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A S we advance towards modern times, our task must needs become -^- more difficult. The mass of material from which history has to be constructed grows constantly greater; and the sources have not yet been collated and coordinated so thoroughly as in earlier periods. The political struggles of the early nineteenth century still awake living passions and touch burning controversies of to-day. The scene is nearer to our eyes; proportion and perspective are in consequence more difficult to preserve. On the other hand, for this period, the authentic records are for the most part now accessible, though as yet imperfectly worked; for periods still later they will be closed to us, except in so far as a more liberal system may lead to the removal of unnecessary restrictions.
The unity of action and interests which characterises the history of Europe in the Napoleonic period still survives for some years after the Emperor's fall. For seven years the attempt was made to govern European relations, and the affairs of individual States, by common action concerted in European conclave. The epoch during which this unifying effort was maintained is surveyed in a separate chapter of this volume ; for once, it is actually possible to treat the history of Europe as a single whole; and international relations group themselves as the affairs of an inchoate Confederation. But national aspirations soon shattered this ideal, the individualist policy of Great Britain largely contributing to the rupture. Thus in the later part of the period international relations must be studied in connexion with particular questions: more especially, with that of South America, with the Eastern Question, and with the problems presented by the various revolutions and by the unstable political equilibrium of the countries of southern Europe. The grouping of the Powers varies as each new question arises. Meanwhile the evolution of the modern State proceeds and can be studied best in the United Kingdom, where the most momentous problems were successfully and peacefully solved, and also, at different stages, in France and Germany. In Russia alone among the Great Powers reaction seems more evident than progress; and the