The thesis I propose to maintain is that modern politics is governed by the conceptions men have of a state of things which would be better than the present. It is my first purpose, therefore, to dis cover the meaning of some of those conceptions. I shall call them Ideals These only among the many facts of politics I propose to study, acknow ledging at the same time that they cannot be studied in isolation from other facts. And secondly I propose to show of each such ideal that it is an inheritance the value of which we cannot estimate unless we know its early development. As we use the mechanical inventions of the past so we are influenced by what the past thought desirable. As we have inherited the use of forks, so we have inherited the use of such words as Liberty and Nationalism. The material resources which we find round us are not any more definite, although to the unseeing eye they may be more, obvious, than the intangible ideals we accept.