By Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Gregory Moore

ISBN-10: 0521444047

ISBN-13: 9780521444040

This is often the 1st translation of Fichte's addresses to the German kingdom for nearly a hundred years. The sequence of 14 speeches, brought while Berlin used to be below French career after Prussia's disastrous defeat on the conflict of Jena in 1806, is extensively considered as a founding rfile of German nationalism, celebrated and reviled in equivalent degree. Fichte's account of the uniqueness of the German humans and his trust within the local superiority of its tradition helped to form German nationwide id through the 19th century and past. With an intensive advent that places Fichte's argument in its highbrow and ancient context, this variation brings an incredible and seminal paintings to a contemporary readership. all the traditional sequence good points are supplied, together with notes for extra analyzing, chronology, and short biographies of key individuals.

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Extra resources for Addresses to the German Nation (Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought)

Example text

Selfishness is developed to its highest degree when, after it has captured, with only a few insignificant exceptions, the totality of those ruled, it then takes possession of the rulers also and becomes their sole impulse in life. In such a government there arises, outwards first of all, the neglect of all ties through which its own security is linked to the security of other states, the surrender of the whole of which it is a member solely so that it be not disturbed in its torpid repose, and the sad delusion entertained by selfishness that it enjoys peace so long as its own borders are not attacked;8 then, inwards, that slackening of the reins of state, for which the foreign words are humanity [Humanita¨t], liberality [Liberalita¨t] and popularity [Popularita¨t], but which in German are more correctly called slackness [Schlaffheit] and undignified conduct [Betragen ohne Wu¨rde].

Maurizio Viroli’s, For Love of Country (Oxford University Press, 1997) is also helpful. For the historical background of Fichte’s activity, see: G. P. Gooch, Germany and the French Revolution (London: Longmans, 1920), which is still an extremely good overview, particularly with respect to leading literary and intellectual figures (there is a chapter on Fichte); Stefan Berger, The Search for Normality: National Identity and Historical Consciousness in Germany since 1800 (New York: Berghahn, 1997); Matthew Bernard Levinger, Enlightened Nationalism: The Transformation of Prussian Political Culture, 1806–1848 (Oxford University Press, 2000).

1. I speak for Germans only, of Germans simply, without acknowledging, indeed leaving aside and rejecting, all the divisive distinctions that unhappy events have wrought for centuries in this one nation. You, worshipful gentlemen, may be to my outward eye the first and immediate representatives who bring home to me the cherished national characteristics and the visible burning point in which the flame of my discourse kindles; but my spirit gathers about itself the educated portion of the entire German nation, from all the lands over which it is spread, considers and heeds the situation and circumstances common to us all, 10 Preliminary remarks and overview and wishes that a part of the vital force with which these addresses perhaps seize you remains also in its mute transcript that alone will come before the eyes of those absent here today, infuses it, and everywhere inflames German souls to decision and action.

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Addresses to the German Nation (Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought) by Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Gregory Moore


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