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Essay on George Wilhelm Friedrich and the French Revolution

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George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel was a German Philosopher who was born in Stuttgart in 1770. As a young man, he studied theology, but was also impelled to explore philosophy due to the upheaval of this treacherous time in history. The Reign of Terror and French Revolution had a huge impact on Germany and Europe, and Hegel became caught up in the fervor and outrage of the period and wanted to take a deeper look at the events that were occurring. His look and analysis of the French Revolution is what began his reflection of history.
After graduation from the seminary, Hegel joined the faculty of the University of Jena, the philosophic center of Germany. While there, he wrote Phenomenology of Spirit, his first major book. Hegel left the University in 1806 after the battle of Jena in which Napoleon and his troops battled Frederick William III of Prussia. Hegel then moved to Nuremburg and became headmaster of philosophy at a high school there, with future teaching philosophy positions secured at several universities. During this time as an educator, he published his books Science of Logic (1813), Encyclopedia of the Philosophical Sciences (1817), and his Philosophy of Right (1821). Hegel died in 1831 due to contracting cholera during the European pandemic. His friends and contemporaries believed that he still had a significant contribution to philosophy left to make. They gathered his hand-written lecture notes and combined them with transcripts of his lectures made by his student listeners. The resulting publications were the Philosophy of Art, the Philosophy of Religion, the Philosophy of History, and the History of Philosophy.
Hegel proposed that we can better understand ourselves and the world by studying history. In his Philosophy...


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...ational freedom and is the actualization of freedom as it expands, unfolds, and thus creates history. The means that Spirit uses to realize itself is human life, and as we all know, humans have subjective ideas, interests, passions, and spirit of their own. When these passions combine with universal laws, Spirit unfolds and history happens. The union of an entire culture and government is called State, and this is how Spirit actualizes itself in unique forms. Finally, Spirit constantly changes and reinvents itself through time and historical events. As Spirit actualizes itself in a stable State, the natural process then leads to a change of the status-quo, and breakdown occurs. This constant struggle between self-destruction and self-renewal is the way in which Spirit is re-actualized in a new State. According to Hegel, this is the force behind all of human history.



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