Famous Historians ~ biography
We have prepared many pages on the lives and careers of famous historians.
European History pages
Several of them have been frequently linked to by other web sites showing that there is a
fair degree of interest in biography about famous historians - "the 'geniuses' who
can write about History rather than 'any fools' who can make it" - (with thanks to Oscar Wilde and all that).
The historian should be fearless and
incorruptible; a man of independence, loving frankness and truth;
one who, as the poets says, calls a fig a fig and a spade a
spade. He should yield to neither hatred nor affection, not
should be unsparing and unpitying. He should be neither shy nor
deprecating, but an impartial judge, giving each side all it
deserves but no more. He should know in his writing no country
and no city; he should bow to no authority and acknowledge no
king. He should never consider what this or that man will think,
but should state the facts as they really occurred.
Lucian (A.D. 120-200)
History must at last convince of the uselessness of insensate mass movements riding roughshod,
now as ever, over anonymous suffering and claiming priority in the name of some newly clothed abstraction.
If it does not teach that, it does not teach anything.
William Gerhardi - "Historian's Credo"
From the introduction to his "The Romanovs"
Emerson's call for a "philosphical"
approach to the Study of History.
Emerson's view suggests that :-
" man is a bundle of relations, a knot of roots,
whose flower and fruitage is the world. "
"There is one mind common to all individual men.
Of the works of this mind history is the record.
Man is explicable by nothing less than all his history.
all the facts of history pre-exist as laws. Each law in
turn is made by circumstances predominant. The creation
of a thousand forests is in one acorn, and Egypt, Greece, Rome,
Gaul, Britain, America, lie folded already in the first man.
Epoch after epoch, camp, kingdom, empire, republic, democracy,
are merely the application of this manifold spirit to the
Towards the end of his Essay, History, Emerson asserts that :-
"every history should be written in a wisdom which
divined the range of our affinities and looked at facts as
symbols. I am ashamed to see what a shallow village tale our
so-called History is".
European History pages
- The European Revolution of 1848 begins
- A broad outline of the background to the onset of the turmoils and a consideration of some of the early events.
- The French Revolution of 1848
- A particular focus on France - as the influential Austrian minister Prince Metternich, who sought to encourage the re-establishment of "Order" in the wake of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic turmoils of 1789-1815, said:-"When France sneezes Europe catches a cold".
- The Revolution of 1848 in the German Lands and central Europe
- "Germany" had a movement for a single parliament in 1848 and many central European would-be "nations" attempted
to assert a distinct existence separate from the dynastic sovereignties they had been living under.
- The "Italian" Revolution of 1848
- A "liberal" Papacy after 1846 helps allow the embers of an "Italian" national aspiration to rekindle across the Italian Peninsula.
- The Monarchs recover power 1848-1849
- Some instances of social and political extremism allow previously pro-reform conservative elements to support
the return of traditional authority. Louis Napoleon, (who later became the Emperor Napoleon III), attains to power
in France offering social stability at home but ultimately follows policies productive of dramatic change in the wider European
structure of states and their sovereignty.
Our most popular European History pages
Several pages on our site, treating with aspects of nineteenth century European history, have been favored
with some degree of popularity, rank highly in some search engines, and receive many visitors.
The preparation of these pages was greatly influenced by a particular "Philosophy
of History" as suggested by this quote from the famous Essay "History" by Ralph Waldo Emerson:-
There is one mind common to all individual men...
Of the works of this mind history is the record. Its genius is
illustrated by the entire series of days. Man is explicable by
nothing less than all his history. Without hurry, without rest,
the human spirit goes forth from the beginning to embody every
faculty, every thought, every emotion, which belongs to it in
appropriate events. But the thought is always prior to the fact;
all the facts of history preexist in the mind as laws. Each law
in turn is made by circumstances predominant, and the limits of
nature give power to but one at a time. A man is the whole
encyclopaedia of facts. The creation of a thousand forests is in
one acorn, and Egypt, Greece, Rome, Gaul, Britain, America, lie
folded already in the first man. Epoch after epoch, camp,
kingdom, empire, republic, democracy, are merely the application
of his manifold spirit to the manifold world.
More insights into this "Philosophy of History" as recommended by Emerson, and the history pages so-prepared, are available to those sufficiently interested, from the links further down this page:-