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writings of

Wilhelm Von Humboldt

(1767-1835)

Founder of the University of Berlin (which, today, bears his name), the remarkable Wilhelm Von Humboldt authored "The Limits of State Action," one of the most extraordinary works of political philosophy produced by the early liberals. Anticipating the arguments of the anarchists of the 19th century, Humboldt declares "the true end of Man" to be "the highest and most harmonious development of his powers to a complete and consistent whole." Man is a work of art, one that is always in progress. Continuing this progress requires an environment where social interaction can occur free of external constraints. Unpublished in its entirety until 17 years after the author's death, the work became an important influence upon a long line of thinkers from John Stuart Mill to Noam Chomsky.
 

The Limits of State Action (1792)

(a.k.a. "The Sphere and Duties of Government")

Translated by Joseph Coulthard (1854)

"The true end of Man... is the highest and most harmonious development of his powers to a complete and consistent whole. Freedom is the grand and indispensable condition which the possibility of such a development presupposes; but there is besides another essential,—intimately connected with freedom, it is true,—a variety of situations...."

  PREFACE.

 CHAPTER I.
Introduction.

 CHAPTER II.
Of the Individual Man, and the Highest Ends of His Existence.

 CHAPTER III.
On the Solicitude of the State for the Positive Welfare of the Citizen.

 CHAPTER IV.
Of the Solicitude of the State for the Negative Welfare of the Citizen--For His Security.

 CHAPTER V.
On the Solicitude of the State for Security against Foreign Enemies.

 CHAPTER VI.
On the Solicitude of the State for the Mutual Security of the Citizens.--Means for Attaining this End--Institutions for Reforming the Mind and Character of the Citizen.--National Education.

 CHAPTER VII.
Religion.

 CHAPTER VIII.
Amelioration of Morals.

 CHAPTER IX.
The Solicitude of the State for Security More Accurately and Positively Defined.--Further Development of the Idea of Security

 CHAPTER X.
On the Solicitude of the State for Security with respect to Actions which Directly relate to the Agent Only. (Police Laws.)

 CHAPTER XI.
On the Solicitude of the State for Security with respect to Such of the Citizens’ Actions as relate Directly to Others. (Civil Laws.)

 CHAPTER XII.
On the Solicitude of the State for Security as Manifested in the Juridical Decision of Disputes among the Citizens.

 CHAPTER XIII.
On the Solicitude for Security as Manifested in the Punishment of Transgressions of the State’s Laws.

 CHAPTER XIV.
On the Solicitude of the State for the Welfare of Minors, Lunatics, and Idiots.

 CHAPTER XV.
Means for the Preservation of the State Organism. Completion of the Theory.

 CHAPTER XVI.
Practical Application of the Theory Proposed.



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