Oberamt was the designation of an administrative division of Württemberg's administrative unit introduced in 1758 instead of Amt, which was in use until 1934. After the seizure of power the upper offices were renamed with the Kreisordnung of Württemberg to Kreise and their number was considerably reduced by mergers in 1938.
The subdivision of the Duchy of Württemberg (until 1495 county) into public administration called Ämter reflected in its diversity the gradual growth of the territory. In addition to the secular offices, which made up the largest part of the state, there were monastic, rentier and chamber offices. Usually, a secular office consisted of the eponymous town and the surrounding villages as Amtsorten or Amtsflecken, but the districts differed considerably in area and population, and complicated borderlines with many exclaves marked the map. Some larger offices, such as the Amt Urach, were divided into several sub-offices. For clarification, the offices themselves were called Oberamt from 1758 on, without structural reforms being connected with this renaming. The ducal civil servant, who was traditionally called Vogt and who managed the administrative affairs at the official level, held the title Oberamtmann from 1759. From that day on, all and every secondary title with the bailiff's word was to cease immediately and only the Oberamtsmannsmann name was to be valid. He was responsible for the implementation of government measures in his bailiwick, for example by publishing new laws, receiving complaints from subjects and forwarding them to the appropriate higher authorities. He also warned persons who only slightly violated laws. In the Amtsversammlung representatives of the official town and places of office discussed common matters. For example, it was decided here how the road construction in the district was to be financed. The official assembly also elected its representatives for the so-called "Landschaft".
After the areas that had been assigned to the House of Württemberg as a result of the upheavals of the Napoleonic era since 1803 were initially administered separately as "Neuwürttemberg", the organisational edict of 1806 - Württemberg had in the meantime risen to become the Kingdom of Württemberg - initiated the creation of uniform structures. In the following years the declaration of intent "An expedient division and merger of the senior and staff offices will be made gradually. and the whole country, regardless of historical and denominational circumstances, will be newly divided into approximately equal senior offices, the number of which was reduced to 64 by 1810 and to 63 by 1819 with the abolition of the Albeck senior office. A special role was played by the Residence City Stuttgart, where the Stadtdirektion fulfilled the corresponding tasks.
The higher offices were subordinate to the Ministry of the Interior and were responsible for all essential areas of state administration, only the financial system was in the hands of the Kameralämter since 1806. Since 1814 every senior office received a public health officer under the title Oberamtsarzt (senior physician).  According to the understanding of the state at that time, administration and jurisdiction were not separate: the senior civil servant presided over the High Court in personal union. Municipal self-administration and the right to a say of the estates, which had already been temporarily restricted under Duke Carl Eugen, was suspended by King Friedrich.
King Wilhelm I. took over the government in 1816 and immediately began comprehensive reforms, which led to the constitution of 1819 and thus changed Württemberg from an absolute to a constitutional Monarchy. The edicts issued on 31 December 1818 regulated various aspects of the restored local self-government:
- The sheriff's offices became Selbstverwaltungskörper.
- The municipalities of a supreme office together formed the Amtskörperschaft, a territorial authority with its own parliament (Amtsversammlung) and its own assets (Amtspflege).
- This resulted in a double function of the senior civil servant, who was not only a civil servant as before, but also functioned as organ of the official authority.
- Administration and justice were separated from each other at the senior office level.
Chapter V of the Constitution contained detailed information on the administrative structure and rights of municipalities and official bodies. In particular, § 64 provided that upper office limits could only be changed by law, i.e. with the consent of parliament. This possibility was only used very sparingly; only in 1842 were major changes made, affecting around thirty municipalities. A bill introduced by the government in 1911 to simplify administration in the sense of cost savings provided for only 42 senior offices, but was rejected by the Chamber of Deputies.
In 1919, renewed consideration was given to reducing the number of senior offices and restoring the uniformity lost due to the different population trends. After the Landtag had agreed to the abolition of the Cannstatt Superior Office on 1 October 1923,, the government attempted to dissolve the Blaubeuren, Brackenheim, Neresheim, Spaichingen, Sulz, Weinsberg and Welzheim Superior Offices on 1 April 1924 by emergency decree, covered by an enabling act. The protests caused by this led to the resignation of the government, the emergency decree was withdrawn and subsequently only the Weinsberg upper office was abolished (on 1 April 1926).<
In 1933, the organs of local self-government were dissolved. After the Oberamtmann had already been called Landrat since 1928 following the Prussian model, the Kreisordnung of 1934 replaced the names Oberamt by Kreis and Amtskörperschaft by Kreisverband, but did not yet include a change of boundaries. Only with the administrative district reform of 1938 were 27 of the remaining 61 districts abolished.
From 1824 to 1886, all the higher offices were statistically processed and their history, communities, population figures and the characteristics of their inhabitants were described in detail.
Many times characteristic is the description of the often mainly catholic new Württemberg areas, e.g. in Oberschwaben from the point of view of the old Württemberg/evangelically influenced Stuttgart bureaucracy (quote from the description of the Oberamts Ravensburg, p. 29: "The character of the inhabitants is generally praised more than in other neighbouring districts, it is described as simple and trusting").
The Oberamts descriptions have become sought-after and expensively paid collector's items; in the 1970s all volumes were therefore reprinted as reprints. Most of them are now also out of print again. All of them are now available in digital form, see Wikisource.
Today's traces of the Oberamts-ceilingsEdit
In the former Württemberg region Baden-Württembergs are often located in the former cities of the higher regional authorities.
The ecclesiastical administrative structures of the Evangelical Regional Church in Württemberge also largely reflect the former higher offices. In most of the former cities of the Oberamtscities there is still the seat of a deanery, whose area of responsibility is the same as the former Oberamt. Deviations from this are mainly in the majority Catholic areas and where new deaneries were established due to an increase in members (e.g. Ditzingen or Bernhausen).
List of the Württemberg senior offices (1811 to 1934)Edit
- |Author=Herzog Karl von Württemberg|Title=General Rescript concerning the title and rank of the Oberamtmänner from Febr. 1. 1759|Hrsg=Zeller|Sammelwerk=Sammlung der württembergischen Regierungsgesetze|Band=III|Ort=Tübingen|Datum=1843|Seiten=778}}
- "Organisationsedikt vom 18. März 1806". Archived from the original on 2016-03-05. Retrieved 2020-05-02.
- Königliches Manifest, die neue Eintheilung des Königreichs betreffend, vom 27. Oktober 1810 Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine (PDF; 2,9 MB)
- Title=General Ordinance concerning the Organization of the Medical Constitution in the Kingdoms of March 14/22, 1814,|Hrsg=Königlich Württembergisches Staats- und Regierungsblatt|Location=Stuttgart|
- |Author=Zoeppritz|Title=Das Oberamtsgesetz von 1912|Sammelwerk=Medizinisches Correspondenzblatt für Württemberg|Band=25|Ort=Stuttgart|Datum=1925|Seiten=377
- "Verfassungsurkunde vom 25. September 1819". Archived from the original on 2017-12-15. Retrieved 2020-05-02.
- Law, concerning changes in the boundaries of the upper administrative districts of July 6, 1842, effective September 1, 1842 (RegBl 1842/385)
- Law, concerning the division of the Cannstatt Superior Office District (RegBl 1923/385)
- Gesetz, betreffend Aufteilung des Oberamtsbezirks Weinsberg (RegBl 1926/89)
- "Gesetz über die vorläufige Vertretung der Amtskörperschaften vom 25. April 1933". Archived from the original on 2016-03-05. Retrieved 2020-05-02.
- Kreisordnung of 29 January 1934
- "Law on the division of the country of 25 April 1938". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 2 May 2020.
- 1819 fusioniert mit dem Oberamt Ulm.
- 1819 in Oberamt Welzheim umbenannt.
- Zuvor Amt Grüningen (bis 1718 und von 1722 bis 1758), das ab 1758 mit reduziertem Amtsbezirk als Oberamt Markgröningen fortbestand und 1806 zwischen den Oberämtern Ludwigsburg und Vaihingen an der Enz aufgeteilt wurde.
- 1842 umbenannt in Oberamt Laupheim.
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