Volume 133 Number 4
  • ISSN: 0040-7518
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1163



The idea of a people’s state was central to nineteenth-century German political thought from the aftermath of the French Revolution to the beginning of the First World War. However, it has not as yet been studied either systematically or thoroughly. This article explores the concept of the people’s state in German political texts, arguing that the people’s state has a double meaning: it could either be a state for the people, such as a republic, or a state with one supposedly homogenous population. The two notions are intertwined, and this could explain how the people’s state became a central idea in ideologies as diverse as socialism, liberalism, and nationalism, as well as anti-Semitism and national-socialism. The development of the idea of a people’s state in the nineteenth century is crucial for a better understanding of political thinking in twentieth-century Germany.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): conceptual history; Germany; ideology; nationalism; people’s state
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