Page:Popular Works of Johann Gottlieb Fichte (1889) Vol 2.djvu/157

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The Scientific constitution of the Third Age has been sufficiently described in our former lectures, partly in itself, and partly by means of antecedent and succeeding conditions. The remaining characteristics and peculiarities of any Age depend upon its Social condition, and especially upon the State, and are to be defined thereby. Therefore we cannot proceed with our delineation of the Third Age, until we have seen to what stage of its development the State has attained in this Age,—of course in the countries of the highest Culture,—to what extent the Absolute Idea of the State is therein expressed and realized, and how far it is not.

In none of the relations of Humanity does our Race possess less real liberty, and in none is it more hindered and obstructed, than in the constitution of the State, which being chiefly determined by the common condition of mankind, checks the activity of men of the highest wisdom, and sets limits to the realization of their plans. The political constitution of an Age is therefore the result of its earlier fortunes, whereby its present condition has been determined, which in turn determines its constitution;—hence this constitution cannot be understood in the way in which we shall endeavour here to understand