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Krausism is a doctrine named after the German philosopher Karl Christian Friedrich Krause (1781-1832) that advocates doctrinal tolerance and academic freedom from dogma.

This philosophy was widespread in Restoration Spain, where it reached its maximum practical development thanks to the work of his promotor, Julián Sanz del Rio, and the Free Institution of Education led by Francisco Giner de los Ríos, and the contribution of a great jurist Federico Castro.

One of the philosophers of identity, Krause endeavoured to reconcile the ideas of a monotheistic singular God understood by faith with a pantheistic or empirical understanding of the world.

Divinity, which is intuitively known by conscience is not a personality (which implies limitations), but an all-inclusive essence (Wesen), which contains the universe within itself.

This system he called panentheism, a combination of monotheism and pantheism. His theory of the world and of humanity is universal and idealistic.

Spanish Krausism

The Spanish krausism was a cultural movement that was rooted in the nineteenth century publication of Krause's personal version the dominant idealism which was largely overshadowed in his native Germany by the prestige of its leading figures: Fichte, Schelling, and especially Hegel.

Around 1840, a group of Spanish jurists, notably Julián Sanz del Río were seeking a political doctrine within the liberal tradition to initiate a regenerative process that they felt was necessary to modify and extend the philosophical concepts then in vogue.

Coincidentally, Ruperto Navarro Zamorano, a member of the Friends of Sanz del Rio, had in 1841 translated the Course Natural Law, or Philosophy of Law by Heinrich Ahrens, which had previously been published in Paris in 1837.

Ahrens affirmed that the foundation of law is the "compliance": the set of external conditions upon which the fate of the rational man and humanity could be developed systematically as a universal order of piety, devotion and altruism.

Ahrens philosophy was developed and summarized by Kraus in the formula of "harmonious rationalism" or "panentheism" published in 1811 as The Ideal of Humanity and Universal Federation.[1][2]

Krausism in Hispanic America

Due to the common language, some Hispanic Americans visited or were exiled to Spain where they came into contact with the doctrines of Krause. The most outstanding case was that of a Puerto Rican Eugenio María de Hostos, who studied philosophy with Sanz del Rio. De Hostos' novel The Inner Pilgrimage of Eugenio Mara de Hostos as Seen Through Bayón[3] is a romantic novel in the form of a diary outlining his dream of a unified social philosophy. Hostos supports the liberation of women not as a human right, rather as a practical mechanism for greater good for the community and for the social organization.

The Cuban writer and national hero José Martí, suffered a brutal political imprisonment with forced labor, but, despite his youth, he escaped prison for exile in Spain. There he write letters against transatlantic military brutality of the colonial regime. He also studied law and thus encountered the philosophy and doctrines of Krause.

These two proponents, Martí and de Hostos, although with a very different personal discourses, greatly influenced the evolution of Krausism in which the individual takes personal responsibility to act for the betterment of society. These discourses led to the so-called "Anti-Imperialist-Nationalism". This t term was first developed by Dr. Rafael Cuevas, and referred to the analysis of the rebellion of Augusto C. Sandino, then fighting against the United States occupation of Nicaragua.

Hostos and Martí became heroes and allies in their anti-colonial struggle for independence for both Cuba and Puerto Rico from Spain. Both men were initiated into Freemasonry, thus confirming the influence of Freemasonry in the promotion of Krausism and vice versa. These links promoted a kind of social network to support the migration of Krausists liberal educators who reached out to Latin Americas' liberal leaders who were seeking autonomy from colonial Spain.

Later Krausism figures included Hipólito Yrigoyen, José Batlle y Ordóñez, Alfonso Reyes, Jose Enrique Rodo, Alejandro Deustua, Arturo Umberto Illia and Alejandro Korn. Reyes, for example, gave lectures at the Residencia de Estudiantes in Madrid, whilst Rodo promoted esthetic concern through Krausism in his extensive correspondence with Leopoldo Alas.

Further reading (in Spanish)

Bibliografía sobre el krausismo en América
  • José Luis Gómez Martínez, "El krausismo en el mundo Hispano"
  • Arturo Ardao, Espiritualismo y positivismo en el Uruguay: Filosofías universitarias de la segunda mitad del siglo XIX (1950).
  • José Luis Gómez Martínez, “Pensamiento hispanoamericano: el caso del krausismo”, Actas del II Seminario de Historia de la Filosofía Española, ed. Antonio Heredia Soriano (1982), pp. 155-172.
  • Fundación Friedrich Ebert, Instituto Fe y Secularidad, El krausismo y su influencia en América Latina (1989).
  • José Luis Gómez Martínez, “Pensamiento hispanoamericano: el caso del krausismo”, Actas del II Seminario de Historia de la Filosofía Española, ed. Antonio Heredia Soriano (1982), pp. 155-172.
  • Arturo Andrés Roig, Los krausistas argentinos (1969).
  • Otto Carlos Stoetzer, Karl Christian Friedrich Krause and his influence in the Hispanic World. (1998) (ISBN 3-412-13597-6)
  • Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, El krausismo y su influencia en América Latina (1989).
  • Thomas Ward, La teoría literaria: romanticismo, krausismo y modernismo ante la globalización industrial (2004).


  1. Karl Christian Friedrich Krause (2012-08-01). The Ideal of Humanity and Universal Federation. Bibliolife LLC/Forgotten Books (USA). ASIN B008TCCEKU. 
  2. Karl Christian Friedrich Krause (1900). W. Hastie D.D., ed. "The Ideal of Humanity and Universal Federation". T. & T. Clark (Edinburgh). Retrieved 2014-10-05. 
  3. Eugenio Maria de Hostas (2006-11-01). de Hildreth N Waltzer, ed. The Inner Pilgrimage of Eugenio Mara de Hostos as Seen Through Bayón. Centro Pro Hostos de Nueva York.