chapter  9
8 Pages

On the Relation of and Distinction between History and Politics (1836)

As you are well aware, my honored audience and dear colleagues, nothing occupies people in our times more than the desire and inclination to improve government or to cast it into new forms. I believe that this urge originates from two causes: partly from boredom with the institutions of our ancestors, which they say have changed and deviated from the original intentions of their creators; and partly from a certain preconceived notion about the best forms of government, which has, somehow, been absorbed into every soul like a physical necessity and to whose standard the state must conform itself for its own good, either at once or gradually. Nor can we say that only ignorant or evil persons, seized with an inordinate desire for novelty, have chosen this path. We know rather that there are honorable men, patriots, who have adopted the same viewpoint, or at least have not condemned it.