If the Burckhardtian tradition still persists, after all qualifications have been made, it is because that tradition contains an important truth, namely that the Renaissance was the beginning of our modern world. Similarly, if the medievalists are right, the important truth of their interpretation is continuity: the Renaissance was still part of that agricultural, feudal, and clerical world of Old Europe. The ancien régime in this view came to an end in the noise and terror of the French Revolution. Each of these views may be defended, for continuity and change are the two distinct and fundamental premises of historical thought. To balance and reconcile these opposite qualities is the prerogative of great scholarship. For the purposes of investigation it is enough to define the broad context in which events occurred. The Renaissance, the Reformation, and the various native and particular influences on English historical writing and thought form the background and context in which the seventeenth-century historical revolution took place.