The Development of English Thought: A Study in the Economic Interpretation of History

The Development of English Thought: A Study in the Economic Interpretation of History

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The Development of English Thought: A Study in the Economic Interpretation of History

The Development of English Thought: A Study in the Economic Interpretation of History

Read FREE!

Excerpt

The following pages attempt to present a theory of history through concrete illustrations. No endeavour is made, however, to relate in detail the events of any period. A knowledge of historical facts being assumed, certain salient features of each epoch will be thrown into relief, so that the main trend of events may be distinguished from the confusing maze into which the presentation of details often leads.

English history has been chosen to illustrate this theory, because the conditions and circumstances isolating England for many centuries have made English thought more normal and more uniform than that of her continental neighbours. The advantages of England's insular position are too well known to need restatement; only the effects of this isolation require emphasis. It would be difficult to find another nation whose thought was so little influenced by foreign civilization as that of England from the Reformation to the middle of the present century. During all this time England had a vigorous, or at least an active, foreign policy, which, while it kept her in touch with external events, was the interest chiefly of those in court circles, or, at most, of the small aristocratic class that controlled the State and directed its policy. Although it would take volumes to narrate the story of the struggles, successes, and failures of England's foreign policy during this period, yet these events have no present interest because they affected but little the life and the thought of the people. The great mass of the people, unrepresented in Parliament, took slight interest in the topics it discussed, or the policies it pursued.

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