in the spring of 1824 as a member of a secret prohibited union called the "Union of the Young." Ruge was a key member of this secret society, which was exposed by the authorities in early 1824.

After a year-long investigation, Ruge was sentenced to 15 years of imprisonment in the fortress of Kolberg by the Supreme Court of Wroclaw in 1826. He remained there in captivity until he was pardoned by the king in the spring of 1830. During his pretrial detention, Ruge actively studied the classics, translating works by Theocritus, Aeschylus, and Sophocles into original poetic meters, as well as imitating texts in the style of John Paul, mimicking English humorists.

After his release in 1830, Ruge obtained a teaching position and defended his doctoral dissertation on "Platonic Aesthetics" the following year. Until 1836, he worked as a private lecturer. In 1832, he married Louisa Duffer, who soon gave birth to their son Robert (born in 1834). Shortly after their son's birth, Louisa Duffer passed away, and Ruge married Agnes Wilhelmine Nicke later that same year. They had two daughters, Hedwig (born in 1837) and Francisca (born in 1849), and a son, Arnold (born in 1843).

Ruge wrote articles and contributed to the "Literary Conversations" pamphlets. He advocated for freedom of the press, the establishment of popular sovereignty, and more. He quickly became one of the active Young Hegelians. During this time, Ruge became acquainted with Theodor Echtermeyer, with whom he co-founded the "Annuals of German Art and Science" in January 1838. The annuals quickly became an important critical organ for the Young Hegelians, with notable contributors such as Ludwig Feuerbach, David Friedrich Strauss, Herman Franck, and the Grimm brothers.

In the spring of 1841, the Prussian government began censoring and banning the "Annuals" due to their liberal stance. Ruge was forced to move the editorial office from Halle to Dresden and change the name to "German Annuals of Science and Art." However, the Minister of the Interior, Dr. Johann Paul von Falkenstein, also revoked the license for this journal. Ruge then settled in Switzerland, which allowed the "Annuals" to continue being published there. In 1843, Ruge moved to Paris, where he became highly interested in socialism and also met Karl Marx. Together, they initially published the "German-French Annuals." In 1844, they collaborated on a new journal called "Vorwärts!" - "Forward!" However, in winter 1844, Ruge parted ways with Marx as they could not agree on the journal's overall political direction. Ruge distanced himself from communism and advocated for a bourgeois-democratic republic.

From September 1846, Ruge lived and worked in Zurich, where he closely collaborated with Julius Fröbel. With Fröbel's assistance, they published the "Letters of Junius" (Junius was Fröbel's pseudonym). In Zurich, Ruge also laid the foundation for his own edition of works, which were later published in Mannheim. In the spring of 1847, Ruge returned to Germany, settled in Leipzig, and became a book dealer. His bookstore included a small publishing house that, under Ruge's guidance, published texts on current political events. One of the most important books was the "Academy - A Philosophical Pocket Book," which first appeared in 1848. Other authors published by this house included Gustav Freytag, Julius Fröbel, Friedrich Gerstäcker, Friedrich Hebbel, Georg Herwegh, Moritz Hartmann, and Ludwig Seger.

Ruge's friendship with Ludwig Feuerbach quickly became influential in shaping his political views. In 1848, Ruge welcomed the February Revolution in France and desired the same political transformation for Germany. To have a platform for promoting his demands, Ruge founded the journal "Reform," which from the beginning became the voice of German democracy.

After the start of the March Revolution in 1848, he was elected from Breslau to the Frankfurt National Assembly, where he took a place among the far left but quickly proved himself to be an impractical theorist. He did, however, make a noteworthy demand for the self-determination of Poland and Italy at the session on July 29, 1848. Soon, Ruge became politically disillusioned and left for Berlin. As a result, he was declared an outlaw by the National Assembly.

In Berlin, Ruge became a member of the Democratic Union and participated in the development of the pre-election program of the Radical Democratic Party of Germany in October 1848. At the same time, in October 1848, he attended the Democratic Congress in Berlin to elevate his newspaper "Reform" to the status of a democratic organ. However, the ensuing siege led to the closure of the newspaper, and on January 21, 1849, Ruge was forced to leave Berlin.

Ruge returned to Leipzig and actively participated in the revolutionary events of March. After their suppression, Ruge went into hiding with his family, fleeing through Brussels to Brighton. From there, he was brought to London by Giuseppe Mazzini. Ruge, Giuseppe Mazzini, Lajos Kossuth, and Alexandre Ledru-Rollin began working on the creation of a new bourgeois-democratic opposition. This "European Committee" aimed to establish a pan-European republic.

From 1866, Ruge began to distance himself more and more from this political stance and leaned towards the politics of Otto von Bismarck. In the Battle of Königgrätz on July 3, 1866, Ruge saw, according to his own statement, the "beginning of Prussia's future in Europe." By personal order of Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, Ruge was granted an annual honorary pension of 3,000 imperial marks in recognition of his services to Prussian politics from 1877.

Arnold Ruge passed away on December 31, 1880, in Brighton at the age of over 78. He was buried there. The majority of his legacy is housed in the International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam.