In Lectures on the Philosophy of History, Hegel seeks to interpret the whole scope of history through his dialectical method. “World history,” says Hegel, “represents the development of the spirit’s consciousness of its own freedom and of the consequent realization of this freedom.” He argues that all of history follows the development of reason; it is the outworking of the absolute spirit’s discovery of its own consciousness. Published posthumously, the work is a compilation of notes from a series of lectures given at the University of Berlin between 1821 and 1831.
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Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770–1831) was born in Stuttgart, Germany. He received his early education at the Gymnasium Illustre in Stuttgart. He entered the seminary at the University of Tubingen in 1788, graduating with a degree in theology. After graduating, Hegel tutored the children of an aristocratic family in Berlin. He left Berlin to lecture on logic and metaphysics at the university in Jena, becoming an Extraordinary Professor in 1805. Displaced by Napoleon’s campaign through Prussia, Hegel took the position of editor at a newspaper in Bamberg. In 1808, Hegel left Bamberg to become headmaster of a gymnasium in Nuremberg. In 1811, he married Marie Helena Susanna von Tucher, with whom he had two sons. Hegel briefly accepted a post at the University of Heidelberg before accepting the chair of philosophy at the University of Berlin, where he remained until his death.