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N.2/2017 Riforme religiose, rivoluzioni politiche

Hegel e l’identità politica europea

Alessandro Volpe

Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele

Published in December, 2017

Riforme religiose Rivoluzioni politiche.

Hegel and the European Political Identity


The present essay aims to focus on Hegel’s concept of the European political identity, throught three points of view. In the first place, the birth of European identity in the Modern Age and the notion of “germanic world”. According to Hegel, there are essentially three decisive events, all occurring between the 15th and 16th Century: the growing autonomy of European monarchies, the crumbling of Christian unity after the Lutheran Reformation and the discovery of the New World. In the second place, the historical/conceptual relationship and the opposition between Europe and Nations. Hegel solves this conflict by identifying the European political culture with the independence of Nations and with the new policies introduced by the French Revolution, finding a mediation model in the Prussian Kingdom of his time. The fundamental features of the European political culture are found precisely in the encounter between France and German. In the third place, the issue of the European balance of power in the period of the Restoration. Hegel rejects every cosmopolitan thesis, especially the Kantian idea of “perpetual peace”, considered abstract and obsolete. The only possible balance must be based on the mutual recognition of free and sovereign State nations. By this perspective, it is possible to highlight some general and still relevant themes and issues of the idea of Europe, also with the support of two classics on this topic: Storia dell’idea di Europa by Federico Chabod and L’Europe by Lucien Febvre.


Hegel, Idea of Europe, Modern Age, Revolution, Reforms, Cosmopolitanism

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