Historians, in interpreting the nineteenth century, havelaid
stress on many and various aspects of the period
under study; and descriptions of isolated periods, single
episodes, and individuals are scattered amongst hundreds
and even thousands of books. On the other hand, certainspecial features of the period under consideration havebeen, for various reasons, entirely neglected.
An example of such neglect is the ignoring by histo-
rians of the role played by the Rothschild family in the
history of the nineteenth century, and the object of thiswork is to appraise the important influence of this family
on the politics of the period, not only in Europe butthroughout the world. For, strangely enough, the influ-ence of the Rothschilds is barely mentioned, or at the mostcasually referred to, in otherwise comprehensive and
painstaking historical treatises.
Special literature dealing with the House of Roths-
child usually falls into one of two groups, either fulsomepaeans of praise commissioned by the House itself, or
scurrilous pamphlets inspired by hatred—both equallyunpleasant. There are, however, two works of serious
value in existence, which are partially compiled from
legal documents, but they are of small scope. One is by
employee of the Rothschilds, Christian Wilhelm Berg-
hoeffer, and the other is the impartial work of Dr. Rich-ard Ehrenberg; but these treat only of isolated incidentsin the history of the House, and throw no light on itspan-European importance.
The object of the present work, which deals with the
period 1770-1830, is to trace the rise of the House of Rothschild from its small beginnings to the great positionit attained, culminating in the year of its great crisis.