To show at what point of its development the State has arrived in our own Age, is our next business as announced in the last lecture. The intelligibility of the demonstration which we have to make must evidently depend upon our starting from a strictly defined conception of the State in its Absolute Form.
There is nothing, especially in the Epoch in which we live, about which more has been written, read, and spoken, than about the State: therefore in all cultivated, even if not exactly scientific society, we can reckon, almost with certainty, upon a greater amount of existing knowledge and opinion concerning the State than concerning any other subject. We must first of all declare, especially with regard to what we intend to say here upon this question, that we partly coincide with certain well-known authors but upon other and profounder principles than theirs; while we differ from them again in many important matters: and that the view of the State most prevalent among German Philosophers is not unknown to us, according to which the State ought to be almost nothing more than a juridical institution;—a view which we oppose with deliberate and well-considered determination. It is to be remembered, then, that we are