Thoughts on Materials for the Philosophy of the History of Mankind

“Materials for the Philosophy of the History of Mankind” was written by Johann Gottfried von Herder in 1784. In the article he emphasizes the concept of nationalism and tries to explain what it means to be a nationalist.

He explains that it is human nature not to be aware of where you are from but he emphasizes nationalism can be based on people who have a “common history, language, and tradition” (Halsall, 1). He explicitly explains that it is human nature to be aware of being in a town or family rather than a sovereign state.

Although the article was written for a German-based audience, the document was an important piece for the French revolution. “Materials for the Philosophy of the History of Mankind” helped unify the French by essentially saying that those who speak the same language, (French in this situation) should be proud to part of a great state.

One thought on “Thoughts on Materials for the Philosophy of the History of Mankind

  1. I agree with the fact that human being are biologically programmed to thrive in smaller groups. While this may be our biological predisposition, the human mind has an incredible ability to abstract various inputs in order to create a new reality. A common history, language, and tradition are all concepts that the human mind is able to synthesize and incorporate into a very new and distinct mode of existence, the nation-state.

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