chapter  VI
55 Pages

The Political Philosophy (1816-1821)

Napoleon had to a large extent crushed the vestiges of feudalism in Germany. The Civil Code was introduced in many parts of the former German Reich. 'Civil equality, religious liberty, the abolition of the tithe and of feudal rights, the sale of ecclesiastic holdings, the suppression of the guilds, the multiplication of the bureaucracy, and a "wise and liberal" administration, a constitution that brought with it the voting of taxes and of laws by the notables, all these were to weave a network of interest closely bound with the maintenance of French domination.' 1 The absurdly impotent Reich had been replaced by a number of sovereign states, especially in southern Germany. These states, to be sure, were only caricature forms of a modern sovereign state as we know it, but they nevertheless were a marked advance over the former terri-

torial subdivisions of the Reich, which had vainly sought to accommodate the development of capitalism to the old order of society. The new states were at least larger economic units; they had a centralized bureaucracy, a simpler system for administering justice, and a more rational method of taxation under some kind of public control. These innovations seemed to be in line with Hegel's demand for a more rational ordering of political forms to permit the development of the new intellectual and material forces unleashed by the French Revolution, and it is no wonder, therefore, that he at first viewed the struggle against Napoleon as a reactionary opposition. His reference to the 'War of Liberation' is, therefore, contemptuous and ironical. He went so far, in fact, that he could not acknowledge the defeat of Napoleon as final even after the Allies had triumphantly entered Paris.