THE LEGACY OF MEDIEVAL CONSTITUTIONALISM IN THE PHILOSOPHY OF RIGHT: HEGEL AND THE PRUSSIAN REFORM MOVEMENT
This article investigates the influence of constitutional debates emerging from the Prussian reform movement, 1810-9, on Hegel's theory of the modern constitutional state, as articulated in the Philosophy of Right. I argue that Hegel's theory, which combined constitutional monarchy with a sheme of corporate representation in assembled estates, was not simply a product of an abstract rationalist philosophy but rather, a deeply ideological vision of the medieval origins of modern Germany. In reconstructing the intellectual context of the Prussian Verfassungsfrage, I illustrate how Hegel carved out a middle way between the political thought of the Prussian reformers, such as Chancellor Hardenberg and Wilhelm von Humboldt, and the feudalist reactionaries, or Junkers, who eventually derailed the programme of constitutional reform.
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Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: Dept. of Politics, Princeton University, Corwin Hall, Princeton, NJ 08544, USA., Email: [email protected]
Publication date: January 1, 2008