This introductory chapter first sets out the book's focus, namely Johann Gottlieb Fichte (1762–1814), whose investigation of the idea of perpetual peace culminated in his Der geschlossene Handelsstaat, or The Closed Commercial State (1800). Fichte was a sometime disciple and self-appointed successor of Kant, and is widely regarded as a major philosopher in his own right, but much of his political thought has yet to receive the sustained attention it deserves. His Closed Commercial State was a pivotal development of Kant's model of perpetual peace. This book shows how Fichte redefined the political economy of the Kantian ideal and extended it into a strategic analysis of the prospects for pacifying modern Europe. An overview of the subsequent chapters is also presented.
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