Leopold von Ranke  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Leopold von Ranke (21 December 1795 – 23 May 1886) was a German historian, considered one of the founders of modern source-based history. Ranke set the tone for much of later historical writing, introducing such ideas as reliance on primary sources (Empiricism), an emphasis on narrative history and especially international politics (Aussenpolitik).

In 1854–57 Ranke published History of the Reformation in Germany (Deutsche Geschichte im Zeitalter der Reformation), using the 96 volumes of correspondence from ambassadors to the Imperial Diet he found in Frankfurt to explain the Reformation in Germany as the result of both politics and religion.

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