Political History



9 Questions

What is political history?

What led to the decline in the prominence of 'traditional' political history?

What does political history typically center around?

What did the new political history emphasize?

Why did British political scholarship mostly ignore 20th-century history?

What did some German historians rebel against?

What did the French Annales School emphasize in history?

What did social historians undermine in the historical discipline?

What is MaxRange?


Political History: A Summary

  • Political history is a field of history that analyzes political events, ideas, movements, organs of government, voters, parties, and leaders.
  • It is closely related to other fields of history, including diplomatic history, constitutional history, social history, people's history, and public history.
  • Political history studies the organization and operation of power in large societies.
  • From the 1960s onwards, the rise of competing subdisciplines, particularly social history and cultural history, led to a decline in the prominence of "traditional" political history.
  • Political history typically centers around a single nation and its political change and development.
  • The new political history saw young scholars put much more emphasis on the voters' behavior and motivation, rather than just the politicians, and relied heavily on quantitative methods to integrate social themes, especially regarding ethnicity and religion.
  • British political scholarship mostly ignored 20th-century history due to temporal proximity to the recent past, the unavailability of primary sources, and the potential for bias.
  • Some German historians began to rebel against the idea of the "Primacy of Foreign Policy," suggesting instead a "Primacy of Domestic Politics."
  • The French Annales School put an emphasis on the role of geography and economics in history, and of the importance of broad, slow cycles rather than the constant apparent movement of the "history of events" of high politics.
  • Social historians undermined the centrality of politics to the historical discipline.
  • MaxRange is a dataset defining the level of democracy and institutional structure (regime-type) on a 100-graded scale where every value represents a unique regimetype.
  • Political history is still popular among the reading public, but it never recovered its dominance among scholars.


Think you know your political history? Test your knowledge with our Political History: A Summary quiz! Explore the origins of political events, movements, and leaders, and delve into the organization and operation of power in society. Discover how political history is linked to other fields of history, and learn about the rise and decline of traditional political history. With questions about voter behavior, ethnicity, and religion, this quiz is perfect for those interested in the social sciences. Take the quiz now and see how much you know

Ready to take the quiz?

Play Quiz