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 forms a section of a long work that I hope to complete, a history of industry and civilization in France and England during the hundred years or so following the Reformation. In that century the way was prepared, especially in England, for the highly industrialized civilization established in western Europe and the United States in the nineteenth century.

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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Yet somtimes Nations will decline so low
From vertue, which is reason, that no wrong,
But Justice, and some fatal curse annext
Deprives them of thir outward libertie,
Thir inward lost. . . .

The peoples who have inherited western civilization must regain their inward, if they are to retain their outward liberty. It would seem to be the duty of the scholar, dedicated to the search for truth, to help them, according . . .

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