Friedrich ListFrom Prison to World Fame
Deed concerning his citizenship in Württemberg which List signed before emigration
Friedrich List (1789-1846), Rechnungsrat of the Württemberg Government was instructed in 1817 to survey the reasons for emigration to America. In the same year List was appointed professor for administration of the State in Tübingen. There he was involved in daily political affairs and as a representative of the Reutlinger Chamber he spoke out in favour of a common German customs union. These ideas were in opposition to generally accepted policies, and in 1820 he was accused of having started a smear campaign against the Government and having violated the press law. He was sentenced to imprisonment in a fortress, escaped by emigrating to France, but returned to Württemberg in 1824. He could avoid his second imprisonment after he had promised to emigrate to America. After his arrival in 1825 he made a career in the diplomatic service. From 1834 to 1837 he was American consul in Dresden, and from 1843 to 1845 became consul in Stuttgart. During that time he had a decisive influence on the extension of the German railway system and never stopped propagating the foundation of a German customs union. Friedrich List was one of the most influential economists in the 19th century with his criticism on the traditional liberal foreign trade doctrin and as a theorist of intervention into the economy by the State.