Historicism in the Early 20th Century

Historicism in the Early Twentieth Century

As ap­plying to the first decade of the twentieth century, the notable tendencies of the Historical School may be summed up as follows:

(1) But small space is given to the general principles or theory (the Grundlegung), the importance of the historical study which usually follows being emphasized.

(2) Relatively slight attention is given to the theory of value, especially to its subjective aspects.
(3) Individualism and the principle of self-interest are greatly limited by the introduction of general anthropological and historico-philosophical considerations. Under the last head would be included their ideas concerning the relativity of theories and institutions, the importance of ethics, social in­stitutions, etc.

The general tendency, then, was to return from the extreme reaction of the later historical movement, and to adopt a better-balanced method, — in a word, toward a recognition of the fact that each method has its place. This change is seen in Schmoller's later thought and is expressed in Biicher's position.

It seems fair to say that the movement initiated by the German Historical Schools had clearly ceased to exist as a dis­tinct factor by the time of the World War. Something of its spirit, however, lived on in the new nationalism and Institu-tionalism which sprang up in that troubled time.