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Knigge Adolph Franz Friedrich Ludwig Freiherr
Freiherr Adolph Franz Friedrich Ludwig Knigge was a German writer and Freemason. Knigge was born in Bredenbeck, Hannover as a member of the lesser nobility. He studied law from 1769 to 1772 in Göttingen. He was allegedly initiated into Freemasonry in 1772 in Kassel, where he held a position as Court Squire and Assessor of the War and Domains Exchequer. In 1777 he became Chamberlain at the Weimar court.
In 1780 Knigge joined Adam Weishaupt's Bavarian Illuminati and his work with the Illuminati gave the group a great deal of publicity. In 1784 he resigned from the Illuminati. Knigge's involvement with the Illuminati, support of the advancement of human rights, and a period of serious illness led to the loss of support of his aristocratic sponsors and finally his fortune. Knigge found a measure of financial stability again with a position in Bremen in 1790. In Germany, Knigge is best remembered for his book «Über den Umgang mit Menschen» («On Human Relations»), a treatise on the fundamental principles of human relations that has the reputation of being the authoritative guide to behaviors, politeness, and etiquette. The work is in fact more of a sociological and philosophical treatise on the basis of human relations than a how-to guide on etiquette. Nevertheless, the German term “Knigge” has come to mean “good manners”.
German Federal Republic, 2002, Adolph Freiherr von Knigge and Books
German Federal Republic, 2002.02.07, Bonn. Adolph Freiherr von Knigge