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A Popular History of France from the Earliest Times, Volume 1 by François Pierre Guillaume Guizot
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By M. Guizot

Volume 1 (of 6)


Every history, and especially that of France, is one vast, long drama, in
which events are linked together according to defined laws, and in which
the actors play parts not ready made and learned by heart, parts
depending, in fact, not only upon the accidents of their birth, but also
upon their own ideas and their own will. There are, in the history of
peoples, two sets of causes essentially different, and, at the same time,
closely connected; the natural causes which are set over the general
course of events, and the unrestricted causes which are incidental. Men
do not make the whole of history it has laws of higher origin; but, in
history, men are unrestricted agents who produce for it results and
exercise over it an influence for which they are responsible. The fated
causes and the unrestricted causes, the defined laws of events and the
spontaneous actions of man's free agency--herein is the whole of history.
And in the faithful reproduction of these two elements consist the truth
and the moral of stories from it.

Never was I more struck with this two-fold character of history than in
my tales to my grandchildren. When I commenced with them, they,
beforehand, evinced a lively interest, and they began to listen to me
with serious good will; but when they did not well apprehend the
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