Excerpt from Preface to the History of Nations
We have also passed definitely and finally out of the stage where history was considered too solemn and too dignified to have any of the attractions of what is frankly gossip, and yet re mained nothing but a stringing together of... facts, as if they were single beads, each separated from the others by a dividing and impassable knot. The habit is now ingrained in all writers of history, even if they are merely dealing with an episode or prepar ing a monograph, to lead up from cause to effect, to point out the sources of an event, the culmination of the various compelling forces and the ultimate results, or else to arrange the narrative in such wise that the reader must perforce draw his own deductions and thus learn the lesson which the author desires to impart, This method of dealing with history varies, of course, most widely in the extent of its application. It may be applied to a single incident or to the occurrences of a few years; or, on the other hand, it may stretch over the centuries, seeking in past generations the distant conditions from which sprang finally some great event; or, again, it may strive to connect with the phe momena of our modern times remote causes which are dimly dis cerned in the dawn of civilization, and in this way establish a law which shall govern the entire movement of humanity.
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