Karl Sigmund Franz Freiherr vom Stein zum Altenstein
(01.10.1770 – 14.05.1840)
place of birth:  Schalkhausen-Ansbach, Bayern
Königreich Preußen:  Leitender Minister


Baron Karl vom Stein zum Altenstein was born the son of a cavalry captain and legislator from an old Franconian noble line. Young Karl studied law and philosophy at the universities of Erlangen, Göttingen and Jena. Upon graduation he became a law clerk for Karl August von Hardenberg in Ansbach. Recognizing his talent as a potential statesman, Hardenburg brought Altenstein to Berlin at the turn of the century, where he later became a member of the general directorate. Following Prussia's military losses to Napoleon at Jena and Auerstedt, Altenstein accompanied the Prussian court to Tilsit in East Prussia, and there assisted Hardenburg in reforms aimed toward the reconstruction of the Prussian State. From November 1808 through December 1809, he along with Couth Alexander von Dohna were the de facto senior ministers of Prussia. After Prussia signed the Treaty of Tilsit in 1810, however, Altenstein was let go by King Friedrich Wilhelm III.

Altenstein chose to relocate in Breslau (Wroclaw) where he was eventually named Civil Governor of Silesia. In 1815 he accompanied Wilhelm von Humboldt to Paris in order to reclaim Prussian works of art which had been stolen by Napoleon's regime. He returned to working under Hardenburg in 1817, when he headed up the newly established Ministry of Culture, a post he maintained for the next twenty years. In this capacity, he made a name for himself as a great educational reformer and also helped establish the University of Bonn in 1818. Altenstein died in Berlin on 14 May 1840.


Minister  00.00.1809  -  00.00.1809