He studied political economy and jurisprudence at the universities of Tübingen, Heidelberg, and Berlin, and then traveled through France and North Africa. As the result of his observations during these travels, he published: Skizze der volkswirtschaftlichen Zustände in Algerien (Sketch of socioeconomic conditions in Algeria, 1857), and Reise in das Innere von Algerien, durch die Kabylie und Sahara (A trip through the interior of Algeria, and through the Kabylie and Sahara, 1862). After a later journey through England and Scotland he returned home to organize trade unions among his countrymen. These soon spread all over Germany and, through them and their publication, Der Gewerkverein, he wielded great influence. He was several times a member of the Reichstag and was the leading spirit in a number of societies for the benefit of the laboring classes. His publications include: Was bezwecken die Gewerkvereine? (What are the aims of the labor unions?, 15th ed. 1891) and Das Invaliditäts- und Altersversicherungsgesetz (The law for invalids and the elderly, 3d ed. 1890).