Harrison Fluss at The Jacobin:
In July 1820, G. W. F. Hegel and his students arrived in Dresden to see some of the city’s art. The year was not an auspicious one for liberal or revolutionary circles.
Napoleon’s armies disbanded, Europe’s reactionary powers restored the old order through the Holy Alliance. With police spies snooping around, positive sentiments for the French Revolution and the ghosts of progress were seldom exhibited. Such sentiments were forced underground by reaction, and to even speak favorably about the revolution in public or in official circles would be near-lunacy. That’s why in the case of Hegel — someone described as a Prussian-state philosopher — the scene Terry Pinkard describes is remarkable.
Hegel gathered friends and colleagues and ordered top-shelf champagne — Champagne Sillery, the most distinguished of its day. He passed bottles around the table, but “when it became clear that nobody at the table knew exactly why they should be drinking to that particular day, Hegel turned in mock astonishment and with raised voice declared, ‘This glass is for the 14th of July, 1789 — to the storming of the Bastille.’”
Needless to say, this toast astonished the students there, among them Eduard Gans, who would later become Marx’s law professor. How could Hegel be so reckless to express such dangerous sympathies at the height of Restoration Europe?