state school

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state school

any school maintained by the state, in which education is free

State School


a major trend in Russian bourgeois historiography in the second half of the 19th century. The exponents of the state school held that the supraclass state, which supposedly expressed the interests of society as a whole, was the main force in history. The term “juridical school,” which was also used, reflects the school’s predominant interest in juridical legislative material that was characteristic of the later exponents of the state school. The theoretical and philosophical basis of the state school was the reactionary side of G. Hegel’s idealist philosophy, with its apologia for monarchical government. In contrast to the historical school of S. M. Solov’ev, the state school represented a rejection by liberal bourgeois historiography of the idea that historical development occurs in conformity with natural laws.

The school’s founder, B. N. Chicherin, formulated the basic tenets of the state school at the end of the 1850’s: (1) the affirmation of the state as the driving force in Russian history, (2) the explanation of the state’s leading role in Russian history on the basis of natural conditions, and (3) following from these ideas, the counterposing of Russian history with the history of other peoples, especially those of Western Europe. These ideas were expressed in the collection Essays on the History of Russian Law (1858) and other works. The classic formula of the state school, “the enslavement and emancipation of the estates by the state.” was put forward as a definition of the social content of Russian history. The omnipotence of the state was explained by natural conditions: the steppe hindered the formation of stable societies and the people were presented as “solitary, wandering individuals” who were “lost in an immense, scarcely inhabited space.” The organizing role of the state, which created the estates and bound them to the service of the public interest, was set in opposition to these natural conditions. Chicherin believed that any changes could be effected only by the state. This conclusion reflected the striving of the Russian bourgeoisie for reforms that would be carried out by a strong authority capable of preventing a democratic revolution in the country. Chicherin’s theses were adopted by K. D. Kavelin, and at the end of the 1860’s V. I. Sergeevich became an adherent of the state school. Sergeevich substituted fixed juridical formulas and immutable juridical relationships for complex historical processes. Other followers of the state school included A. D. Gradovskii. 1. 1. Ditiatin. and many other bourgeois historians. The rejection of the principle of historical development in conformity with natural laws served as the basis for M. P. Pogodin’s rapprochement with the state school. Pogodin fully accepted its tenets in his later works, Ancient Russian History Prior to the Mongol Yoke (vols. 1–3. 1871). Some of the tenets of the state school were reflected in the works of S. M. Solov’ev. who accepted the thesis of “the enslavement and emancipation of the estates” in his later work but who nevertheless preserved to the end the fundamental principle of the unity of the inherent character of historical development governed by definite laws and the integral nature of this development.

Later exponents of the state school tried to relate their concepts to new, progressive phenomena in historical scholarship (the interest in problems of social and economic development) as represented by the work of V. O. Kliu-chevskii. However, on the whole the theses of the state school began to be employed at the end of the 19th century in the struggle against the consolidation of Marxist ideas in Russia. The best expression of this development was the work of P. N. Miliukov. The historians of the state school made a detailed study of political history and of the history of government institutions and laws, but they denied the very possibility of the unity of the world historical process. The theories of the state school at the beginning of the 20th century reflected the ever-deepening ideological and methodological crisis of Russian bourgeois historiography.


Ocherki istorii istoricheskoi nauki v SSSR. vol. 1–2. Moscow. 1955—60.
Rubinshtein. N. L. Russkaia istoriografiia. Moscow. 1941.


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The assessment was welcomed by the Government, which claimed that over a million more pupils are being taught in state schools rated "good or outstanding" now, compared to 2010.
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