A History of Russia

A History of Russia

A History of Russia

A History of Russia

Excerpt

The purposes of history are many, and sometimes in conflict with each other. Some think of history as a story to amuse; some expect to find in the past lessons useful in the present and for the future. History has been defined as simply the record of past politics; it has been conceived as the complex product of the operation of material forces, scarcely subject to control by man's will. Some think of history as the conscious result of human thought; others have seen in it the working of an inscrutable divine power. At one pole are those who maintain that history should be presented wie es eigentlich gewesen, without reference to the sequel; at the other are those who believe that the past, on the whole, is dead, and that consideration should be given only to what has survived from the past into the living present.

However one thinks of history, it is obvious that within the confines of a single volume--or, for that matter, of a dozen or a hundred volumes--it is not possible to present the whole history of even one country or its people. There must be a process of deliberate selection of facts and of ruthless exclusion of an infinitely greater number of facts, to say nothing of the still vaster body of data of which any individual writer is necessarily ignorant.

Limits of space forbid any attempt here at careful analysis or exposition of the principles that have guided the writing of the present book. Suffice it, then, to say that history is here viewed as a continuum, in which any given "present moment" is but the algebraic sum of the cumulative past, immediately itself becoming part of the past and contributing to condition the new present throughout all future time. Historically viewed, the distinctions between past, present, and future are shifting and fundamentally meaningless. However . . .

Author Advanced search

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.