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Ranke, Leopold von

(1795-1886). German historian, generally recognized as the father of the modern objective historical school. Ranke's aim was to reconstruct the unique periods of the past as they actually were and to avoid injecting the history of former times with the spirit of the present; this approach to historiography is known as "historicism." To attain his goal, Ranke insisted that only contemporary accounts and related material be used as sources. (from The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. Copyright © 2001-05 Columbia University Press).

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