The present does not seem auspicious for the writing of manifestos. The term appears out of kilter with the time, something more in line with what were the passions of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries than what is the general air of post-ideological disengagement of the new century, at least in Britain. Besides, historians, especially academic ones, are not used to writing ‘public declarations of policy’, which is one Oxford Dictionary definition of the meaning of ‘manifesto’, a meaning decidedly reminiscent of the last century. However, they are more at home with another meaning of the term, namely making manifest, ‘showing plainly to the eye or mind’, in the sense of revealing or making explicit something that was hidden or implicit. It is with this sense that I would like to begin my ‘manifesto’, for it seems to suggest that between the ‘critical history’ of my title and this business of revealing and making manifest there may be an important connection.