Jonas Furrer

Jonas Furrer ( March 3, 1805 in Winterthur, † July 25, 1861 in Bad Ragaz ) was a Swiss politician. His political career began in 1834 with the election of the Zurich cantonal parliament. From 1845, he was a Councillor of the Canton Zurich and presided this year also the Diet. After representing the liberal- radical faction (now the FDP) was elected to the Federal Council in 1848, Furrer was the first President of Switzerland. He had in 1849, 1852, 1855 and 1858 held the post. He is considered one of the most important politicians in the early days of the Swiss Federal State.


Studies and professional life

The only child of a locksmith in Winterthur grew up in modest circumstances, and attended the schools. At the urging of his father Furrer decided to study in Zurich jurisprudence, although he had shown greater interest in medicine and chemistry. In 1824 he was supported by a grant from his hometown, at the Ruprecht -Karls -Universität in Heidelberg. 1825-1826 he studied in Göttingen at the Georg -August- University, where he completed his education. He was a member of the Zofingia.

After a long trip to Germany Furrer returned to the Canton of Zurich and received in 1828 a position as procurator. In 1830 he was inducted into the Masonic Lodge acacia. With a thesis on the inheritance law of the city of Winterthur in 1832 he received the bar exam, and opened his own law firm. In the same year he married Friederike Sulzer, from the marriage went three daughters and two sons forth. 1836 Furrer moved his residence to Zurich, from where came the meantime most of its customers. In 1838 he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Zurich was founded five years earlier.

Jonas Furrer was a member of the Federation of the Freemasons, his box acacia is headquartered in Winterthur. In 1844 he was co-founder of the Swiss Grand Lodge Alpina ( SGLA ) and her first major speaker.

Canton politicians

Furrer's political career began in 1834, when he was elected at the age of 29 years in the Grand Council. This, he chaired in 1837 and 1839. Furrer was one of those parliamentarians who supported the appeal of the theology professor David Friedrich Strauss at the University. The subsequent escalating conflict between liberal and conservative forces culminated on September 6, 1839 Züriputsch. Under pressure from the new government, the Great Council broke up three days later, and Furrer lost his mandate.

In a short time Furrer rose to become the leader of the liberal opposition. In 1842 he returned to the Grand Council and was elected delegates to the Diet. By choosing Furrer in the Government presented the Liberals from 1845 again the majority. In the same year he presided over the Diet. As mayor office (such as the Regierungsrat President was then called) practiced Furrer a great influence on the policy of the Canton of Zurich.

Furrer was a member of that Commission in 1847, which sought the conflict for the special covenant vain to resolve by peaceful means. After the end of Sonderbundskrieg war from which the liberal cantons had emerged victorious, he took a seat on the revision committee which drafted the new Federal Constitution.


In October 1848 Furrer was sent by the Great Council in the Senate and was its first president. In the first Federal elections on 16 November 1848, he was regarded as a promising lead candidate. The United Federal Assembly elected him in the second round of voting with 85 votes out of 132 votes in the Bundesrat (the first ballot had to be canceled because of a procedural error). Furrer was elected on the same day, the first President of Switzerland. However, he asked for time to consider, as the capital of Switzerland question was not clear. It was not until the end of December he took the choice to definitely.

Furrer took over until the end of 1849 the chair of the Political Department. In this role, he ran a consistent policy of neutrality and let expel supporters of the failed revolutions of 1848/ 49, who had fled to Switzerland. He prevented by interventions of the European powers, but he had to allegations by his followers betrayal of liberalism.

To his actual master department, the Department of Justice and Police, he apart from his Präsidialjahren 1852, 1855 and 1858 led developed (until the 1890s, the President appeared at the same time head of the Political Department of Foreign Affairs and so ). As Minister of Justice Furrer enacted laws on the organization of the Bundesrat, the federal officials, the naturalization of the homeless and the federal criminal law. In addition, he made a great contribution to legal certainty in the new state by personally edited hundreds of appeals. In other domestically controversial issues such as the regulation of the railways but he held back.

Furrer was founded in 1856 during the crisis surrounding the Canton of Neuchâtel ( Neuchâtel trade ) sent as a negotiator to the governments of the southern states to prevent a military conflict with Prussia. In 1860 he opposed the plan of Jakob Stämpfli, Haute-Savoie to occupy militarily ( Savoyerhandel ). Furrer complained increasingly excessive workload, were added health problems. Kidney disease forced him to several breaks, making it increasingly forfeited to influence the Federal College. During a spa stay in Bad Ragaz Furrer died at the age of 56 years.