Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen - Encyclopedia


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FRIEDRICH WILHELM RAIFFEISEN (1818-1888), founder of the German system of agricultural co-operative banks, was 1 The preamble to the Foreign Enlistment Act 1870 stated that its object was "to make provision for the regulation of the conduct of Her Majesty's subjects during the existence of hostilities between foreign states with which Her Majesty is at peace." This preamble was repealed by the Statutes Law Revision (No. 2) Act 1893.

2 R. v. Sandoval, 1886, 56 Law Times, 526.

a R. V. Jameson, 1896, 2 Q.B., 425.

born at Hamm on the Sieg on the 30th of March 1818, being the son of Gottfried Raiffeisen, burgomaster of that place. Educated privately, he entered the artillery in Cologne, but defective eyesight compelled him to leave the army. He then entered the public service at Coblenz, and in 1845 was appointed burgomaster of Weyerbusch. Here he was so successful that in 1848 he was transferred in a like capacity to Flammersfeld, and in 1852 to Heddersdorf. Raiffeisen devoted himself to the improvement of the social condition of the cultivators of the soil, and did good work in the planning of public roads and in other ways. The distress of the years 1846-47, the causes of which he discerned in the slight amount of credit obtainable by the small landed proprietors, led him to seek for a remedy in co-operation, and at Heddersdorf and at Weyerbusch he founded the first agricultural co-operative loan banks (Darlehnskassenverein). These banks were called after him, and their foundation resulted in a widespread system of land banks, supported by the government. In 1865 the state of his health compelled him to retire, but he continued to take an interest in the movement he had originated, and in 1878 he founded at Neuwied a periodical, Das landwirtschaftlicheGenossenscha ftsblatt. He died on the iith of March 1888.

Among Raiffeisen's writings are, Die Darlehnskassenvereine als Mittel zur Abhilfe (Neuwied, 1866; new ed., 1887); Anleitung zur Geschditsand Buchfiihrung ldndlichen Sparand Darlehnskassenvereine (new ed., 1896); and Kurze Anleitung zur Griindung von Darlehnskassenvereinen (new ed., 1893). See A. Wattig, Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen (1890); H. W. Wolff, People's Banks. A Record of Social and Economic Success (1895); and Fassbender, Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen (Berlin, 1902).

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