Political debates during the Vormärz period in Germany revolved with conspicuous frequency around questions of interpreting the past, conflicts over history. Matthias Klug’s analysis of historical
interpretations and patterns of argumentation manifested in political journalism between 1815 and 1848 highlights a central aspect of the ideological debates that occurred before organized political
parties were founded in Germany.
The subject of political Catholicism is especially useful for this purpose. In their debates with political opponents, Catholic papers covered a broad spectrum of themes. The trajectory of their debate
extends from the discussion of social challenges following secularization across the issue of a political constitution to the problems occasioned by industrialization; from what stance to take vis-á-vis
the emerging public sphere to the possibilities of popular historiography and discussions about cultural politics.
The combination of political and church interests produced highly polemical debates between the religious confessions, wherein the political Catholicism of the Vormärz
presented anything but closed ranks. Klug’s comparison of numerous journalistic and historiogaphical debates reveals the diversity of Catholic positions with special clarity.