Hans Baron

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Hans Baron (June 22, 1900 – November 26, 1988) was a German-American historian of political thought and literature. His main contribution to historiography was coining the term civic humanism, an anglicization of the original German term bürgerhumanismus. He was born in Berlin, Germany into a Jewish family and left Germany in 1933 after the rise of Adolph Hitler to national political power. He emigrated to the U.S. in 1938 and spent the majority of his professional career in the United States, after a few years in Italy and Great Britain.

Baron studied with the liberal Protestant theologian Ernst Troeltsch.

He lived in Chicago, Illinois, where he was employed as a librarian and bibliographer at the Newberry Library from 1949 to 1965. He was also a Distinguished Research Fellow at Newberry until 1970, and held a teaching appointment at the University of Chicago for many of those years. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1964. At Newberry, he completed what is considered his historical masterpiece, The Crisis of the Early Italian Renaissance.His study was first published in two volumes in 1955 and revised into a single volume in 1966.

The Baron Thesis

Baron's original concept of civic humanism (bürgerhumanismus) was first introduced in German in 1924. In The Crisis..., that term is integrated into a large and complex historical argument.