CHAPTER II
THE BASES OF ENGLISH GOVERNMENT

1. THE LAND

The influence of geography on government has been suggested in numerous learned works. Nevertheless, no great learning--indeed, no great imagination--is required, in order to apprehend the importance of the fact that Great Britain is an island. A traditional connection with the sea has for long centuries influenced, and continues to influence, in countless ways the British way of looking at things. The isolation of an insular position has, of course, been largely responsible for a feeling of relative security. This feeling, in turn, has corresponded closely with fact. The island has been secure. Though, in its early history, it was often overrun, it has not in any real sense been invaded since the Norman Conquest. The simple connection of this with the important fact, worthy of frequent repetition, that English political and constitutional history has been a largely unbroken development, is manifest.

Perhaps the simplest fundamental way of viewing the connection between geography and government is in terms of a political distinction made by Aristotle. The Father of Political Science differentiated the state as viewed in terms of mere existence from the state as thought of in terms of its ultimate purpose. Under the first aspect, the state "makes life possible." The ultimate purpose of the state is to further the "good life." Yet, as is so often the case with distinctions, the two aspects of the matter are closely interconnected. Thus, when mere existence is precarious, when the problem of mere existence is so acute as to demand primary attention, then the matter of the good life ten to sink into the background. The

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