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The contributors to this volume have shared in an unusual and exciting intellectual relationship. They all have taught in Social Sciences 2, a General Education course given at Harvard since 1946 by Professor Samuel H. Beer, and thus have participated in a genuinely interdisciplinary form of teaching the social sciences. They hold a common belief in the value of developing comparative social and political theory that may be applied to historical materials, and their work, based upon mastery of more than one discipline, is united by their style of comparative and historical analysis. These essays are divided into two parts, Theory and History, and include Professor Beer’s “Political Science and History,” as well as papers by the editor, Klaus Epstein, Michael Walzer, Charles Tilly, Sydney James, Walter Dean Burnham, and Stephan Thernstrom. The introduction describes the evolution of Social Sciences 2 and affirms the solidarity of the contributors’ essays.