He further explained that:
subjects of the discussion and for special inquiry arose at every meeting, and the Professor often assigned such subjects to the individuals more interested, for investigation and report. One such topic was the origin of the Italian communes, whether they were of Roman or of Germanic origin. An American student [Adams himself] undertook to defend the Roman origins based on the work of M. François Guizot.21
Erdmannsdörffer sent him instead to read Karl von Hegel‘s
22 and Georg Ludwig von Maurer‘s Hegel, the son of the philosopher, student of the Göttingen and later Heidelberg professor and Frankfurt parliamentarian Georg Gervinus, and a collaborator in the Monumenta Germaniae Historica, was a devoted Germanist. In his 23
, he had written that the foundation of the Italian republics was purely Germanic with only a light patina of Roman tradition.24 Adams, smarting from the humiliation of being criticized for having defended the French Guizot‘s Romanist thesis in the seminar (perhaps the origin of his sense of the ―brutality‖ of the German method), immediately warmed to this theory of the Germanic origins of urban freedom, not only in Italy but in England and in the English colonies, a thesis he
21 François Guizot, (Brussels, 1851). Karl von Hegel, 22
2 vols. (Leipzig,
23 1846). Georg Ludwig von Maurer, vols. (Erlangen, 1869–71).
24 On Karl von Hegel and the place of his historical work in the politics of mid- nineteenth-century Germany, see Alexander Deisenroth,
, Reihe der Forschungen 11 (Rheinfelden, 1983), 133–137.