‘Diplomatic history’ has emerged as a branch of this theme where people found the study of political history useful to study the contemporary wars. However the fulfillment of studying political history depends upon economic and social history.
During the later half of the 19th century Western Europe and America were undergoing a transformation in social and economic scenario. The historical study practiced during that time was incapable of addressing and explaining the changes. Marx’ study with respect to the historical importance of the means of production and analysis of classes had already been popularized among the literate class. The First World War had already curbed the rise of the nation-state, a popular theme for historians in the nineteenth century. Therefore the narrowness of political history had to be dealt with as it faced constant criticisms.
The Annales School of France had a lot to teach regarding the increased scope of history to address the contemporary issues related to social and economic spheres. Biography is the third most important theme studied by historians. The conventional theories of history in academic arena were attached as they lacked studies of the life and works of the elites like the founders of foreign policy, politicians who encouraged fundamental changes and led the revolutions. Gradually study of their lives attracted people’s curiosity. However such biographies in those times were not popularized with the intentions of revealing the truth always but to present an ideal image of a public figure for educational purposes. During the Victorian period, the biographies were studied by the heirs of the important figures and the most suitable form of study was “a large-scale ‘Life’, based almost exclusively on the subject’s own papers” (ch3).
The fourth theme studied is “social history” which emphasizes upon the society as a whole. This includes components like “poverty, ignorance, insanity and