Free Conservative Party
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (December 2009)|
|Free Conservative Party, German Reich Party|
|Preceded by||Conservative Party (Prussia),
|Succeeded by||German National People's Party|
|Politics of Germany
The Free Conservative Party (German: Freikonservative Partei, FKP) was a right-wing political party in Prussia and the German Empire, which emerged from the Conservatives in the Prussian Landtag in 1866. In federal elections to the Reichstag parliament from 1871 it ran as the German Reich Party (Deutsche Reichspartei, DRP).
The Free Conservative Association achieved party status in 1867, comprising German nobles and East Elbian Junkers (land owners) like Duke Victor of Ratibor and Karl Rudolf Friedenthal, industrialists and government officials like Johann Viktor Bredt, Hermann von Hatzfeldt, Hermann von Dechend, Prince Karl Max von Lichnowsky or General Hans Hartwig von Beseler and scholars like Hans Delbrück and Otto Hoetzsch.
It was distinguished from the German Conservative Party established in 1876 by its unqualified support of German unification, and was seen as the political party which beside the National Liberals was closest in views to those of Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, including his Anti-Socialist Laws and Kulturkampf policies. The party was generally dominated by conservative industrialists, and while it opposed political liberalism, it also tended to support free trade and the development of industry. Upon the accession of Emperor Wilhelm II in 1888, the party backed his naval policies and the formation of the German colonial empire, approaching towards the nationalist Pan-German League pressure group, while centrists like Adolf Grabowsky did not prevail.
The FKP disbanded in November 1918 following the end of the Hohenzollern monarchy and the German Revolution. Several members had supported the formation of the Fatherland Party in 1917, now most of its constituency turned to the newly established German National People's Party, some also joined the national liberal German People's Party.