chapter  1
3 Pages

and later com-

In his Preface of 1869 Michelet asked: "does the race remain the same, uninfluenced by changing customs?" But neither he, nor any of his disciples, thought of replacing " race" by " land". Being historians, and not geographers, they thought as historians even of geographical things. Natural forces and human forces seemed to them to exercise an identical action on history. In nature, in fine-in the geographical frames which they delighted to describe in glowing terms-they depicted men as passive, as always enduring but never acting. "For the future, we know from the study of the land in Italy," concludes Victor Duruy, after having outlined his Tableau d'Italie, "that a population, placed in territorial and climatic conditions which vary in each district, will never be subjected to any of those physical influences whose invariable action produces uniform civilizations unreceptive of external influences." 4 And elsewhere, some

pages further back: rt Geography never explains more than a part of history, but its explanation is a good one, men do the rest. According to the wisdom or folly of their conduct, they turn the work of nature to good or evil." 1 The idea is expressed in somewhat limited and hesitating terms, and these considerations of wisdom and folly have a very far-away sound. Duruy, however, was nothing more than a good historical student, diligent and conscientious, but without genius. But Taine, with his infinitely more vigorous intellect - Taine, whose influence in other fields is admittedly as great as that of Michelet on historians-what has he done beyond take up and utilize, as a rigid system, the current ideas to which everyone then subscribed?