The European Commonwealth: Problems Historical and Diplomatic

The European Commonwealth: Problems Historical and Diplomatic

The European Commonwealth: Problems Historical and Diplomatic

The European Commonwealth: Problems Historical and Diplomatic

Excerpt

The essays contained in this volume represent a selection from a much larger number contributed to quarterly and monthly Reviews during the last four years. They have been selected because, though not originally designed as steps in a coherent argument, they seem to possess a certain measure of unity and consistency. With one exception all have been written since the outbreak of the war, and the single exception (Chapter III) stands in at least as close a relation to recent events as the rest. Suggested though they were by successive aspects of the great struggle in which Europe and the world have been involved, the essays are the fruit of studies which have claimed a large portion of my time during the last thirty years.

The underlying unity of the book will be found in the problem presented to Europe by the evolution of the NationState and the working of the influential though elusive principle of nationality. For four hundred years the foundation of the unified and consolidated Nation-State was the goal of political ambition. The present war has raised in an acute form the question whether the resulting product can be regarded as the last word in political science? Has the process ended in bankruptcy? Is the States-system, in the form with which Europe has been familiar since the close of the fifteenth century, destined to disappear? If so, what is to take its place? These are problems rather for the political philosopher or the international jurist than for the mere historian; but the historian may perhaps make some modest contribution to their solution, and it is in the hope of making it, at a moment when the world is confronted by a multitude of obstinate questionings, that I have been moved to publish this volume.

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