Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800-59) was one of the foremost nineteenth-century historians in the Whig tradition, which saw history as a series of developments towards enlightenment and democracy. He believed that the 'Glorious Revolution' of 1688 had preserved England from the constitutional upheavals suffered by much of Europe in 1848. Using a wider range of sources, including popular literature, than was then usual, and written in an accessible, novelistic rather than academic style, this five-volume work proved hugely influential upon contemporary historians and phenomenally successful with the public, although it was not without its critics. The first two volumes, published in 1848, were in their third edition by 1849, reprinted here. Because of Macaulay's ill-health and the demands of his political career, the next two volumes did not appear until 1855, and the unfinished fifth volume, edited by his sister Lady Trevelyan, was published posthumously in 1861.