Friedrich Ludwig Jahn (1778-1852) was also known as the "Turnvater" because he founded the first Turnverein in Germany. He believed in the importance of complete mental and physical fitness. To achieve this goal, a person should be educated in both book studies and in physical exercise (called "Turnen").
People who agreed with his ideals set up Turner societies throughout Germany. Many of these people also supported the revolutions of 1848, and when these revolutions failed to bring about social change, they moved to America and set up Turnvereins there. Though Jahn was also a person who hoped to see political and civil rights improve, he believed that these changes would come to Germany gradually, so he stayed in that country until his death.
Portrait of Friedrich Ludwig Jahn as pictured in: Leonard, Fred E. Pioneers of Modern Physical Training. 2nd ed. New York: Association Press, 1915. p. 34.
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Updated: 29 April 2004, RKB
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