Sociology began its life as a distinct discipline with the quite clear goal of understanding the modern social and industrial order. The immediately preceding social orders in Europe were either residually feudal, and understood themselves in terms of a notion of Natural Law which governed nature and was obligatory for men, or despotically governed nation states in which the social order was dictated by the monarch. The processes, both social and intellectual, which were initiated then, have not yet reached their fulfillment, and the task of understanding the new society is far from complete. In many ways even more crass is the evolutionary account of social structures offered by Herbert Spencer in England. The state is a night-watchman state, and education is the education of individuals for the struggle for survival. The development of philosophic and social thought in Germany was more complex and always did take seriously the question of the moral direction of the social order.