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Historical Change Lewis Einstein

Historical Change

Lewis Einstein

Published March 1st 2007
ISBN : 9781406767599
Paperback
140 pages
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 About the Book 

Text extracted from opening pages of book: HISTORICAL CHANGE BY LEWIS EINSTEIN Author of The Italian Renaissance in England, Tttdor Ideals, etc. CAMBRIDGE AT THE UNIVERSITY PRESS 1946 CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS LONDON: BENTLEY HOUSE NEW YORK, TORONTO, BOMBAY CALCUTTA, MADRAS: MACMILLAN All rights reserved PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN CONTENTS PAGE I. Introduction i II. Unnoticed Growths and Changes by Decree 6 III. The Role of Leadership in Historical Change i 5 IV. Ideas and Change 26 V. Ideas and Change ( continued) 38 VI. Historical Interpretation of Power 48 VII. The Role of Change in French History 60 VIII. The Character of Political Change 68 IX. Variations of Historical Change 72 X. The Greek View of Change 78 XI. Faith and Historical Change 88 XII. Civilization and Change 98 XIII. Some Explanations of Change 1 1 1 XIV. Relation of Change to Life 119 XV. The Meaning of History 129 I. INTRODUCTION This is an attempt to sketch the meaning of change as it affects history. History treats of varied and intricate human activities through the ages, but these pages contain only a fragmentary effort to explore briefly the nature of certain problems that pertain to historical change. A few illustrations have been selected almost at random for this purpose, in orde/ to show some of the aspects of change that can be found in history. They are generally familiar and for the most part of recent interest, for many of them have been found in the practices of the dictators. Many others will easily suggest themselves to anyone. By whatever avenues it is approached and under whatever shape it is presented, history is always a demonstration of power that is carried out by the* medium of continuouschange. History necessarily creates change, and the record of human events im plies the continuity of change. But power is a sub stance that is derived from a number of different sources which flow with uneven volume and speed. Its origin can be military or political, economic, moral or ecclesiastical: power may be spasmodic or it can emanate from the sudden violence of a mob. The different elements that compose it will blend in uneven proportions according to their strength, so that they will express themselves in history in dif ferent ways and with different consequences. The EHC I 2 INTRODUCTION pressure which they exercise leads to innumerable experiences which, in spite of frequent superficial resemblances both of cause and purpose, will never bfc identical. But the effects of these experiences, irrespective of how they are produced, will always be registered by changes, some deliberate and direct, some unintentional and indirect, and some also pro voked by counter-movements. Changes will also be superposed, so to speak, on that continuous and permanent flow which is in herent to life but which when left without specific direction tends to adjust itself functionally to its environment. This takes place by automatic processes rather than by a planned effort. The latter occurs when authority is firmly held or when men try to seize power in order to give a more precise direction to their purposes than by the normal flow of change so that they can quicken its speed and increase its volume. The procedure in itself contributes to change, an4 the same thing happens when an effort is made in the opposite direction, and when men try by artificial or forceful means to divert the flow intoother channels. History offers no problem of greater importance than to explore the many reasoris for change. By what kws can one explain its origin or its intermit tence and the varying speed of its rhythm, sometimes so slow over long periods as to seem stagnant, at others racing headlong with all the violence of a mountain torrent? To affirm that change results from a continuous conflict between rival tendencies INTRODUCTION 3 or forces and then follows from a clash or fusion of opposite or cross-currents only pushes further back the difficulty. To describe change as s