Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

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What are the basic ideas of Hegel's philosophy of state?

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Hegel saw the state as the ultimate expression of family and civil society. His model of the state sought to combine monarchical, democratic, and aristocratic forms of government into a single political structure.

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Hegel saw the state as the ultimate expression of familial love. The purpose of the state is to ensure the happiness of its citizens and to provide an environment in which individuals can thrive.

His model of government seeks to combine three separate forms: aristocracy, democracy, and monarchy. It would be led by a hereditary monarch. One of the more interesting aspects of Hegel's model of government is his conception of the legislature, or "Estates Assembly," which would eschew geographic representation in favor of representing people through their work. To this end, he proposed two chambers, one reserved for the "natural aristocracy" of the agrarian class and the other for representatives of the various trades.

Hegel thought a monarch was essential. This one person would provide unity and identity to the state, and his personal ethics would provide a counterbalance to the Estates Assembly. In this regard, it was clear that an elected head of state would be undesirable, since that person would be bound to his supporters. As the voice of the nation, the head of state must to be independent of such influence.

Finally, Hegel thought that the true power of the monarchy should lie in a developed bureaucracy or cabinet. The role of the bureaucracy would be to develop new policies and legislation, which the Estates Assembly would either enact or reject.

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