To discover the reasons for the emergence of a new approach to historical studies in the nineteenth century one must consider the general development of European thought during this period. The concepts and ideas of historical work as well as its popularity in the nineteenth century can be explained in terms of the European intellectual history of the preceding centuries and in relation to the political problems and tensions that dominated European politics since the French Revolution. The philosophes criticized the abstract nature of what was being taught in the institutions of higher education and they demanded the introduction of instruction in practical knowledge. The novel feature in the organization of the University of Berlin was the pre-eminent position of the philosophical faculty. Germany throughout the nineteenth century there was a steady increase in the number of regional historical societies that were favored and even initiated by the various governments.