The aim of the article is to show in what respect Hegel’s scheme of the philosophy of history is a culmination of a development of thought whose origins we find in J.‑J. Rousseau and I. Kant. The progressive development of this conception of history is presented by way of an analysis of three motifs: of history as a transition from the natural to the political state, of history as an emancipation of man by means of reason, and of history as the history of salvation. These three motifs are entangled with one another in the conception in question, and are combined in the unity of a three-part structure. The understanding of history in terms of this structure, however, brings with it a question regarding the end of history – something which demonstrates the limits of this conception of history, especially in the form which it took in Hegel.