Trevor-Roper Hugh - The age of expansion Europe and the world 1559-1660

Author : Trevor-Roper Hugh Redwald
Title : The age of expansion Europe and the world 1559-1660
Year : 1968

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Foreword. Hugh Trevor-Roper. This is the seventh volume in a series which seeks to illustrate as well as to describe the history of civilization, and by its illustrations not merely to enliven but to deepen the study and understanding of that history. History, we would now generally agree, is multi-dimensional. \V'e no longer see it as political history only, as the register of mere political action: legislation, institutions, war. Of course it is still-it always must be-the record of man: but it is the record of man in society, not merely in politics; and society conditions, or is conditioned by, a whole range of nonpolitical activities, from the apparently impersonal forces of geography or economics to the individual achievements of science and art. This widened range of history cannot, without insufferable congestion, be expressed through one medium only. In this series we seek to express it, or at least to adumbrate it, in several. Faced by the vast expansion of our field, we have called in the new world of photographic reproduction, which informs through the eyes, to redress the imbalance of the old purely literary method, channelled exclusively through the mind. This is not to claim any outrageously novel interpretation. In the past generation many novel historical theories have been advanced, and novel methods of teaching it have been recommended. But when these new ideas have been digested or rejected, the old truths remain. History may have become multi-dimensional, but politics cannot be altogether excluded from it. Politics give it its form and direction. History without politics is history without its essential mechanism. Even purely social history is conditioned by politics. How can we understand the development of society if we ignore the pressure of legal institutions, the political framework of trade, or the impact of war? G. M. Trevelyan's statement that social history is history with the politics left out is a dangerous half-truth. ...

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