The Development of the European Nations, 1870-1900

The Development of the European Nations, 1870-1900

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The Development of the European Nations, 1870-1900

The Development of the European Nations, 1870-1900

Read FREE!

Excerpt

"The movements in the masses of European peoples are divided and slow, and their progress interrupted and impeded, because they are such great and unequally formed masses; but the preparation for the future is widely diffused, and . . . the promises of the age are so great that even the most faint-hearted rouse themselves to the belief that a time has arrived in which it is a privilege to live."--GERVINUS, 1853.

THE Roman poet Lucretius in an oft-quoted passage describes the satisfaction that naturally fills the mind when from some safe vantage-ground one looks forth on travellers tossed about on the stormy deep. We may perhaps use the poet's not very altruistic words as symbolising many of the feelings with which, at the dawn of the twentieth century, we look back over the stormy waters of the century that has passed away. Some congratulation on this score is justifiable, especially as those wars and revolutions have served to build up States that are far stronger than their predecessors, in proportion as they correspond more nearly with the desires of the nations that compose them.

As we gaze at the revolutions and wars that form the storm-centres of the past century, we can now see some of the causes that brought about those storms. If we survey them with discerning eye, we soon begin to see that, in the main, the cyclonic disturbances had their origins in two great natural impulses of the civilised races of mankind. The first of these forces is that great impulse towards individual liberty, which we name Democracy; the second is that impulse . . .

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