The Malthusian concept of history says that the rate of population growth outstrips the food supply and therefore we should limit the population. This theory is debunked when, after 1810 the productivity of capitalism was way more than enough to feed the western population. The Whig concept of history argues that; a) social evolution is gradual, and b) when it does change it is because of political ideas. This study also shows, in confirmation of the materialist conception of history, that it was qualitative economic growth that came first. Political changes in institutions came later.