The aim of the Alfred Escher Foundation is to present the figure of Alfred Escher (1819–1882) and his economic and political influence in the most appropriate way. The foundation promotes critical historical research into Escher's achievements, particularly in the areas of infrastructure, education, transport, finance and foreign policy. It also creates appropriate platforms for communicating the results of this research. Through its primary research it facilitates further academic enquiry into the subject area, as well as making a meaningful contribution to our understanding of wider 19th century Swiss history and its effect on subsequent periods. The creative, dynamic impetus that triggered the creation of modern Switzerland in the 19th century is best understood with reference to the Swiss nation of today, where the pioneering liberal spirit embodied so fully by Escher is now being reinterpreted and reenergized for the modern day.
Escher's work ushered in the birth of modern Switzerland, which means that the foundation is simultaneously documenting the creation and development of the federal Swiss state itself. Only once we have explored and analyzed this key period in Swiss history can we begin to understand how our society has become what it is today. The foundation's research into Alfred Escher is firmly set in its historical context – the context of the young federal state and the years of its creation. The foundation is committed to a holistic view of history that takes account of economic, scientific, party political, social and psychological aspects.