Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

Wilhelm von Humboldt

Friedrich Wilhelm Christian Karl Ferdinand Freiherr von Humboldt

The grand, leading principle, towards which every argument hitherto unfolded in these pages directly converges, is the absolute and essential importance of human development in its richest diversity; but national education, since at least it presupposes the selection and appointment of some one instructor, must always promote a definite form of development, however careful to avoid such an error. And hence it is attended with all those disadvantages which we before observed to flow from such a positive policy; and it only remains to be added, that every restriction becomes more directly fatal, when it operates on the moral part of our nature,—that if there is one thing more than another which absolutely requires free activity on the part of the individual, it is precisely education, whose object it is to develop the individual.


Wilhelm von Humboldt, The Limits of State Action (1792), English edition The Sphere and Duties of Government, as translated by Joseph Coulthard (1854).

By: Redactor

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