A Political and Social History of Modern Europe

Carlton J.H. Hayes
A Political and Social History of
Modern Europe, vol 1

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Title: A Political and Social History of Modern Europe V.1.
Author: Carlton J. H. Hayes

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VOLUME I 1500-1815

This book represents an attempt on the part of the author to satisfy a
very real need of a textbook which will reach far enough back to afford
secure foundations for a college course in modern European history.
The book is a long one, and purposely so. Not only does it undertake to
deal with a period at once the most complicated and the most inherently
interesting of any in the whole recorded history of mankind, but it aims
to impart sufficiently detailed information about the various topics
discussed to make the college student feel that he is advanced a grade
beyond the student in secondary school. There is too often a tendency
to underestimate the intellectual capabilities of the collegian and to feed
him so simple and scanty a mental pabulum that he becomes as a child
and thinks as a child. Of course the author appreciates the fact that most
college instructors of history piece out the elementary textbooks by
means of assignments of collateral reading in large standard treatises.
All too frequently, however, such assignments, excellent in themselves,

leave woeful gaps which a slender elementary manual is inadequate to
fill. And the student becomes too painfully aware, for his own
educational good, of a chasmal separation between his textbook and his
collateral reading. The present manual is designed to supply a narrative
of such proportions that the need of additional reading will be
somewhat lessened, and at the same time it is provided with critical
bibliographies and so arranged as to enable the judicious instructor
more easily to make substitutions here and there from other works or to
pass over this or that section entirely. Perhaps these considerations will
commend to others the judgment of the author in writing a long book.
Nowadays prefaces to textbooks of modern history almost invariably
proclaim their writers' intention to stress recent happenings or at least
those events of the past which have had a direct bearing upon the
present. An examination of the following pages will show that in the
case of this book there is no discrepancy between such an intention on
the part of the present writer and its achievement. Beginning with the
sixteenth century, the story of the civilization of modern Europe is
carried down the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries with
constant crescendo. Of the total space devoted to the four hundred
years under review, the last century fills half. And the greatest care has
been taken to bring the story down to date and to indicate as clearly and
calmly as possible the underlying causes of the vast contemporaneous
European war, which has already put a new complexion on our old
historical knowledge and made everything that went before seem part
and parcel of an old régime.
As to why the author has preferred to begin the story of modern Europe
with the sixteenth century, rather than with the thirteenth or with the
French Revolution, the reader is specially referred to the Introduction.
It has seemed to the author that particularly from the Commercial
Revolution of the sixteenth century dates the remarkable and steady
evolution of that powerful middle class--the bourgeoisie-- which has
done more than all other classes put together to
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