, in his brief work entitled "Idea for a Universal History from a Cosmopolitan Point of View" :-
"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."
Or to quote Emerson, from his famous Essay ~ History
"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."
This passage is also to be found in Ralph Waldo Emerson's
Essay ~ History:-
"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."
"Whoever wishes to foresee the future must consult the past; for human events ever resemble those of preceding times. This arises from the fact that
they are produced by men who ever have been, and ever shall be, animated by the same passions, and thus they necessarily have the same results."
"History cannot give us a program for the future, but it can give us a fuller understanding of ourselves, and of our common humanity, so that we
can better face the future."
Robert Penn Warren
"Together we must learn how to compose difference, not with arms, but with intellect and decent purpose."
Dwight D. Eisenhower
1848 : the ruling Dynasties of Europe
challenged by Socio-political aspirations
We have prepared some fairly detailed, but hopefully "truth-full and informative", pages about a most deeply revealing episode in European History in the spirit of attempting to learn worthwhile lessons of history!!!
The events of 1848 display the existence and latent power of many societal pressures which have subsequently fully contributed
to the "Emergence of Modernity" in the Western world.
Prior to 1848 the existence of these societal pressures was often unsuspected or ignored, - their latent power was certainly vastly unappreciated.
In February 1948, the British historian Lewis
Namier delivered a lecture commemorating the centennial of the
European Revolutions of 1848.
In this lecture Namier presented facts about the historical developments, themes, and events evident in 1848 and reached the conclusion that:-
remains a seed-plot of history. It crystallized ideas and projected the pattern of
things to come; it determined the course of the following century."
If Namier is right in viewing the "Revolutions of 1848" as featuring a seed-plot of history, and if we can identify the early attempts at growth
and development by such evident resulting "seedlings" as Liberalism, Constitutionalism, Democracy, Socialism and Nationalism ~ including such competition
as came to exist between them for "a Place in the Sun" (in situations where, although shaken, down-but-not-out dynastic authority was usually trying to
suppress them, fairly successfully in 1848 and with diminishing effectiveness over ensuing decades) then surely we will
have succeeded to some degree in actually learning lessons of history.
Learning lessons of history can surely be seen as a pressing necessity in the hope of yielding up some guidlines for the adoption of practical
policies intended to enhance the possibility for the lessening of injustices and for the avoidance of conflict.
We would hope that our coverage of this "dramatic historical watershed" will provide something of a persuasive outline as to how it came about that
the Dynastic Europe of 1815 came to undergo those sweeping changes which have tended to produce the populist Europe of Modern Times!
The European political map above, agreed at the Congress of Vienna of 1815, saw some changes,
(principally due to the emergence of Belgium and Greece), before the widespread Revolutions of 1848-1849.
The above map was placed on this page in 2013 and was even then a little out-of-date due to The Crimea
~ a southern peninsula of Ukraine since 1954 ~
seceding, early in 2014, to become closely linked with the Russian Federation).
[N.B. Our Series of European History pages focus mostly on Europe in the nineteenth century and continue with coverage of Italian Unification
, (as orchestrated by Cavour), and
, (as orchestrated by Bismarck), and the Diplomacy underlying the settlements to the First
~ another tempestuous historical watershed ~ (as influenced by Woodrow Wilson].