Heinrich Friedrich Karl Reichsfreiherr vom und zum Stein
(25.10.1757 – 29.06.1831)
place of birth:  Nassau a.d. Lahn, Provinz Hessen-Nassau
Königreich Preußen:  Leitender Minister


German baron, statesman and reformer. Rising through the Prussian bureaucracy, he became minister of commerce (1804–07) but was dismissed by King Friedrich Wilhelm III for his attempts to increase the power of the heads of the ministries. He was recalled (1807) as chief minister after Prussia’s defeat by the French only to be dismissed again (1808) on pressure by Napoleon. As an exile in Russia, he helped to bring about the Russo- Prussian alliance of 1813 and returned to prominence as chief administrator of the reconquered and newly conquered Prussian provinces, following the Wars of Liberation against Napoleon. Few men have achieved as many radical and successful reforms in so peaceful a manner and in such difficult circumstances as did Baron Stein. 

Herr vom Stein's chief reforms were carried out in 1807–1908, when Prussia was a defeated nation and a virtual dependency of France. Before Stein’s reforms, Prussia was still a semi-feudal state. Stein caused the king to abolish serfdom and the estate system by the Edict of 1807. The law ended the restrictions against the sale to burghers of land owned by nobles; those restrictions had had disastrous effects on Prussian economy, for the nobles lacked the capital to till their land properly. The edict also opened all trades and professions to all classes. Stein instituted local self-government in towns, cities, and provinces. His administration transformed Prussia into a modern state and enabled it to play its leading role in the eventual unification of Germany.


Minister  00.10.1807  -  00.11.1808