Industry and Government in France and England, 1540-1640

Industry and Government in France and England, 1540-1640

Industry and Government in France and England, 1540-1640

Industry and Government in France and England, 1540-1640

Excerpt

This essay, originally published in 1940, can stand by itself, I hope, as an inquiry into the interrelations between industrial and constitutional history during the hundred years or so following the Reformation. But I ought perhaps to call the reader's attention to other works of mine, which have appeared since that time and which help to reveal the general historical importance of that period for the genesis of the industrial civilization which now envelops the world. I have in mind especially War and Human Progress (Cambridge, Mass., 1950), part I; The Genesis rrrrrof Industrialism and Modern Science in Essays in Honor of Conyers Read (ed.Norton Downs; Chicago, 1953), pp. 200-269; La Naissance de la civilisation industrielle et le monde contemporain (Paris, 1954); and Cultural Foundations of Industrial Civilization (Cambridge, 1957).

Today the freedom of economic enterprise and the individualism in conduct and in thought that accompanied the rise of industrialism are on trial. When guided by a love of truth and right, free enterprise and individualism are of very great benefit to mankind. When they become ends in themselves, independent of all other values, religious, ethical, and artistic, men lose the faith and the sense of responsibility which are essential to the survival of both free enterprise and individualism. Four centuries after the Reformation, the lines of Milton speak to us with a special meaning.

He gave us onely over Beast, Fish, Fowl
Dominion absolute; that right we hold
By his donation; but Man over men
He made not Lord; such title to himself
Reserving, human left from human free.

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