Hermann Baumgarten

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Hermann Baumgarten
Hermann Baumgarten.jpg
Born (1825-04-28)28 April 1825
Died 19 June 1893(1893-06-19) (aged 68)
Nationality German
Notable work A Self-Criticism of German Liberalism
Spouse(s) Ida Baumgarten[1]

Hermann Baumgarten (28 April 1825 in Wolfenbüttel, Duchy of Brunswick – 19 June 1893) was a German historian and a political publicist whose work had a major impact on liberalism during the unification of Germany.[2][3] Baumgarten's philosophy also created a significant political impression on Max Weber, an influential social theorist of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.[1][4]

Life and career[edit]

Hermann Baumgarten was born in Wolfenbüttel in the Duchy of Brunswick. He studied philology and history at the University of Jena before becoming a journalist in 1855. In 1859 he began working at Maximilian Duncker's "literary bureau", a Prussian institution used to disseminate propaganda. In 1861, he also took up a teaching post at the Technical University of Karlsruhe.[2]

As a champion of Prussian/German liberalism, Baumgarten faced the dilemma as to whether or not to accept the military and political successes of Prussia's conservative Prime Minister, Otto von Bismarck. In 1866, Baumgarten published his support of Bismarck's policies in an essay entitled A Self-Criticism of German Liberalism. This work essentially ended radical German liberalism as a force, whereupon many Prussians joined the Bismarck-supporting National Liberal Party), and allowed the new German empire to nationalize and solidify.[2][3]

In 1872, Baumgarten became Professor of History at the Reichsuniversität in Strasbourg.[3] During the late 1880s and early 1890s, Baumgarten made a significant political impression upon Max Weber, Baumgarten's nephew by marriage.[1] Weber would go on to profoundly influence social theory and the remit of sociology itself.[5] At the age of 68, Baumgarten died in Strasbourg, Alsace-Lorraine.[6]


  • A Self-Criticism of German Liberalism (Berlin, 1866)
  • Notes on Treitschke's "German History" (Strasbourg, 1883)


  1. ^ a b c Kaelber, Lutz (2003). "Max Weber's Dissertation". History of the Human Sciences. Burlington, VT. 16 (2): 27–56. doi:10.1177/0952695103016002002. Retrieved 25 March 2010.  See excerpt: "Max Weber’s Personal Life, 1886-1893".
  2. ^ a b c McKay, John P.; Hill, Bennett D. (1999). "25". In Andrea Shaw. A History of Western Society. Buckler, John (6 ed.). Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company. p. 832. ISBN 0-395-90431-5. Retrieved March 10, 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c "German Liberalism Recast: Hermann Baumgarten's Self-Criticism". German History in Documents. Retrieved 25 March 2010. 
  4. ^ Hermann Baumgarten (in English). Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Retrieved 25 March 2010.
  5. ^ Max Weber (in English). Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Retrieved March 25, 2010.
  6. ^ Stark, Wolfgang Heinrich (1973). Hermann Baumgarten, 1825-1893. Erlangen-Nürnberg. Retrieved April 7, 2010.