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August Becker: Excerpts from The Palatinate and the Palatines (1858)

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We do not want to linger with these same kinds of political intentions and illusions any longer, so we will include just a few words about the relationship between the Palatinate and Bavaria. The mutual jealousy has not yet been extinguished. Nourished for centuries, it is anyway based too much upon the dissimilarities of tribes. The Bavarians think they made a bad catch with the Palatinate, where no one lives but Frenchmen and beggars. Indeed, in Old Bavaria, they actually still talk about the “poor Palatinate” and how much it costs them, which, of course, betrays a terrible ignorance of the real state of things. “The Palatines have nothing except their big mouths!” is what was said then, whereas the Palatines say, “Bavarians have nothing but their belly; as long as you don’t step on it, they don’t move.” The act of becoming a soldier is still called in the Palatinate "to have to go to the Bavarians," and on top of this, there is the Palatine's dislike of the barracks life. The Palatine would rather go to France or America, and in the Algerian and Mexican war campaigns, thousands of Palatines fought against the Berbers and the Spaniards. This should adequately dispel any talk about them not having a warrior spirit. When Old Bavarian troops occupied the Palatinate in 1849, they asked when they might arrive in a village as they marched through the large, rich places of the flatlands. When they were told they were marching through the villages already, they said, “Damn democrats! They always have to have it better!” This adequately characterizes the mutual feeling that Palatines and Old Bavarians seldom go together, just like wine and beer. The Old Bavarian bureaucrat will find many differences in the Palatinate as compared with his home country. The Palatine farmer does not accept being spoken to in the informal manner, and does not allow himself to be abused; he knows exactly how far the bureaucrat’s power and authority reaches. He would perhaps rather accept a hard word from his local bureaucrats than from an Old Bavarian. The Palatine above all wants to be treated with friendliness and respect, and bureaucratic ill-manneredness does not impress him. What the Bavarian official who comes to the Palatinate will also notice is the lack of class differences and titles, the complete equality of people's standing. There has not been any nobility here for a long time, and whatever remains of the country nobility makes no use of its privileges. In the cities, one does not address people with their official title but rather simply with their normal name, and the obsession with and lust for titles of the rest of Germany is still unknown in the Palatinate. (This appears to be slowly changing.) Even the difference between burgher and farmer does not exist in a land where every farmer feels like a person of the middle class and is so regarded. There are no longer any privileges reserved for the cities, in the Palatinate there are only "communities," and anyway most villages are comparable to the small Palatine cities in terms of numbers of inhabitants, wealth, and outward appearances. If one wanted to conclude that the status of bureaucrats is ignored here, one would be far from the mark. On the contrary, the Palatine native gladly pays honor to those who deserve it, just never in gross subservience. In general, one would wish that Bavaria and the Palatinate would one day realize that they are not competitors and that there are competent, worthy people on both sides.

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