A Land Between Dread and Desire

The Orthosphere

“America is therefore the land of the future . . . . It is a land of desire for all those who are weary of the historical lumber-room of old Europe.” 

G.W.F. Hegel, Lectures on the Philosophy of History (1837)

Hegel called America a “land of desire” because, in the 1820s, when he gave his lectures on the philosophy of history, the American Spirit had only begun to realize its meaning as an objective America.   Old Europe was an “historical lumber-room” of spent dreams and hardened actualities.  Young America was the bare canvas of an artist whose brushes were still clean.  America was, in the 1820s, little more than ideas and the desire to make these ideas real.  The great west was empty, but America burned to make that wilderness into itself.

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