Theory: A Barrier to Sound History

"If we are to get further, we need at this present no essays of the causes of the Civil War, but studies of the political behaviour of all sorts of men in all sorts of institutions, unaffected by the historian's foreknowledge of the later event. In that way we may ultimately perhaps arrive at an explanation of the mid-seventeenth century breakdown, but it will be less well-tailored, less readily reduced to a list of preconditions, precipitants and triggers, less satisfactory to theorists of revolution. On the other hand, it might be real." -- Elton, quoted in J.C.D. Clark, Revolution and Rebellion: State and society in England in the seventh and eighteenth centuries, p. 35

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