Despite their ambivalence about the idea of “one man, one vote”—they would have preferred to see the electoral preferment of wealth, property, and education—German liberals celebrated the introduction of universal manhood suffrage in 1866/67. When the vote became general, equal, direct, and secret, these Germans looked confidently to the future of their constitutional state. This cartoon appeared a few weeks before the first test of the new suffrage in the elections to the Constituent Reichstag of the North German Confederation, held on February 12, 1867. The orderliness and respect shown toward the new voting process in Germany (shown in the bottom panel) is contrasted here with the violence and corruption of elections in “free” America (top) and “constitutional” Britain (middle).

Caricature: Elections in Prussia, England, and America (1867)


Source: Wilhelm Scholz, “Frei nach Hegel. Die Geschichte ist der Fortschritt im Bewußtsein der Freiheit” [“Loosely Based on Hegel. History is the Progress of the Consciousness of Freedom”], Kladderadatsch, Jg. 20, Nr. 2 (13. January 1867), p. 8. Universitäts-Bibliothek, Universität Heidelberg. Available online at: https://doi.org/10.11588/diglit.2249#0010