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The Sphere and Duties of Government, Tr. from [Ideen Zu Einem Versuch &C.] by J. Coulthard
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The Sphere and Duties of Government, Tr. from [Ideen Zu Einem Versuch &C.] by J. Coulthard

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  80 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
This is a reproduction of a book published before 1923. This book may have occasional imperfections such as missing or blurred pages, poor pictures, errant marks, etc. that were either part of the original artifact, or were introduced by the scanning process. We believe this work is culturally important, and despite the imperfections, have elected to bring it back into pri ...more
Paperback, 268 pages
Published March 16th 2010 by Nabu Press (first published January 1st 1854)
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Djordje Mladenović
Consdering the date this book was writen, postulates of liberalism that are discribed in it still stands. Maybe not in the exact way that they are described in the book... Changed, I would say. Of course, some things have changed a lot (attitude toward women), and some are still the same. But thats the beauty of this book. You can see the similarities and the differences between now and then.
Eric Gulliver
May 14, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics
This text of Classical Liberalism speaks for itself.

“The true end of Man, or that which is prescribed by the eternal and immutable dictates of reason, and not suggested by vague and transient desires, is the highest and most harmonious development of his powers to a complete and consistent whole. Freedom is the first and indispensable condition which the possibility of such a development presupposes;” (16).

“But, still, freedom is undoubtedly the indispensable condition, without which even the p
...more
Billie Pritchett
Enlightenment thinker Wilhelm von Humboldt outlines his political theory in this book, arguing for a libertarian conception of the state. He believes basically that the state should only be entrusted to ensure the security of its citizens and nothing more. The rest of the transactions that would occur between people would occur from their free and creative impulses, including education, work practices, road safety, etc. (by the way, he did not actually mention work and roads but on his theory th ...more
Otto Lehto
Nov 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Humboldt's posthumously released classic text is still a radical libertarian's wet dream. It is hard to believe it was written in the 1790's and not in the 1990's! But it is also a passionately humanistic and optimistic treatise about human nature from an Enlightenment polymath and visionary.

Humboldt, like his brother Alexander, was a Renaissance man of science, art and politics. In addition to being a bit of closeted (and sometimes openly) ultra-liberal or libertarian - even leaning towards an
...more
Ken Schaefer
Hard book to slog through.
Gottfried Sam
Humboldt says -- To what end state institutions should be set to their activity is the design of the whole book, and most important question.


I learnt about Freedom, and could see how America has it in their conscious thought. My favorite part of the book was, when he said, "Men who love labour for its own sake, improve it by their plastic genius and inventive skill, cultivate intellect and refine their pleasures."

I would recommend this book to Political philosophers.
Bima Putra
Feb 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the greatest essay about freedom
Craig Bolton
"LIMITS OF STATE ACTION, THE by WILHELM VON HUMBOLDT (1993)"
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Wilhelm (Friedrich Wilhelm Christian Karl Ferdinand) von Humboldt, German man of letters extraordinary, close friend of the poets Goethe and Schiller, whose life's work encompasses the areas of philosophy, literature, linguistics, anthropology, education, and political thought as well statesmanship was born in Potsdam on June 23, 1767 and died at Tegel near Berlin on April 8, 1835. Although there ...more
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“If we reason that we want happiness for others, not for ourselves, then we ought justly to be suspected of failing to recognize human nature for what it is and of wishing to turn men into machines.” 8 likes
“All situations in which the interrelationships between extremes are involved are the most interesting and instructive.” 2 likes
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