||Ludwig Bamberger (1823–1899), German banker, politician, and economist; leading advocate of a gold standard for German currency. He studied law at Heidelberg and practiced as an attorney in his native city of Mainz. He joined the revolutionary movement of 1848 and edited the republican newspaper Mainzer Zeitung which advocated the unification of Germany and democratic government. He took part in the insurrection of 1849, fled to Switzerland, and was condemned to death in absentia. When, in 1866, a general amnesty was declared, Bamberger returned to Germany, and entered politics as a liberal, sitting in the German Reichstag from 1871 to 1893. During the years of his exile in London and in Paris he had entered the family firm of Bischoffsheim where he acquired considerable knowledge of finance. He became one of Bismarck's principal advisers on indemnification after the Franco-Prussian war of 1870. Later, Bamberger disagreed with Bismarck's policy of protective tariffs which he considered reactionary and in 1884 he and other followers seceded and formed the more liberal Freisinnige Partei. Though in opposition, he continued to exercise great influence on legislation of economic or financial character. He was an enthusiastic advocate of the gold standard and a champion of free trade and founded an association for its promotion. Bamberger was not a practicing Jew but in his memoirs he deplores German anti-Semitism. Stung by the anti-Semitic attacks of the German historian, Heinrich von Trietschke, he published a pamphlet "Deutschtum und Judentum" which was a vigorous rejoinder. He made numerous contributions to political and economic literature and his articles in the weekly Die Nation were published in book form under separate titles: Wandlungen und Wanderungen in der Sozialpolitik (1898); Bismarck Posthumus (1899). He also published his collected writings in five volumes (1894–98), and his memoirs appeared posthumously (1899).
Eduard Lasker (Isaac; 1829–1884), German Liberal politician. Lasker was born to an Orthodox merchant family in Posen. While studying law at the University of Breslau he took part in the revolution of 1848, fighting with the students' legion in Vienna against the imperial troops. In 1853 he went to England to study the system of British parliamentary government, then a model for German liberals. Returning in 1856 he became an associate judge in Berlin. In 1865 he was elected to the Prussian Parliament as a member of the Progressive Party but broke away in 1867 to found the National Liberal Party, of which he was the head. After the German Empire was formed in 1870, Lasker led the Liberal Party in the Reichstag and helped Bismarck in his work of securing Prussian leadership in Germany, making a substantial contribution to the passage of many important laws, including the laws of association and taxation, the codification of criminal law, and a new judicial system. A gifted orator, Lasker vigorously defended parliamentary authority and on several occasions forced proposals endangering individual liberties to be withdrawn.
Lasker's first breach with Bismarck occurred in 1873, when his revelations about the mismanagement and stock manipulation of the Pomeranian railways led to the fall of one of Bismarck's closest associates. His opposition to Bismarck's high tariff policy after 1878 led to his defeat in the 1879 elections. In 1880 he left the National Party in protest against a law limiting freedom of speech and set up the Liberal Union in opposition to Bismarck. Soon afterward, however, ill health forced him to retire from politics. He died in the United States, and when the American House of Representatives sent a resolution of condolence to Bismarck for transmission to the Reichstag, he refused to accept it on the ground that in praising Lasker it thereby was criticizing German policy. Lasker was a loyal Jew and a vigorous champion of Jewish rights. On his initiative, the Prussian parliament passed a law permitting Jews to opt out of the official community without being regarded as having left Judaism, a measure which enabled the ultra-orthodox congregations to form independent communities.