Russian Genius Without Crediting Winter or Stalinist Hagiography: A Review of Dominic Lieven’s “Russia Against Napoleon”

One of the problems of the Napoleonic Wars is dealing with the downfall of Napoleon. Most of us are probably familiar with the story: Napoleon invaded Russia in 1812. While he was immensely proud and filled with hubris, Napoleon performed well—even capturing Moscow. Then Winter came and disaster struck. Winter, moreover than the Russians, spelled … Continue reading Russian Genius Without Crediting Winter or Stalinist Hagiography: A Review of Dominic Lieven’s “Russia Against Napoleon”

Immanuel Kant: On Perpetual Peace

Among Immanuel Kant’s famous essays is his essay “To Eternal Peace” (alternatively titled “On Perpetual Peace”).  In this essay, published in 1795 right at the onset of the French Revolutionary Wars, Kant follows up on his philosophy of history by offering deep contemplation on the nature of unfolding history and constitutions to peace among nations.  … Continue reading Immanuel Kant: On Perpetual Peace

Hegel and Napoleon: On Heroes and the Sublime in History

There are two great stories concerning Hegel and Napoleon. The first, undeniably fantastical and romantic, is that Hegel was finishing up his draft manuscript of the Phenomenology of Spirit as the Battle of Jena roared behind him as he escaped the hellfire of the morning; the second, true, relates to Hegel’s encounter with Napoleon which … Continue reading Hegel and Napoleon: On Heroes and the Sublime in History

Carl Schmitt’s “Concept of the Political”: The Friend-Enemy Distinction

In one of his early and most well-known works, the Concept of the Political, Carl Schmitt endeavors to explore what the political is and is not.  There are multiple layers to Schmitt’s thinking and his criticism of liberalism, in particular, and where he sees himself in the grand scheme of Hegelian epochal historicism and the broader … Continue reading Carl Schmitt’s “Concept of the Political”: The Friend-Enemy Distinction