Did Hegel or Marx give any examples? Can anyone give a couple of instances?

I can find no event repeating itself twice, just one drive, lust of power

  • 2
    Depending on what you believe, some people would say the American Republican party is repeating the lead-up to Nazi-ism, and other people would say the American Democrat party is repeating the lead-up to the fall of the Roman Empire... Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 13:08
  • 2
    And some of us non-Americans can see both happening. Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 14:05
  • 1
    History in Hegel and Marx does not exactly repeat itself, for it undergoes a progressive development and cannot be precisely predicted in the manner of scientific laws. However, similar patterns can be discerned. Marx famously remarked that history repeats itself "The first time as tragedy, the second time as farce." He refers in this case to the French Revolution and rise of Napoleon and the subsequent "bourgeois" revolution and the rise of the insipid Napoleon III. Commented May 16, 2021 at 16:14
  • "Once identified--such as small pox or typhoid--then science could step in to advise how to limit the spread by changing human behavior--wearing a mask for example--or by developing vaccines to cure an individual"? Vacines don't have therapeutic functions. Try preventive instead!
    – user57331
    Commented Jan 5, 2022 at 16:33

2 Answers 2


Are you referring only to the well-know Marx's quote into The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon (1851-52) regarding Hegel, or are you considering Hegel's philosophy of history in general ?

Hegel's philosophy of history is perhaps the most fully developed philosophical theory of history that attempts to discover meaning or direction in history. [...] He constructs specific moments as “world-historical” events that were in the process of bringing about the final, full stage of history and human freedom. For example, Napoleon's conquest of much of Europe is portrayed as a world-historical event doing history's work by establishing the terms of the rational bureaucratic state.

Thus, Hegel's view of history has no "recurrence".

Marx comment is about Hegel's Lectures on the Philosophy of History (1837), Part III : The Roman World, Section II: Rome from the Second Punic War to the Emperors, regarding Caesar :

But it became immediately manifest that only a single will could guide the Roman State, and now the Romans were compelled to adopt that opinion; since in all periods of the world a political revolution is sanctioned in men’s opinions, when it repeats itself. Thus Napoleon was twice defeated, and the Bourbons twice expelled. By repetition that which at first appeared merely a matter of chance and contingency becomes a real and ratified existence [emphasis added].


Really? You couldn't come up with any historic events that have repeated more than once. The most obvious would be the pandemic. In the 1660's the 'known world' faced the Black Plague, then there were outbreaks of cholera and yellow fever, in the 1910's Spanish Flu epidemic, in the 80's HIV/AIDS, we've seen SARS, West Nile Fever and today we are dealing with Covid-19. How about this for history repeating itself... during the Spanish Flu epidemic face masks were REQUIRED by law. From Spring to fall Americans leaving their homes without a face mask were jailed. In October 1918, elected officials in San Francisco determined that citizens had been locked down and masked long enough and against protests from medical professionals held a big unmasking party in downtown SF. Thousands of SF residents gathered to celebrate the end of Spanish Flu- following a countdown all attendees dropped their masks in the street. Predictably, two weeks later San Francisco faced a huge surge in cases of Spanish Flu and were again required to lock down and mask up. Does THAT sound familiar? Look at racial tensions in the US, protests against police brutality, the worldwide rise of fascism. These are all repeats from humanity's 'greatest hits'. No matter where you fall in the political spectrum, you must see the parallels. It shouldn't take much effort. History repeats itself. If you doubt it, I will only say "Enjoy your youth!" With years and life experience, the repetition of history will unfortunately be undeniable.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .