1902 Encyclopedia > History > New Materials and Discoveries Available to 19th Century Historians

(Part 16)

New Materials and Discoveries Available to 19th Century Historians

As regards modern history, we are oppressed and nearly overwhelmed with the mass of new materials and new discoveries which have been launched upon us. The diligent publication of state papers and documents, which all civilized states have taken in hand, has exceeded in the last half century all that had been done before in that direction. The result is that there are few periods of modern history which are not far better known to us than they were to the contemporaries who lived in them. But history in this field cannot boast of such laurels as she has won in the field of antiquity and the Middle Ages. There has been no great reversal of old points of view, no great triumph of historical perspicacity piercing though traditional error down to latent truth. Modern history has won its victories more by weight of metal than by the skill of its commanders, not that the generals have lacked skill, but they have had less occasion to display it.

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