The Behavioral Approach to Diplomatic History - "the next assignment"




"[H]istorians, having dedicated their lives to the exploration and understanding of the past, are apt to be suspicious of novelty and ill-disposed toward crystal-gazing. In the words of my distinguished predecessor, they lack the 'speculative audacity' of the natural scientists, those artisans of brave hypotheses. This tendency on the part of historians to become buried in their own conservatism strikes me as truly regrettable. What basically may be a virtue tends to become a vice, locking our intellectual faculties in the molds of the past and preventing us from opening new horizons as our cousins in the natural sciences are constantly doing. If progress is to be made we must certainly have new ideas, new points of view, and new techniques."

— From William L. Langer, "The Next Assignment, American Historical Review 63, no. 2 (1958): 283–304 —

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