Throughout the nineteenth century, German philosophy was haunted by the spectre of the French Revolution. Kant, Hegel, and their followers spent their lives wrestling with its heritage, trying to imagine a specifically German path to modernity--a ""revolution without revolution."" Trapped in a politically frozen society, German intellectuals were driven to brood over the nature of the revolutionary experience. In this ambitious and original study, Stathis Kouvelakis paints a rich panorama of the key intellectual and political figures in the effervescence of German thought before the 1848 revolutions. He shows how the attempt to chart a moderate and reformist path entered into deep crisis, generating two antagonistic perspectives. In one camp, represented by Moses Hess and the early Friedrich Engels, were those socialists who sought to discover a principle of reconciliation and harmony in social relations, by bypassing the question of revolutionary politics. In sharp contrast, the poet Heinrich Heine and the young journalist Karl Marx developed a new perspective articulating revolutionary rupture and struggle for democracy, thereby redefining the very notion of politics itself.