By Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Gregory Moore

This can be the 1st translation of Fichte's addresses to the German kingdom for nearly a hundred years. The sequence of 14 speeches, introduced while Berlin was once lower than French profession after Prussia's disastrous defeat on the conflict of Jena in 1806, is greatly considered as a founding record of German nationalism, celebrated and reviled in equivalent degree. Fichte's account of the individuality of the German humans and his trust within the local superiority of its tradition helped to form German nationwide id in the course of the 19th century and past. With an intensive creation that places Fichte's argument in its highbrow and ancient context, this version brings an incredible and seminal paintings to a contemporary readership. the entire traditional sequence positive aspects are supplied, together with notes for additional analyzing, chronology, and short biographies of key individuals.

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Extra info for Addresses to the German Nation (Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought)

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They deserve our attention not only because they so strikingly express the various elements from which German national consciousness was forged; in an age when questions of identity – national, cultural, religious – have acquired a new urgency, the Addresses also stand out as an early and impressive attempt to grapple with these ever-current issues. Though we must liberate Fichte from the one-eyed readings of the past, we should take care that we do not smooth out his rough edges and resolve the very ambiguity and contradictoriness that give his work its vitality and continued resonance.

And therefore it is my duty to acknowledge, before the same audience, that what I described as present is now past and has ceased to be the present. 6 7 Irgendwo – changed to this vaguer formulation on the insistence of the censors. In other words, French hegemony since Napoleon’s victories at Ulm, Austerlitz and JenaAuerstedt. 9 Addresses to the German Nation Whatever has lost its self-sufficiency has simultaneously lost its capacity to intervene in the stream of time and freely to determine the content thereof.

21 Educating the nation The renewal of the nation will not be achieved by political means alone. Modern humanity is so thoroughly corrupt, Fichte believes, that we must start all over – this really is a year zero – and create an entirely new order of things. This is only possible by introducing comprehensive improvements to the system of education and by putting our hopes in the next 21 See below, p. 172. xxix Introduction generation. ’22 Once this programme has been successfully implemented at the national level, it can be spread elsewhere and help humanity to realise its vocation: a society based on reason and freedom.

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