History being present knowledge of the past the nature of the relation between past and present is crucial. Collingwood had definite ideas on this issue. It was, in his own words, the subject of his ‘first principle of a philosophy of history’, developed by about 1920. The principle was, as Collingwood says in An Autobiography, ‘that the past which an historian studies is not a dead past, but a past which in some sense is still living in the present’ (Aut, 97). This idea indeed plays an important part in Collingwood’s philosophy of history and in order to understand the latter properly it therefore deserves to be discussed separately.