Goethe’s conception of politics was permanently shaped by the mode of princely government under the Empire. ‘Politics’ explains that Goethe liked what was particular and individual, and disliked abstraction in politics as elsewhere. He happily accepted the traditional hierarchical organization of German society into Stände or ranks, but Goethe’s conservatism was not typical of his time. Goethe joined the Duke of Weimar’s court in 1775 and soon was appointed to the Privy Council that governed the duchy. His experiences from this time and the traumatic effects of the French Revolution and its aftermath can be seen in his literature, although his treatment of political issues is complex and ambivalent, and sometimes contradictory.