The dominant literary spirit at the beginning of the 19th century is generally called Romantic, referring to an emphasis on sensation, natural beauty, and folk culture. Although many of its proponents were clearly reacting against the Enlightenment elevation of reason over the senses, it is an oversimplification to view the two movements as opposites or as incompatible. Already in his 1781 publication, Critique of Pure Reason, Immanuel Kant was seeking to find a middle way between reason and faith. Another child of the Enlightenment, Johann Gottfried von Herder, sought to combine the rational and irrational to find truth. Herder thought of nationality in linguistic rather than political terms; his emphasis on the common social experience and culture of a relatively diverse population, however, in many ways paved the way for later political unification.
Under Wilhelm von Humboldt, the education system of Prussia was reorganized to stress the individuality of the student and the moral duty of the state to educate its citizens. Elementary schools emphasized experience rather than memorization. Secondary schools, or Gymnasien, combined classical, Christian, and patriotic values to prepare middle-class students for the university. The University of Berlin, founded by Humboldt in 1809, became an outstanding center of humanistic, historical, and, especially, scientific studies. German research universities in turn produced some of the greatest scientific minds and discoveries of the century: natural scientist Baron Alexander von Humboldt; chemist Justus Baron von Liebig; Robert Koch, founder of modern bacteriology; psychologist and philosopher Wilhelm Max Wundt; and medical researcher and mathematician Hermann von Helmholtz. "Germany" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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