Chapter 4, ‘Intellectual Background’, attempts to reconstruct the intellectual background which informed the historians' mindset and argues that the vantage point of such study must be their own national traditions. Relying on the methodology of intellectual transfer it looks at the influence of the Enlightenment in its national variations, as well as the impact of Romanticism on their work. Within the analysis of foreign intellectual influences, special attention is given to the Göttingen school and in broader terms to the Spätaufklärung. Herder's influence is also investigated and the conclusion is reached that his impact was not as crucial as one would expect. Further, the chapter assesses the inspiration which the Scottish Enlightenment provided for the historians and explores in what ways and to what extent they were indebted to the French liberal school and the writings of the Russian historian Nikolai Karamzin.
Keywords: Enlightenment in national context, intellectual transfer, Johann Gottfried von Herder, Göttingen school, Scottish Enlightenment, William Robertson, Nikolai Karamzin, Augustin Thierry, François Guizot, Jules Michelet
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