ROBERT VON PUTTKAMMER (1828-1900), Prussian statesman, was born at Frankfort-on-the-Oder on the 5th of May 1828.
His father, Eugen von Puttkammer, Oberprasident of Posen, belonged to a widely extended noble family, of which Bismarck's wife and Robert von Puttkammer's own wife were also members.
Robert von Puttkammer, after a short course of law, began his official career in 1850 as Auskultator in the courts at Danzig, but in 1852 entered the civil service, receiving after his promotion to the rank of Assessor in 1854 a post in the railway department of the ministry for trade and industry.
Puttkammer was the chosen instrument of the Clerical Conservative policy initiated by Bismarck when the Socialist peril made it expedient to conciliate the Catholic Centre.
This "Puttkammer regime" was intensely unpopular; it was attacked in the Reichstag not only by Radicals like Richter and Rickert, but by National Liberals like Bennigsen, and when the emperor Frederick III., whose Liberal tendencies were notorious, succeeded to the throne, it was clear that it could not last.
In spite of Bismarck's support Puttkammer was forced to resign on the 8th of June 1888.
Under William II., however, whose principles were those of his grandfather, Puttkammer was largely rehabilitated.
Puttkammer, who had now become minister of the interior, defended the practice, and a royal edict of 4th January 1882 affirmed the monarchical character of the Prussian constitution, the right of the king personally to direct the policy of the state, and required those officials who held appointments of a political nature to defend the policy of the government, even at elections.
The resignation of Falk in July 1879 was a sign of the change of policy; he was succeeded by Puttkammer, who belonged to the old-fashioned Prussian Conservatives and had no sympathy with the Liberal legislation.
One of his first acts was severely to reprimand Puttkammer for misusing government influence at elections.