Leopold von Ranke endeavoured to understand political order within its own historical context. To understand the nature of historical phenomena, such as an institution or an idea, one had to consider its historical development and the changes it underwent over a period of time. Historical epochs, Ranke argued, should not be judged according to predetermined contemporary values or ideas. Rather, they had to be understood on their own terms by empirically establishing history 'as things really were.' Ranke's influence on History as a modern discipline is thus evident, and this is the first volume in English to chart his life and works for a hundred years.