Froebel. I. Friedrich, a German educator, founder of the Kindergarten system of schools, born at Oberweissbach, April 21, 1782, died in Marienthal, June 21, 1852. In 1826 he published the first volume of his work on education (Die Menschenerziehung). In this, as well as in a weekly journal which he edited subsequently (Wochenschrift fur alle Freunde der Menschenbildung), he advocated a full and harmonious development of the human faculties. In 1837 he founded a school or Kindergarten for little children at Blankenburg, Thuringia, which became the model of similar institutions in many parts of Germany and in foreign countries, especially in Switzerland. The duke of Meiningen gave him the use of his mansion of Marienthal, near Liebenstein, for the establishment of a normal school, where female teachers were instructed. The great freedom which he allowed to the children was considered dangerous, and his schools were denounced as nurseries of socialism and atheism. His nephew, Karl Froebel (born in 1808), had founded a school for girls at Hamburg in 1850, the programme for which furnished a pretext to the Prussian government for prohibiting (Aug. 7, 1851) all Kindergarten in which the Froebel system of education prevailed.
II. Julius, a German author and traveller, nephew of the preceding, born in Griesheim in 1806. He engaged successively in various scientific, literary, and statistical labors, and attended the universities of Jena, Munich, and Berlin. In 1833 he was appointed professor of geography, natural history, and history at Zurich, and was subsequently professor of mineralogy in the high school of that city. Having become a naturalized citizen of Switzerland, he joined the extreme radical party, and edited the Swiss Republican." He also founded a publishing house, and in 1844 relinquished his professorship. He issued several scientific works and political pamphlets; but many of them were suppressed in Germany. Having returned to Germany, he was expelled from the Prussian territory, and went to Dresden. In 1848 he became a popular leader of the democratic party and a member of the German parliament at Frankfort. Accompanying Robert Blum to Vienna, he was arrested, and sentenced to death by the same court martial which sentenced Blum, but was pardoned.
On the dissolution of the parliament he repaired to Switzerland, and afterward to the United States. He was editor of a German newspaper, and lectured in New York, went in 1850 to Nicaragua, and afterward to Santa Fe and Chihuahua. During this period he was a frequent correspondent of the "New York Tribune." In 1855 he edited a journal at San Francisco. In 1857, after his return to Germany, attempts were made to expel him from Frankfort, the American consul protesting upon the ground that he had become a naturalized citizen of the United States. After residing some time in London, he went to Vienna in 18(32 to become editor of the journal representing the liberal cabinet then in power. From this time he again took an active part in German politics as one of the leaders of the Gross-Deutsche or federalistic party. After the fall of the cabinet he went to Stuttgart, and in 1867 to Munich, where he established the Suddeutsche Post. Among his works are: System der so-cialen Politik (2 vols., Mannheim, 1847); Die Republikaner, a historical drama (Leipsic, 1848); Aus Amerika, Erfahrungen, Reisen und Studien (2 vols., Leipsic, 1858; English translation, " Seven Years" Travel in Central America, Northern Mexico, and the Far West of the United States," London, 1859); Theorie der Politik (2 vols., Vienna, 1861); Kleine politische Schriften (2 vols., Stuttgart, 1866); and Die Wirthschqft des Menschengeschlechts auf dem Standpunkte der Einheit (dealer und realer Interessen (Leipsic, 1870). In 1873 he was appointed consul of the German empire at Smyrna, Asia Minor.