內容簡介 Wilhelm von Humboldt's theory is among the first to firmly espouse a libertarian philosophy of government. It is presented here complete, in a translation by Joseph Coulthard. The stated mission of this text is to define the correct limits for government, and its obligations to the citizenry. To arrive at his conclusion, Humboldt investigates what the true nature of man is - what are his aims in life, and what is the ideal situation which a human being could practically conceive for himself? For Humboldt, man's work for himself leads to the collective group benefiting. Large endeavors can be accomplished, not through the rigors of state proscription, but through the fact that humans are a single species capable of conceiving when to unite and when to strive alone. This biological unity is echoed throughout the text, which focuses on the institutions that comprise a society. In his conclusion, Humboldt finds no compelling reason for the state to exist in the context of individual lives. He champions the individual over nationalistic sentiments, and trusts to them a good amount of power. Yet the state has some power in ensuring that children (who have not developed powers of judgment) are raised properly, as well as those with disabilities or impairments. Education is to emphasize pure knowledge and the individual's power to achieve. The largest exception to Humboldt's idea of a slim government however is protection of the population. Those who may not share ideals of a small government and think to invade must be repelled by a military. For civil protection aspects of what we would today term a police force, should remain to ensure well-being and order. Although Humboldt is today remembered primarily for his work in education and development of language, his philosophical ideas of government are notable for their ideas of individuality. As an educator, he was concerned with the practicality of his notions, and this book concludes with ideas upon testing this.