Johann Konrad Oertli

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Johann Konrad Oertli (* 26 November 1816 in Teufen; † 21 July 1861 ibid.) was a Swiss politician, physician and journalist. In 1848/49 he belonged to the Council of States, from 1857 to 1859 to the National Council. He was also a member of the cantonal government from 1845 to 1853.


The son of Landammann Matthias Oertli attended the cantonal school in Trogen from 1826 to 1831, then the grammar school in St. Gallen until 1833. From 1834 Oertli studied medicine at the universities of Jena, Heidelberg and Göttingen. During his studies he became a member of the Jena fraternity in 1834. In 1839 he opened a medical practice in Teufen. From 1841 to 1853 he was a member of the medical commission of the canton of Appenzell Ausserrhoden (from 1845 as president), and in 1848 he was a federal division physician. From 1841 he held office as a municipal councillor in Teufen, then as municipal governor and member of the Grand Council until 1845.

Oertli was a convinced radical liberal who vigorously opposed the Jesuits and the Sonderbund. To this end he founded an anti-Jesuit committee in 1845. In the same year he was elected to the cantonal government and assumed the office of state governor, which he held until 1848. During this time he was also the Ausserrhoden envoy to the Tagsatzung. In addition, from 1845 to 1853 Oertli was a member of the cantonal marriage court and of the regional school commission (from 1850 as president). In 1848 he was a member of the commission that drafted the first federal constitution after the Sonderbund War, working closely with James Fazy and Jules Eytel

In 1848/49 Oertli was the first representative of Ausserrhoden in the Council of States, and from 1848, like his father before him, Landammann. In the cantonal government he was conspicuous for his sometimes authoritarian manner, which created numerous opponents for him. In June 1853 he was not confirmed in office by the Landsgemeinde, but instead elected to the National Council. Oertli firmly rejected this election and temporarily moved to Constance to avoid his mandate at the federal level. Oertli returned the same year and subsequently served as president of the cantonal court martial from 1854 to 1859. In 1857 he volunteered to run for the National Council and was elected, but three years later he declined to stand for re-election.

Oertli was a correspondent for the Appenzeller Zeitung. For this newspaper he first wrote combative articles against the Jesuits and ultramontanism, later he explained the politics of the cantonal government in his articles.


  • Helge Dvorak: Biographisches Lexikon der Deutschen Burschenschaft. Volume I: Politicians. Subvolume 4: M-Q. Winter, Heidelberg 2000, ISBN 3-8253-1118-X, pp. 242-243.

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