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History & Historians

History & Historians

This page features links to a number of subject areas related to History: and to the Historians who have used a rather interesting variety of approaches in their attempts to inform us about the past.

Direct Hot Links to a selection of historically related subject areas are set out below:-

The European Revolution of 1848-1849
The Unifications of Italy (1861) and Germany (1870) ~
Cavour, Mazzini, Garibaldi and Otto von Bismarck
Famous Historical Personalities
Philosophy of History
Hegel, Marx, Toynbee, Spengler, Collingwood
Famous Historians
Alternate History
Some fascinating "Quotes about History"
Ralph Waldo Emerson's call for a
"transcendentalist approach" to the study of History
The Unfolding of History -
The Emergence of Modernity
Original Source Documents
The "anti-revolutionary" mindset of the Dynasties
1815 - 48
Original Source Documents
Napoleonic Wars - Revolution of 1848 - First World War

The most "original" linked historical pages that are accesssible from this page consider:-

Emerson's call for a "transcendentalist"
approach to the Study of History.

These pages attempt to explore whether there might be any validity in Emerson's assertion that the Human Mind contains a pattern that has proven to be the foundation for the Unfolding 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 manifold world".

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".

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"History is for human self-knowledge ... the only clue to what man can do is what man has done. The value of history, then, is that it teaches us what man has done and thus what man is."
R. G. Collingwood

"Whatever concept one may hold, from a metaphysical point of view, concerning the freedom of the will, certainly its appearances, which are human actions, like every other natural event, are determined by universal laws. However obscure their causes, history, which is concerned with narrating these appearances, permits us to hope that if we attend to the play of freedom of the human will in the large, we may be able to discern a regular movement in it, and that what seems complex and chaotic in the single individual may be seen from the standpoint of the human race as a whole to be a steady and progressive though slow evolution of its original endowment."
Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)
Idea for a Universal History from a Cosmopolitan Point of View (1784)

Or to quote Emerson, from his famous Essay ~ History more fully:-
In old Rome the public roads beginning at the Forum proceeded north, south, east, west, to the centre of every province of the empire, making each market-town of Persia, Spain, and Britain pervious to the soldiers of the capital: so out of the human heart go, as it were, highways to the heart of every object in nature, to reduce it under the dominion of man. A man is a bundle of relations, a knot of roots, whose flower and fruitage is the world. His faculties refer to natures out of him, and predict the world he is to inhabit, as the fins of the fish foreshow that water exists, or the wings of an eagle in the egg presuppose air. He cannot live without a world.

Famous Historical Personalities

From time to time individual human beings "have lived at the centre of events" such that an outline of their individual lives also tells us a something about the times in which they lived.

When the wide range of aims these people individually supported are considered it tends to remind us of the perplexing reality that people often sincerely pursue goals that are definitely not shared by others.

Otto von Bismarck Burke
Count Camillo Cavour Giuseppe Mazzini
Metternich Mirabeau
Robert Owen Paoli
Cecil Rhodes Maximilien Robespierre
French Revolution
Reign of Terror
Abbe Sieyes Talleyrand
From more recent times
Konrad Adenauer Alexander Dubcek
Willy Brandt Lech Walesa
Mikhail Gorbachev Vaclav Havel
From more ancient times
Charlemagne Machiavelli
Confucius Nostradamus
Gregory Rasputin
Dramatically Influential Philosophers
Adam Smith Voltaire
Immanuel Kant Karl Marx
Charles Darwin

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Famous Historians

"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"
Lord Acton
Jacques Barzun Fernand Braudel
Jacob Burckhardt Thomas Carlyle
Niall Ferguson
Edward Gibbon
Herodotus Eric Hobsbawm
Johan Huizinga Isaiah Berlin
Thomas Macaulay
Friedrich Meinecke Jules Michelet
Leopold von Ranke Simon Schama
A.J.P. Taylor Antony Beevor
Adam Hart-Davis
Edward Augustus Freeman Edward Augustus Freeman
Essay - Race and Language
Ralph Waldo Emerson's famous Essay ~ 'History'

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Philosophy of History

Many philosophers, writers, and historians, have variously attempted to discern "patterns" in History or to prescribe more effective approaches to the study of History .

Famous quotations and quotes about
Learning from History

Emerson's call for a
transcendentalist approach
to the study of History

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
Philosophy of History

Oswald Spengler
Decline of the West
Karl Marx
Historical Materialism
R G Collingwood
philosophy of history

Wilhelm Dilthey
Introduction to the Human Sciences

Arnold Toynbee
A Study of History
The Whig Interpretation
of History
Philosophy of History index

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Alternate History

Many writers, and some historians, have speculated over the momentous "What Ifs" of history and have attempted to depict the resulting scenario if "this" had happened rather than "that" at key turning points of history.

Alternate History scenarios
Niall Ferguson & Virtual History
Alternate History
Counterfactual History

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Some fascinating
Quotes about History

The links below lead to some variously insightful, wise and entertaining quotes about history.

Ralph Waldo Emerson on History
Historians on History
Metternich on history
Wisdom about History Cynical Quotes About History
Famous, Popular
Entertaining, Controversial
Quotes About History
Quotes About Historical Insight
The lessons of history
famous quotations and quotes
The writing of history
Some random quotes about history

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Original Source Documents

Act of Abjuration
Dutch Independence Declaration 1581
The Declaration of the Rights
of Man and of the Citizen 1789
Archduke Charles proclamation
To the German Nation - April 1809
The Statuto Constitution of the
Kingdom of Sardinia 1848
Letter from Palacky
to the Frankfurt Parliament 1848
Papal Allocution of 1848 Prague Slav Congress 1848
Manifesto : Austro-Slavism
Italian Unification Map
Italy as formed during the Risorgimento
David Lloyd George
Mansion House Speech 1911
The Austro-Hungarian Ultimatum to Serbia
July 1914

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Emerson, Transcendentalism,
and the Unfolding of History

The Transcendental Idealism of Immanuel Kant was adopted and adapted by many other people in Europe and the Americas, one of the more interesting instances of these adoptions / adaptions being that of the New England Transcendentalists.

Ralph Waldo Emerson was perhaps the most far-seeing of the New England Transcendentalists, he came to believe that all people share a 'commonality of mind' and that it is this mind that acts as a foundational pattern for historical developments.
"A man is a bundle of relations, a knot of roots, whose flower and fruitage is the world."

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Emerson's call for a "Philosophical Approach"
to the appreciation of History

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 an Austrian foreign minister said "When France sneezes Europe catches a cold".

The Revolution of 1848 in Germany and central Europe
the Germanies - 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 European Revolutions - reactionary aftermath 1848-1849
Some instances of social and political extremism allow previously pro-reform liberal elements to join conservative elements in supporting the return of traditional authority. Such nationalities living within the Habsburg Empire as the Czechs, Croats, Slovaks, Serbs and Roumanians, find it more credible to look to the Emperor, rather than to the democratised assemblies recently established in Vienna and in Budapest as a result of populist agitation, for the future protection of their nationality.
The Austrian Emperor and many Kings and Dukes regain political powers. Louis Napoleon, (who later became the Emperor Napoleon III), elected as President 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.

Some detailed historical background to the European Revolutions of 1848
Some quite detailed background information relating to the historical situation just prior to the onset of the European Revolutions of 1848 is available on this linked page.

Italian Unification
Cavour, Garibaldi
and Risorgimento Italy
Otto von Bismarck &
The Wars of German Unification
Italian unification map
Risorgimento Italy
Map of German unification
The Ems Telegram
The Zimmermann Telegram
President Woodrow Wilson
Fourteen Points Speech
Lenin's New Economic Policy
European Union Integration

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