EICHHORN, aiH'hɵrn, JOHANN ALBRECHT FRIEDRICH: Prussian minister of worship; b. at Wertheim (20 m. w. of Würzburg) Mar. 2, 1776; d. at Berlin Jan. 16, 1856. He served as an army officer in the war of liberation in 1813, and afterward took an active part in promoting the welfare of his country. He soon occupied various prominent positions, and when Frederick William IV. ascended the throne of Prussia in 1840, Eichhorn was appointed minister of worship and education. As the state governed the universities and regulated the appointment of its teachers, the influence of the ruling policy upon the destinies of scientific efforts was inevitable, and showed itself especially in philosophy and theology. The tendency to substitute a positive philosophy in place of the negative became a great stumbling block to theological candidates and ministers. The result of this policy was an opposition which in 1842 nourished two hostile parties.
In 1843 Eichhorn undertook the formation of synods in the eastern provinces, and these district synods, composed only of ministers and meeting in 1843, advocated an increase of pastoral forces, better preparation of the candidates, the formation of presbyteries, greater interest of the congregations in the election of ministers, and a more definite adherence on the part of the clergy to the Augsburg Confession. In 1844 the six eastern provincial synods were convened and advocated the restoration of consistories in their ecclesiastical quality and the establishment of other synodical institutions. In 1846 at the instance of Prussia, conferences, represented by delegates from all the twenty-six Protestant governments, were held (Berlin, Jan. 3), but they accomplished little except to serve as preludes for the Eisenach conferences (see EISENACH CONFERENCE).
In regard to the universities, Eichhorn declined to favor any particular doctrine, although he checked pantheistic speculation and deistic naturalism; moderate tendencies, on the other hand, were given free scope. He formed many plans, and efforts were made to acquaint the public through the press with the intentions of the government. But the revolution of Mar., 1848, made an end of all these plans and Eichhorn withdrew from public life. In his administration a special section was formed for Roman Catholic interests, and the bishops were permitted to communicate freely with Rome.
(W. HOLLENBERG †.)
Bibliography: G. Eilers, Zur Beurteilung des Ministeriums Eichhorn, Berlin, 1849; O. Mejer, in Preussische Jahrbücher, 1877, parts 2 and 3; H. von Treitschke, Deutsche Geschichte im 19. Jahrhundert, v. 229 sqq., Leipsic, 1894.