After a certain time the society thus founded on kindred or common religion or both, becomes aware that its union is a thing valuable for its own sake, that government and organisation and co-operative life are useful in themselves to the individuals who possess them. Hence there springs up the conception of a common good, a common weal, which is independent of such considerations as kindred or religion; by degrees the society disengages itself from these props...
-from Introduction to Political Science
One of the most important and respected historians of his day was also a beloved professor at Cambridge University, where his classes and lectures were famous for their clarity and enlightenment.
It's easy to see why students clamored to be taught by Seeley: in this collection of lectures, delivered in the late 1880s and early 1890s and published posthumously in book form in 1896, he shares his thoughts on methods of studying the past in with such clear-eyed lucidity, in such warm and jargon-free language that complicated concepts are rendered perfectly plain.
Also available from Cosimo Classics: Seeley's lectures on The Expansion of England.
British classical scholar SIR JOHN ROBERT SEELEY (1834-1895) was Regius Professor of Modern History at Cambridge, a fellow of the Royal Historical Society, and an honorary member of Historical Society of Massachusetts. He is also the author of Ecce Homo.