, Context: The Democratical State is not Patriarchal, does not rest on a still unreflecting, undeveloped confidence, but implies laws, with the consciousness of their being founded on an equitable and moral basis, and the recognition of these laws as positive. At the time of the Kings, no political life had as yet made its appearance in Hellas; there are, therefore, only slight traces of Legislation. But in the interval from the Trojan War till near the time of Cyrus, its necessity was felt. The first Lawgivers are known under the name of The Seven Sages, a title which at that time did not imply any such character as that of the Sophists teachers of wisdom, designedly [and systematically] proclaiming the Bight and True but merely thinking men, whose thinking stopped short of Science, properly so called. They were practical politicians; the good counsels which two of them Thales of Miletus and Bias of Priene gave to the Ionian cities, have been already mentioned. Thus Solon was commissioned by the Athenians to give them laws, as those then in operation no longer sufficed. Solon gave the Athenians a constitution by which all obtained equal rights, yet not so as to render the Democracy a quite abstract one. The main point in Democracy is moral disposition. Virtue is the basis of Democracy, remarks Montesquieu; and this sentiment is as important as it is true in reference to the idea of Democracy commonly entertained. The Substance, [the Principle] of Justice, the common weal, the general interest, is the main consideration; but it is so only as Custom, in the form of Objective Will, so that morality properly so called subjective conviction and intention has not yet manifested itself. Law exists, and is in point of substance, the Law of Freedom, rational [in its form and purport, ] and valid because it is Law, i. e. without ulterior sanction. As in Beauty the Natural element its sensuous coefficient remains, so also in this customary morality, laws assume the form of a necessity of Nature.
Lectures on the History of History Vol 1 p. 261 John Sibree translation (1857), 1914