This volume of the Writing History series examines how theory has contributed, both explicitly and implicitly, to the writing of early modern history. It focuses upon neither abstract theory nor historiography per se, but upon the practical application and influence of theory in early modern scholarship. Throughout the book, practicing historians address theories and concepts in the light of their distinctive contribution to the period c.1500 to c.1800. Part 1 evaluates the contribution of certain influential schools of thought by offering an accessible explanation of particular theories, demonstrating their merits and demerits through examples of historical writing about a range of topics (from witchcraft to work, social relations to science, the family to dreams, the English Civil War to the French Revolution). Switching the focus on to key organizing themes such as the economy, politics and religion, Part 2 demonstrates how various theories and assumptions have informed the development of historical work on these topics. By enhancing our comprehension of each topic, this approach also offers a greater understanding of the contours of early modern history as a discipline.