|Abstract: ||M. Bobrzyński's synthesis of the history o f Poland, from the time of its enunciation in the seventies
of the XIX century was and is understood as a conception of the annals of Polish history which is
subjugated to the idea of the so-called „strong government” . It was not specified there, however, and is
still not specified precisely what is this „strong government". Assumed here was and is an intuitive understanding of „strong government" . It was taken to be, and is taken to be, ..government” which is the
opposite of „weak” government.
The question of interpretation of the category of „strong government" in the concept of M.
Bobrzyński is o f sign ifican ce in that the synthesis of the history o f Poland is not just one of many
historical elaborations but a synthesis in Ihe serious sense. It is e ssen tia lly a conception of
the Polish identity.
A syn th esis of the history of Poland constitutes a fundamental dilemma in Polish culture.
In the first place the need is to find an answer to the question o f Ihe individuality of Poland and
its history in confrontation with Europe, West and F.ast, and above all of the „individuality” of
the Polish path to modern times, from the XVI, XVII centuries up to contemporary times. Secondly , the synthesis of the history of Poland is bound up with the fact that from the outset of
modern history in this culture has been found a critical a ssessment of the status quo in Poland.
This synthesis, this or some other diagnosis of this status quo, was and is at the same time a
specific concept of Ihe changes in this status quo.
A synthesis of the history of Poland was, both in Ihe past and in contemporary times, either
"optimism" or „ pessimism ”. This affects the whole of culture, and most of all historiography
as a science of the past.
A synthesis that is basic for Polish culture was formulated by J. Lelew el. The principal category
in his synthesis is the category of „freedom". In the conceptions of J. Lelewel the state
in Poland is the „government by the community" („gminowladztwo”) - „the supreme power of
the people" („wszechwladztwo ludu"). Its foundation is the „spirit of citizenship" („duch obywatelski").
According to J. Lelewel, a state existing in the West or the East in modern times
does not give „freedom". J. Lelewel’s synthesis of Polish history is "optimism"; in modern times
only the slate in Poland gives "freedom" . In his interpretation the „decline" of Poland, taking
place as from Ihe XVII century, was only Ihe weakening of Ihe model of a state which in
essence is good. Hence the postulation of „improvement".
M. Bobrzyński's synthesis of the history of Poland represents the most radical pronoucement
in Polish culture opposing the synthesis of J. Lelewel. The principal category of M. Bobrzyinski’s synthesis is the category of „power". In his conception the state, that exists in
modern Europe, is a „lawful state" („państwo prawne") - „social equilibrium" („równowaga
społeczna"). Its foundation is „the organisation". According to M. Bobrzyński the state as it
exists in Ihe Poland of modern times, does not give "power". M. Bobrzyński's synthesis of Polish
history is „pessimism"; in modern times only the stale in Poland does not give "power" . In
the interpretation of M. Bobrzyński Ihe "decline" of Poland, beginning from the XVII century,
signifies the defectiveness of the model of the state. Hence the postulation of "admitting to errors".The opposition of M. Bobrzyinski's synthesis of Polish history to the synthesis of this history presented by J. Lelewel represents the confrontation by Bobrzyński of „modern freedoms"
(„wolność nowożytnych") with „ancient freedoms” („wolność starożytnych”) (В. Constant's type classification). This is the contrasting of „liberal” freedom, in the conservative
version , with „democratic” freedom (A . Walicki's type classification ). „Democratic” freedom -
or „liberal” freedom, that is the fundamental dilemma confronting Polish culture.|