David, Eduard

(1863-1930)
   politician; first President of the National Assembly.* Born to a Prussian bureaucrat at Ediger on the Mosel, he was first attracted to socialism as a student. After he completed a course in business education, he instructed at a Giessen Gymnasium until his socialist connections forced his resignation in 1893.
   David founded the Mitteldeutsche Sonntagszeitung and matured into the SPD's leading protagonist for an active agrarian policy. His statements regarding the vitality of small farms, which appeared in 1894 in a series of articles in Der Sozialdemokrat (and also in his 1903 book Sozialismus und Landwirtschaft [Socialism and agriculture]), were the first attacks within the SPD on Marxist or-thodoxy and recast him as a key Party revisionist. He was a member of the Hessian Landtag from 1886, and his 1903 election to the Reichstag* allowed him to tutor many moderate socialists who played leading roles in the Weimar era. A defender of Germany's colonial rights, he was the SPD's principal apol-ogist in 1914 for the Kaiser's war effort. In October 1918 he was named Un-dersecretary in the Foreign Office. Although he was disabled by influenza, he continued at the Foreign Office throughout the rule of the Council of People's Representatives.*
   David was active in the Republic's early years. A champion for the early election of an assembly, he sponsored a coalition between the SPD, the DDP, and the Center Party.* After his election in February 1919 as the Assembly's President, he became Minister without Portfolio in Philipp Scheidemann's* cab-inet (February-June 1919). When the DDP refused to sign the Versailles Treaty,* he succeeded Hugo Preuss* as Interior Minister (June-October 1919); during October 1919-March 1920 he was again Minister without Portfolio under Gustav Bauer,* a position he retained in Hermann Muller's* first cabinet (March-June 1920). Appointed Reich representative to Hesse in 1922, he moved to Darmstadt in 1923 and instructed politics until 1927, thereafter retiring to Berlin.
   REFERENCES:Breitman, German Socialism; NDB, vol. 3; Stachura, Political Leaders.

A Historical dictionary of Germany's Weimar Republic, 1918-1933. .

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