The first reform was the restoration of the gilds, to which the Conservatives attached great importance.
In 1876, however, the party in Prussi; reunited on a programme-which demanded the maintenance of the Christian character of the schools, cessation of the Kulturkampf, limitation of economic liberty, and repression of social democracy, and this was accepted also by the Conservatives in the Reichstag.
It deprived the Quakers of their part in the control of the government and forced many Conservatives into the Loyalist party.
The orthodox Conservatives and some democrats who were jealous of his influence, while afraid to beard the great statesman himself, combined to assail his nearest friends.
In the Reichstag he had originally been a member of the National Liberal party, but in 1879 he was the first to accept the new commercial policy of Bismarck, and in his later years he joined the Moderate Conservatives, but his deafness prevented him from taking a prominent part in debate.