The Reading Room

The Best of the OLL No. 36: Lord Acton, “Inaugural Lecture on the Study of History” (1895)

This is part of “The Best of the Online Library of Liberty” which is a collection of some of the most important material in the OLL. A thematic list with links to HTML versions of the texts is available [here](/pages/best-of-the-oll). Lord Acton’s inaugural lecture following his appointment to the Regius professorship in Cambridge is a tour de force of classical liberal scholarship. Of the many issues covered in his lecture, the role of ideas in bringing about historical change and the place of moral judgements in the writing of history are particularly noteworthy.