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GERMAN HISTORICAL INSTITUTE WASHNGTON, D.C. ANNUAL LECTURE SERIES No. 8 - page 35 / 46

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187071? This research goal was most comprehensively articulated by the medievalist Georg von Below.1 Today he is largely forgotten, but at that time, he was both unusually influential and very representative of German historians. His major work, first published in 1914, bore the title

(the German medieval state). This title reveals the main intention of the book, namely, to prove that the medieval state was a state, the medieval constitution, the constitution of a state,and to describe

  • medieval constitutional law as public law.2 At the same time, von Below,

the specialist in medieval history, formulated an agenda for the entire discipline of German historical studies. He argued that for German historians, the consequence of the founding of the Reich in 1870-71 should have been: political history, constitutional history(i.e.

) and economic history, the latter especially with regard to the role of the state. Was there anything that American historians could have learned from such a program?

Geary also draws attention to the interest with which Karl Lamprecht and his Kulturgeschichte (cultural history) have been received in the United States since 1900. American New Historygrew in particular out of the soil

of Lamprechts

.3 American historians certainly understood

that Lamprechts research agenda stood in opposition to mainstream German historical scholarship of the time. From todays point of view, however, we

have to recognize that Lamprechts

did not possess the

potential for scientific and intellectual

1 Otto Gerhard Oexle, "Ein politischer Historiker: Georg von Below (18581927)," in , ed. Notker Hammerstein (Stuttgart, 1988), 283312. Georg von Below, 2d ed. (Leipzig, 1925), iii. Luise Schorn-Schütte, Karl Lamprecht. (Göttingen, 1984), 287ff. 2 3

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