GHDI logo

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, "The Constitution of Germany," unpublished manuscript (1800-1802)
page 9 of 9


The principle of the original German state which has spread from Germany over all of Europe was the principle of monarchy, a political power under a head for the conduct of general affairs, and with the participation of the people through representatives. The form has remained in the “Reichstag,” but the substance has vanished. In the long vacillation of Europe between barbarity and culture, the German state has not succeeded in transforming itself — [ . . . ] the state has dissolved. The Germans did not succeed in finding the mean between suppression and despotism—what they called universal monarchy—and complete dissolution.

[ . . . ] Even though all parts would gain, if Germany became one state, it should be remembered that such an event has never been the fruit of reflection, but only of force, even if it corresponded to the general development and the need were felt deeply and distinctly. The common multitude of the German people together with their local estates must be gathered into one mass by the force of a conqueror, they must be forced to consider themselves as belonging to Germany.

Such a Theseus ought to have generosity and to give to the people whom he has created out of the little peoples a share in what concerns all. [ . . . ]




Source of English translation: G.W.F. Hegel, The Philosophy of Hegel, edited by Carl J. Friedrich, copyright 1953, 1954 by Random House, Inc. Used by permission of Modern Library, a division of Random House, Inc., pp. 527-39.

Source of original German text: Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Schriften und Entwürfe [Writings and Drafts] (1799-1808), edited by Manfred Baum and Kurt Rainer Meist. Hamburg: Felix Meiner Verlag, 1998, pp. 58-66, 149-57, 161-78.

First Page < Previous   |   Next > Last Page