Vom Vertrag zum Status. Das Dienstvertragsrecht der Frankfurter Dienstbriefe im Alten Reich

Thomas Pierson


Studien zur europäischen Rechtsgeschichte 321
Frankfurt am Main: Klostermann 2020. XVIII, 830 S.

ISSN 1610-6040
ISBN 978-3-465-04404-8

This book contributes to the history of pre-industrial labour by examining the employment contracts (Dienstverträge) issued by the Free Imperial City of Frankfurt am Main. Using the method of Problemgeschichte, the study analyses the changing responses and solutions to specific legal, social and economic problems from the late Middle Ages to the early modern period, with a particular focus on questions of freedom, equality and social security. The basis of this analysis are clauses in the city’s employment contracts for members of diverse social groups – from servants and craftsmen to advocates and military officers – that concern rights of termination, the assumption of risk, payment, etc. The study demonstrates the key lines of development from the 14th century to the end of the Holy Roman Empire during the Napoleonic Wars. Over the course of this period, unregulated late medieval contractual practice gave way to an increasingly civil servant-like status of Frankfurt city employees in the early modern period.

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