Müller, Johannes von

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Müller, Johannes von

(yōhä`nəs fən mül`ər), 1752–1809, Swiss historian. He spent much of his life in Germany, where he held political posts under the elector of Mainz, the king of Prussia, and King Jérôme Bonaparte of Westphalia. His patriotic history of Switzerland (5 vol., 1786–1808, in German), long since superseded, was hailed in its day with great enthusiasm. Evoking the past, Müller praised traditional institutions. He fully accepted the William Tell legend; from Müller's history Schiller drew the material for his drama.

Müller, Johannes Von

 

Born Jan. 3, 1752, in Schaffhausen; died May 29, 1809, in Kassel. Swiss historian.

Müller’s major work was A History of the Swiss Confederation (vols. 1–5, 1786–1808), an account of events to 1489; it was later brought up to 1851 by other historians. The work was written in the spirit of the Enlightenment. Müller portrayed the Swiss past in heroic colors and idealized the primitive patriarchal way of life of medieval Switzerland. His writings influenced the formation of the national consciousness of the Swiss people, but his work had little scholarly value, largely because he used sources uncritically.