Diego de Paz Jimenez
Degree in primary education 1º
The formation of the Nation State
* Development of nationalistic thought in Germany, end of the XVIIIth century
* Herder, with Yet another philosophy of the history of mankind, 1774, was one of the first and most important representatives.
* Herder attacked the idea of the enlightenedphilosophers that mankind, along history, made a linear progress.
* Those enlightened authors believed that every generation lived better than the generation before, and every generation contributed with its efforts to make life better for future generations. Finally the whole mankind would participate in progress. They departed from the idea that all men were basically the same and that, with thehelp of reason, everybody would participate in progress.
* These enlightened ideas formed part of a court culture, which in Germany was shared by the French speaking elites. Herder and other German intelectuals, which had enjoyed a universitarian education, felt exlcuded by this court elite.
* Example: Goethe, The sorrows of young Werther, 1774
* “What beings are men, whose wholethoughts are occupied with form and ceremony, who for years together devote their mental and physical exertions to the task of advancing themselves but one step, and endeavouring to occupy a higher place at the table. Nor that such persons would otherwise want employment: on the contrary, they give themselves much trouble by neglecting important bussines for such petty trifles. Last week a question ofprecedence arose at a sledging-party, and all our amusement was spoiled.
* The silly creatures cannot see that it is not place which constitutes real greatness, since the man who occupies the first place but seldom plays the principal part. How many kings are governed by their ministers –how many ministers by their secretaries? Who, in such cases, is really the chief? He, as it seems to me, whocan see through the others, and possesses strength or skill enough to make their power or passions subservient to the execution of his own desires.”
* Goethe contrasted the superficiality of the court elite with the deep sentiments of young Werther, when he told that he was insensibly thrown out of the social gathering of a count who was a friend of his.
* “… The Count of O*** likes anddistinguishes me. It is well known, and I have mentioned this to you a hundred times. Yesterday I dined with him. It is the day on which the nobility are accustomed to assemble at his house in the evening. I never once thought of the assembly, nor that we subalterns did not belong to such society. Well, I dined with the count; and after dinner, we adjourned to the large hall. We walked up and downtogether: and I conversed with him, and with Colonel B***, who joined us; and in this manner the hour for the assembly approached.
* I was engaged in observing Miss B***, and did not notice that the women were whispering at the end of the room, that the murmur extended by degrees to the men, that Madame S*** addressed the count with much warmth (this was all related to me subsequently by MissB***); till at length the count came up to me, and took me to the window. “You know our ridiculous customs,” he said. “I perceive the company is rather displeased at your being here. I woud not on any account-“ “I beg your excellency’s pardon!” I exclaimed. “I ought to have thought of this before, but I know you will forgive this little inattention. I was going.” I added, “some time ago, but myevil genius detained me.” And I smiled and bowed, to take my leave. He shook me by the hand, in a manner which expressed everything. I hastened at once from the illustrius assembly, sprang into a carriage, and drove to M***. I contemplated the setting sun from the top of the hill, and read that beautiful passage in Homer, where Ulysses is entertained by the hospitable herdsmen.”