The Development of Modern Europe: An Introduction to the Study of Current History - Vol. 1

The Development of Modern Europe: An Introduction to the Study of Current History - Vol. 1

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The Development of Modern Europe: An Introduction to the Study of Current History - Vol. 1

The Development of Modern Europe: An Introduction to the Study of Current History - Vol. 1

Read FREE!

Excerpt

In preparing the volumes in hand, the writers have consistently subordinated the past to the present. It has been their ever-conscious aim to enable the reader to catch up with his own times; to read intelligently the foreign news in the morning paper; to know what was the attitude of Emperor William II toward the social democrats, even if he has forgotten that of Pope Innocent III toward the Albigenses.

Yet, in permitting the present to dominate the past, they do not feel that they have dealt less fairly with the general outline of European history during the last two centuries than they would have done had they merely narrated the events with no ulterior object. There has been no distortion of the facts in order to bring them into relation to any particular conception of the present or its tendencies. Even if certain occurrences of merely temporary prominence have been omitted as irrelevant to the purpose of the work, this cannot mean any serious loss.

The bold manner in which the narrative emerges into the living present is, then, one of the claims of this new manual to be regarded as an adventurer in the historical world. A second trait of novelty is the happy reunion of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, which should never have been put asunder by the date 1789. The nineteenth century was often too arrogant to recognize its dependence upon the eighteenth, from which it derived most of its inspirations as well as its aversions. It was the eighteenth century which set the problems of progress and suggested their solutions, leaving to its successor the comparatively simple task of working them out in detail and making fuller application of them.

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