Subproject B04 — Security of the State and Security from the State
in Europe, Russia and the United States in the 19th Century



Figure: Depiction of the murder of Kotzebue in 1819
(Contemporary coloured copperplate)

Protecting leading political figures and their advisors has always been a key mission of internal security. The profound changes that took place around 1800 during the “saddle period” (Reinhart Koselleck) presented great challenges to the ruling security regime. The development of alternative models of political order meant that heads of state, government leaders and elected representatives became the targets of attack as figureheads of the political systems they represented and sustained. Against this backdrop, this sub-project will explore how security policy in those societies first and most directly affected by the changes in the saddle period – Europe, Russia and the United States – responded to the collective and personal violence that was an immanent element in the rise of bourgeois society and the formation of the nation state.

Figure: Regimental Foot Guard, 1812

The project thus addresses the security measures employed by heads of state, governments, leading politicians, and affected population groups in response to the revolutions, counterrevolutions, and uprisings that took place around 1800 in attempts to protect themselves and the social order. The sub-project will cover the period from around 1770 to 1830 – thus from the Ancien Régime through the revolutionary era and the time of the revolution and Napoleonic wars until the Congress of Vienna and the Restoration period. 

The concrete focus of the sub-project will be the emergency and development of the security regime in the revolution and restoration. One research study as part of the subproject will compare security practices and cultures in the American and French Revolution, while a second study will use selected historical examples to examine the security policy responses by European monarchies.

The analysis will be organised along the three key concepts of the Collaborative Research Centre: communication processes, space, and actors. This means that the primary subjects of investigation will be: (1) the discourse about the security of heads of state and government figures and the general population; (2) the material environment of heads of state and their security experts; and (3) the security experts themselves (such as security and surveillance committees, elite regiments, guards, regular and irregular militias, and the emerging secret police).

Figure: The Bostonians Paying the Excise-man, or Tarring and Feathering


The overarching objective of the sub-project is to investigate the securitisation processes that involve the state and its representatives. The first hypothesis is that violence in the form of threats to the heads of state, major politicians, and the political order were of critical importance in the creation and expansion of a national security state (Michael Hogan) in 19th century Europe. The second hypothesis is that from the outset, the enforcement of human rights and civil liberties came along with limitations of rights related to security and new forms of violence. Securitisation by the state generated new forms of insecurity in other places. In view of social scientific analyses pointing to the loss of significance of the nation state in security policy, the planned subproject will inquire into the ways the nation state became an actor in security policy precisely to preserve its very existence. Thus, the research will spotlight the genesis of a concept of security that has continued to operate until the present day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Subproject B04 — Security of the State and Security from the State
in Europe, Russia and the United States in the 19th Century



Figure: Depiction of the murder of Kotzebue in 1819
(Contemporary coloured copperplate)

Protecting leading political figures and their advisors has always been a key mission of internal security. The profound changes that took place around 1800 during the “saddle period” (Reinhart Koselleck) presented great challenges to the ruling security regime. The development of alternative models of political order meant that heads of state, government leaders and elected representatives became the targets of attack as figureheads of the political systems they represented and sustained. Against this backdrop, this sub-project will explore how security policy in those societies first and most directly affected by the changes in the saddle period – Europe, Russia and the United States – responded to the collective and personal violence that was an immanent element in the rise of bourgeois society and the formation of the nation state.

Figure: Regimental Foot Guard, 1812

The project thus addresses the security measures employed by heads of state, governments, leading politicians, and affected population groups in response to the revolutions, counterrevolutions, and uprisings that took place around 1800 in attempts to protect themselves and the social order. The sub-project will cover the period from around 1770 to 1830 – thus from the Ancien Régime through the revolutionary era and the time of the revolution and Napoleonic wars until the Congress of Vienna and the Restoration period. 

The concrete focus of the sub-project will be the emergency and development of the security regime in the revolution and restoration. One research study as part of the subproject will compare security practices and cultures in the American and French Revolution, while a second study will use selected historical examples to examine the security policy responses by European monarchies.

The analysis will be organised along the three key concepts of the Collaborative Research Centre: communication processes, space, and actors. This means that the primary subjects of investigation will be: (1) the discourse about the security of heads of state and government figures and the general population; (2) the material environment of heads of state and their security experts; and (3) the security experts themselves (such as security and surveillance committees, elite regiments, guards, regular and irregular militias, and the emerging secret police).

Figure: The Bostonians Paying the Excise-man, or Tarring and Feathering


The overarching objective of the sub-project is to investigate the securitisation processes that involve the state and its representatives. The first hypothesis is that violence in the form of threats to the heads of state, major politicians, and the political order were of critical importance in the creation and expansion of a national security state (Michael Hogan) in 19th century Europe. The second hypothesis is that from the outset, the enforcement of human rights and civil liberties came along with limitations of rights related to security and new forms of violence. Securitisation by the state generated new forms of insecurity in other places. In view of social scientific analyses pointing to the loss of significance of the nation state in security policy, the planned subproject will inquire into the ways the nation state became an actor in security policy precisely to preserve its very existence. Thus, the research will spotlight the genesis of a concept of security that has continued to operate until the present day.