A social history which concentrated exclusively upon social groups would hardly be adequate. Account must also be taken of the institutions whose existence and activities impinged upon people's lives. The most significant of these were the churches, most notably the Roman Catholic Church, the schools and the state. The first two, in addition to their overt religious and educational objectives, provided means for the transmission of broader ideologies constructed by those who exercised control over them. Similarly the state was far from being the socially neutral institution described by conservative political theorists. Together these three bodies provided complex and pervasive means by which members of socially and geographically diverse groups were socialized, and integrated into an ordered and increasingly stable social and political system.