Hegel on American Law and Economics

In further comparing North America with Europe, we find in the former the perennial example of a republican system of government. There is an inner unity in it, for there is a president as head of state who is elected for only four years (as security against any possible monarchical ambitions). The general protection of property and the almost total absence of taxes are continually commended. This shows us the basic character of the society: it is marked by the private person’s striving for acquisition and profit and by the predominance of a private interest which devotes itself to the community for personal benefit alone. There is, to be sure, a legal system, and a formal coed of laws; but this legality has nothing to do with integrity — and so the American merchants have the bad reputation of cheating with the protection of the law.

Hegel, Introduction to the Philosophy of History, translated by Leo Rauch, 88-89.


2 thoughts on “Hegel on American Law and Economics

  1. horatiox says:

    Integrity, eh Herr Doktor? Is that like rational integrity (whatever that may be), or a mo’ Lutheran sort…..


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