The History of the World, 1902, Vol. 1 of 8: A Survey of Man's Record (Classic Reprint)

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9781331664550: The History of the World, 1902, Vol. 1 of 8: A Survey of Man's Record (Classic Reprint)

Excerpt from The History of the World, 1902, Vol. 1 of 8: A Survey of Man's Record

In noting this, I do not suggest that what is popularly called the Doctrine oi' Evolution should be deemed a thing borrowed by history from the sciences of nature. Most of what is true or helpful in that doctrine was known long ago, and applied long ago by historical and political thinkers. You can find it in Aris totle, perhaps before Aristotle. Even as regards the biological sciences, the notion of what we call evolution is ancient; and the merit of Darwin and other great modern naturalists has lain, not in enouncing the idea as a general theory, but in elucidating, illustrating. And demonstrating the processes by which evolution takes place. The influence of the natural sciences on history is rather to be traced in the efforts we now see to accumulate a vast mass of facts relating to the social, economic, and political life of man, for the sake of discovering general laws run ning through them and imparting to them order and unity. Although the most philosophic and diligent historians have always aimed at and striven for this, still the general diffusion of the method in our own time, and the greatly increased scale on which it is applied, together with the higher standard of accuracy which is exacted by the opinion of competent judges, may be in some measure ascribed to the example which those who work in the spheres of physics and biology and natural history have so effectively set.

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