Without some knowledge of Constitutional History it is absolutely impossible to do justice to the characters and positions of the actors in the great drama; absolutely impossible to understand the origin of parties, the development of principles, the growth of nations in spite of parties and in defiance of principles. It alone can teach why it is that in politics good men do not always think alike, that the worst cause has often been illustrated with the most heroic virtue, and that the world owes some of its greatest debts to men from whose very memory it recoils.
The Constitutional History of England (1873-8; Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1903) vol. 1, pp. iii-iv.
The study of Constitutional History is essentially a tracing of causes and consequences; the examination of a distinct growth from a well-defined germ to full maturity: a growth, the particular shaping and direction of which are due to a diversity of causes, but whose life and developing power lies deep in the very nature of the people. It is not then the collection of a multitude of facts and views, but the piecing of the links of a perfect chain.William Stubbs