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Title: American Political Ideas Viewed from the Standpoint of Universal History
Author: Fiske, John, 1842-1901
Language: English
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Three Lectures



_Voici un fait entièrement nouveau dans le monde, et dont l'imagination
elle-même ne saurait saisir la portée._






I dedicate this Book


In the spring of 1879 I gave at the Old South Meeting-house in Boston a
course of lectures on the discovery and colonization of America, and
presently, through the kindness of my friend Professor Huxley, the
course was repeated at University College in London. The lectures there
were attended by very large audiences, and awakened such an interest in
American history that I was invited to return to England in the
following year and treat of some of the philosophical aspects of my
subject in a course of lectures at the Royal Institution.

In the three lectures which were written in response to this invitation,
and which are now published in this little volume, I have endeavoured to
illustrate some of the fundamental ideas of American politics by setting
forth their relations to the general history of mankind. It is
impossible thoroughly to grasp the meaning of any group of facts, in any
department of study, until we have duly compared them with allied groups
of facts; and the political history of the American people can be
rightly understood only when it is studied in connection with that
general process of political evolution which has been going on from the
earliest times, and of which it is itself one of the most important and
remarkable phases. The government of the United States is not the result
of special creation, but of evolution. As the town-meetings of New
England are lineally descended from the village assemblies of the early
Aryans; as our huge federal union was long ago foreshadowed in the
little leagues of Greek cities and Swiss cantons; so the great political
problem which we are (thus far successfully) solving is the very same
problem upon which all civilized peoples have been working ever since
civilization began. How to insure peaceful concerted action throughout
the Whole, without infringing upon local and individual freedom in the
Parts,--this has ever been the chief aim of civilization, viewed on its
political side; and we rate the failure or success of nations
politically according to their failure or success in attaining this
supreme end. When thus considered in the light of the comparative
method, our American history acquires added dignity and interest, and a
broad and rational basis is secured for the detailed treatment of
political questions.

When viewed in this light, moreover, not only does American history
become especially interesting to Englishmen, but English history is
clothed with fresh interest for Americans. Mr. Freeman has done well in
insisting upon the fact that the history of the English people does not
begin with the Norman Conquest. In the deepest and widest sense, our
American history does not begin with the Declaration of Independence, or
even with the settlements of Jamestown and Plymouth; but it descends in
unbroken continuity from the days when stout Arminius in the forests of
northern Germany successfully defied the might of imperial Rome. In a
more restricted sense, the statesmanship of Washington and Lincoln
appears in the noblest light when regarded as the fruition of the
various work of De Montfort and Cromwell and Chatham. The good fight
begun at Lewes and continued at Naseby and Quebec was fitly crowned at
Yorktown and at Appomattox. When we duly realize this, and further come
to see how the two great branches of the English race have the common
mission of establishing throughout the larger part of the earth a higher
civilization and more permanent political order than any that has gone
before, we shall the better understand the true significance of the
history which English-speaking men have so magnificently wrought out
upon American soil.

In dealing concisely with a subject so vast, only brief hints and
suggestions can be expected; and I have not thought it worth while, for
the present at least, to change or amplify the manner of treatment. The
lectures are printed exactly as they were delivered at the Royal
Institution, more than four years ago. On one point of detail some
change will very likely by and by be called for. In the lecture on the
Town-meeting I have adopted the views of Sir Henry Maine as to the
common holding of the arable land in the ancient German mark, and as to
the primitive character of the periodical redistribution of land in the
Russian village community. It now seems highly probable that these views
will have to undergo serious modification in consequence of the valuable
evidence lately brought forward by my friend Mr. Denman Ross, in his
learned and masterly treatise on "The Early History of Landholding among
the Germans;" but as I am not yet quite clear as to how far this
modification will go, and as it can in nowise affect the general drift
of my argument, I have made no change in my incidental remarks on this
difficult and disputed question.

In describing some of the characteristic features of country life in New
England, I had especially in mind the beautiful mountain village in
which this preface is written, and in which for nearly a quarter of a
century I have felt myself more at home than in any other spot in
the world.

In writing these lectures, designed as they were for a special occasion,
no attempt was made to meet the ordinary requirements of popular
audiences; yet they have been received in many places with unlooked-for
favour. The lecture on "Manifest Destiny" was three times repeated in
London, and once in Edinburgh; seven times in Boston; four times in New
York; twice in Brooklyn, N.Y., Plainfield, N.J., and Madison, Wis.; once
in Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Buffalo, Cleveland, Cincinnati,
Indianapolis, St. Louis, and Milwaukee; in Appleton and Waukesha, Wis.;
Portland, Lewiston, and Brunswick, Me.; Lowell, Concord, Newburyport,
Peabody, Stoneham, Maiden, Newton Highlands, and Martha's Vineyard,
Mass.; Middletown and Stamford, Conn.; Newburg and Poughkeepsie, N.Y.;
Orange, N.J.; and at Cornell University and Haverford College. In
several of these places the course was given.

PETERSHAM, _September 13, 1884_.




Differences in outward aspect between a village in England and a village
in Massachusetts. Life in a typical New England mountain village. Tenure
of land, domestic service, absence of poverty and crime, universality of
labour and of culture, freedom of thought, complete democracy. This
state of things is to some extent passing away. Remarkable
characteristics of the Puritan settlers of New England, and extent to
which their characters and aims have influenced American history. Town
governments in New England. Different meanings of the word "city" in
England and America. Importance of local self-government in the
political life of the United States. Origin of the town-meeting. Mr.
Freeman on the cantonal assemblies of Switzerland. The old Teutonic
"mark," or dwelling-place of a clan. Political union originally based,
not on territorial contiguity, but on blood-relationship. Divisions of
the mark. Origin of the village Common. The _mark-mote_. Village
communities in Russia and Hindustan. Difference between the despotism of
Russia and that of France under the Old Régime. Elements of sound
political life fostered by the Russian village. Traces of the mark in
England. Feudalization of Europe, and partial metamorphosis of the mark
or township into the manor. Parallel transformation of the township, in
some of its features, into the parish. The court leet and the
vestry-meeting. The New England town-meeting a revival of the ancient

Vicissitudes of local self-government in the various portions of the
Aryan world illustrated in the contrasted cases of France and England.
Significant contrast between the aristocracy of England and that of the
Continent. Difference between the Teutonic conquests of Gaul and of
Britain. Growth of centralization in France. Why the English have always
been more successful than the French in founding colonies. Struggle
between France and England for the possession of North America, and
prodigious significance of the victory of England.



Wonderful greatness of ancient Athens. Causes of the political failure
of Greek civilization. Early stages of political aggregation,--the
_hundred_, the [Greek: _phratria_], the _curia_; the _shire_, the
_deme_, and the _pagus_. Aggregation of clans into tribes. Differences
in the mode of aggregation in Greece and Rome on the one hand, and in
Teutonic countries on the other. The Ancient City. Origin of cities in
Hindustan, Germany, England, and the United States. Religious character
of the ancient city. Burghership not granted to strangers. Consequences
of the political difference between the Graeco-Roman city and the
Teutonic shire. The _folk-mote_, or primary assembly, and the
_witenagemote_, or assembly of notables. Origin of representative
government in the Teutonic shire. Representation unknown to the Greeks
and Romans. The ancient city as a school for political training.
Intensity of the jealousies and rivalries between adjacent
self-governing groups of men. Smallness of simple social aggregates and
universality of warfare in primitive times. For the formation of larger
and more complex social aggregates, only two methods are
practicable,--_conquest_ or _federation_. Greek attempts at employing
the higher method, that of federation. The Athenian hegemony and its
overthrow. The Achaian and Aetolian leagues. In a low stage of political
development the Roman method of _conquest with incorporation_ was the
only one practicable. Peculiarities of the Roman conquest of Italy.
Causes of the universal dominion of Rome. Advantages and disadvantages
of this dominion:--on the one hand the _pax romana_, and the breaking
down of primitive local superstitions and prejudices; on the other hand
the partial extinction of local self-government. Despotism inevitable in
the absence of representation. Causes of the political failure of the
Roman system. Partial reversion of Europe, between the fifth and
eleventh centuries, towards a more primitive type of social structure.
Power of Rome still wielded through the Church and the imperial
jurisprudence. Preservation of local self-government in England, and at
the two ends of the Rhine. The Dutch and Swiss federations. The lesson
to be learned from Switzerland. Federation on a great scale could only
be attempted successfully by men of English political training, when
working without let or hindrance in a vast country not preoccupied by an
old civilization. Without local self-government a great Federal Union is
impossible. Illustrations from American history. Difficulty of the
problem, and failure of the early attempts at federation in New
England. Effects of the war for independence. The "Articles of
Confederation" and the "Constitution." Pacific implications of American



The Americans boast of the bigness of their country. How to "bound" the
United States. "Manifest Destiny" of the "Anglo-Saxon Race." The term
"Anglo-Saxon" slovenly and misleading. Statements relating to the
"English Race" have a common interest for Americans and for Englishmen.
Work of the English race in the world. The prime feature of civilization
is the diminution of warfare, which becomes possible only through the
formation of great political aggregates in which the parts retain their
local and individual freedom. In the earlier stages of civilization, the
possibility of peace can be guaranteed only through war, but the
preponderant military strength is gradually concentrated in the hands of
the most pacific communities, and by the continuance of this process the
permanent peace of the world will ultimately be secured. Illustrations
from the early struggles of European civilization with outer barbarism,
and with aggressive civilizations of lower type. Greece and Persia.
Keltic and Teutonic enemies of Rome. The defensible frontier of European
civilization carried northward and eastward to the Rhine by Caesar; to
the Oder by Charles the Great; to the Vistula by the Teutonic Knights;
to the Volga and the Oxus by the Russians. Danger in the Dark Ages from
Huns and Mongols on the one hand, from Mussulmans on the other. Immense
increase of the area and physical strength of European civilization,
which can never again be in danger from outer barbarism. Effect of all
this secular turmoil upon the political institutions of Europe. It
hindered the formation of closely coherent nations, and was at the same
time an obstacle to the preservation of popular liberties. Tendency
towards the _Asiaticization_ of European life. Opposing influences of
the Church, and of the Germanic tribal organizations. Military type of
society on the Continent. Old Aryan self-government happily preserved in
England. Strategic position of England favourable to the early
elimination of warfare from her soil. Hence the exceptionally normal and
plastic political development of the English race. Significant
coincidence of the discovery of America with the beginnings of the
Protestant revolt against the asiaticizing tendency. Significance of the
struggle between Spain, France, and England for the possession of an
enormous area of virgin soil which should insure to the conqueror an
unprecedented opportunity for future development. The race which gained
control of North America must become the dominant race of the world, and
its political ideas must prevail in the struggle for life. Moral
significance of the rapid increase of the English race in America.
Fallacy of the notion that centralized governments are needed for very
large nations. It is only through federalism, combined with local
self-government, that the stability of so huge an aggregate as the
United States can be permanently maintained. What the American
government really fought for in the late Civil War. Magnitude of the
results achieved. Unprecedented military strength shown by this most
pacific and industrial of peoples. Improbability of any future attempt
to break up the Federal Union. Stupendous future of the English
race,--in Africa, in Australia, and in the islands of the Pacific
Ocean. Future of the English language. Probable further adoption of
federalism. Probable effects upon Europe of industrial competition with
the United States: impossibility of keeping up the present military
armaments. The States of Europe will be forced, by pressure of
circumstances, into some kind of federal union. A similar process will
go on until the whole of mankind shall constitute a single political
body, and warfare shall disappear forever from the face of the earth.




The traveller from the Old World, who has a few weeks at his disposal
for a visit to the United States, usually passes straight from one to
another of our principal cities, such as Boston, New York, Washington,
or Chicago, stopping for a day or two perhaps at Niagara Falls,--or,
perhaps, after traversing a distance like that which separates England
from Mesopotamia, reaches the vast table-lands of the Far West and
inspects their interesting fauna of antelopes and buffaloes, red Indians
and Mormons. In a journey of this sort one gets a very superficial view
of the peculiarities, physical and social, which characterize the
different portions of our country; and in this there is nothing to
complain of, since the knowledge gained in a vacation-journey cannot
well be expected to be thorough or profound. The traveller, however,
who should visit the United States in a more leisurely way, with the
purpose of increasing his knowledge of history and politics, would find
it well to proceed somewhat differently. He would find himself richly
repaid for a sojourn in some insignificant place the very name of which
is unknown beyond sea,--just as Mr. Mackenzie Wallace--whose book on
Russia is a model of what such books should be--got so much invaluable
experience from his months of voluntary exile at Ivánofka in the
province of Novgorod. Out of the innumerable places which one might
visit in America, there are none which would better reward such careful
observation, or which are more full of interest for the comparative
historian, than the rural towns and mountain villages of New England;
that part of English America which is oldest in civilization (though not
in actual date of settlement), and which, while most completely English
in blood and in traditions, is at the same time most completely American
in so far as it has most distinctly illustrated and most successfully
represented those political ideas which have given to American history
its chief significance in the general work of civilization.

The United States are not unfrequently spoken of as a "new country," in
terms which would be appropriate if applied to Australia or New Zealand,
and which are not inappropriate as applied to the vast region west of
the Mississippi River, where the white man had hardly set foot before
the beginning of the present century. New England, however, has a
history which carries us back to the times of James I.; and while its
cities are full of such bustling modern life as one sees in Liverpool or
Manchester or Glasgow, its rural towns show us much that is
old-fashioned in aspect,--much that one can approach in an antiquarian
spirit. We are there introduced to a phase of social life which is
highly interesting on its own account and which has played an important
part in the world, yet which, if not actually passing away, is at least
becoming so rapidly modified as to afford a theme for grave reflections
to those who have learned how to appreciate its value. As any
far-reaching change in the condition of landed property in England, due
to agricultural causes, might seriously affect the position of one of
the noblest and most useful aristocracies that has ever existed; so, on
the other hand, as we consider the possible action of similar causes
upon the _personnel_ and upon the occupations of rural New England, we
are unwillingly forced to contemplate the possibility of a
deterioration in the character of the most perfect democracy the world
has ever seen.

In the outward aspect of a village in Massachusetts or Connecticut, the
feature which would be most likely first to impress itself upon the mind
of a visitor from England is the manner in which the village is laid out
and built. Neither in England nor anywhere else in western Europe have I
ever met with a village of the New England type. In English villages one
finds small houses closely crowded together, sometimes in blocks of ten
or a dozen, and inhabited by people belonging to the lower orders of
society; while the fine houses of gentlemen stand quite apart in the
country, perhaps out of sight of one another, and surrounded by very
extensive grounds. The origin of the village, in a mere aggregation of
tenants of the lord of the manor, is thus vividly suggested. In France
one is still more impressed, I think, with this closely packed structure
of the village. In the New England village, on the other hand, the finer
and the poorer houses stand side by side along the road. There are wide
straight streets overarched with spreading elms and maples, and on
either side stand the houses, with little green lawns in front, called
in rustic parlance "door-yards." The finer houses may stand a thousand
feet apart from their neighbours on either side, while between the
poorer ones there may be intervals of from twenty to one hundred feet,
but they are never found crowded together in blocks. Built in this
capacious fashion, a village of a thousand inhabitants may have a main
street more than a mile in length, with half a dozen crossing streets
losing themselves gradually in long stretches of country road. The
finest houses are not ducal palaces, but may be compared with the
ordinary country-houses of gentlemen in England. The poorest houses are
never hovels, such as one sees in the Scotch Highlands. The picturesque
and cosy cottage at Shottery, where Shakespeare used to do his courting,
will serve very well as a sample of the humblest sort of old-fashioned
New England farm-house. But most of the dwellings in the village come
between these extremes. They are plain neat wooden houses, in
capaciousness more like villas than cottages. A New England village
street, laid out in this way, is usually very picturesque and beautiful,
and it is highly characteristic. In comparing it with things in Europe,
where one rarely finds anything at all like it, one must go to something
very different from a village. As you stand in the Court of Heroes at
Versailles and look down the broad and noble avenue that leads to
Paris, the effect of the vista is much like that of a New England
village street. As American villages grow into cities, the increase in
the value of land usually tends to crowd the houses together into blocks
as in a European city. But in some of our western cities founded and
settled by people from New England, this spacious fashion of building
has been retained for streets occupied by dwelling-houses. In
Cleveland--a city on the southern shore of Lake Erie, with a population
about equal to that of Edinburgh--there is a street some five or six
miles in length and five hundred feet in width, bordered on each side
with a double row of arching trees, and with handsome stone houses, of
sufficient variety and freedom in architectural design, standing at
intervals of from one to two hundred feet along the entire length of the
street. The effect, it is needless to add, is very noble indeed. The
vistas remind one of the nave and aisles of a huge cathedral.

Now this generous way in which a New England village is built is very
closely associated with the historical origin of the village and with
the peculiar kind of political and social life by which it is
characterized. First of all, it implies abundance of land. As a rule the
head of each family owns the house in which he lives and the ground on
which it is built. The relation of landlord and tenant, though not
unknown, is not commonly met with. No sort of social distinction or
political privilege is associated with the ownership of land; and the
legal differences between real and personal property, especially as
regards ease of transfer, have been reduced to the smallest minimum that
practical convenience will allow. Each householder, therefore, though an
absolute proprietor, cannot be called a miniature lord of the manor,
because there exists no permanent dependent class such as is implied in
the use of such a phrase. Each larger proprietor attends in person to
the cultivation of his own land, assisted perhaps by his own sons or by
neighbours working for hire in the leisure left over from the care of
their own smaller estates. So in the interior of the house there is
usually no domestic service that is not performed by the mother of the
family and the daughters. Yet in spite of this universality of manual
labour, the people are as far as possible from presenting the appearance
of peasants. Poor or shabbily-dressed people are rarely seen, and there
is no one in the village whom it would be proper to address in a
patronizing tone, or who would not consider it a gross insult to be
offered a shilling. As with poverty, so with dram-drinking and with
crime; all alike are conspicuous by their absence. In a village of one
thousand inhabitants there will be a poor-house where five or six
decrepit old people are supported at the common charge; and there will
be one tavern where it is not easy to find anything stronger to drink
than light beer or cider. The danger from thieves is so slight that it
is not always thought necessary to fasten the outer doors of the house
at night. The universality of literary culture is as remarkable as the
freedom with which all persons engage in manual labour. The village of a
thousand inhabitants will be very likely to have a public circulating
library, in which you may find Professor Huxley's "Lay Sermons" or Sir
Henry Maine's "Ancient Law": it will surely have a high-school and half
a dozen schools for small children. A person unable to read and write is
as great a rarity as an albino or a person with six fingers. The farmer
who threshes his own corn and cuts his own firewood has very likely a
piano in his family sitting-room, with the _Atlantic Monthly_ on the
table and Milton and Tennyson, Gibbon and Macaulay on his shelves, while
his daughter, who has baked bread in the morning, is perhaps ready to
paint on china in the afternoon. In former times theological questions
largely occupied the attention of the people; and there is probably no
part of the world where the Bible has been more attentively read, or
where the mysteries of Christian doctrine have to so great an extent
been made the subject of earnest discussion in every household. Hence we
find in the New England of to-day a deep religious sense combined with
singular flexibility of mind and freedom of thought.

A state of society so completely democratic as that here described has
not often been found in connection with a very high and complex
civilization. In contemplating these old mountain villages of New
England, one descries slow modifications in the structure of society
which threaten somewhat to lessen its dignity. The immense
productiveness of the soil in our western states, combined with
cheapness of transportation, tends to affect seriously the agricultural
interests of New England as well as those of our mother-country. There
is a visible tendency for farms to pass into the hands of proprietors of
an inferior type to that of the former owners,--men who are content with
a lower standard of comfort and culture; while the sons of the old
farmers go off to the universities to prepare for a professional career,
and the daughters marry merchants or lawyers in the cities. The
mountain-streams of New England, too, afford so much water-power as to
bring in ugly factories to disfigure the beautiful ravines, and to
introduce into the community a class of people very different from the
landholding descendants of the Puritans. When once a factory is
established near a village, one no longer feels free to sleep with
doors unbolted.

It will be long, however, I trust, before the simple, earnest and
independent type of character that has been nurtured on the Blue Hills
of Massachusetts and the White Hills of New Hampshire shall cease to
operate like a powerful leaven upon the whole of American society. Much
has been said and sung in praise of the spirit of chivalry, which, after
all, as a great historian reminds us, "implies the arbitrary choice of
one or two virtues, to be practised in such an exaggerated degree as to
become vices, while the ordinary laws of right and wrong are
forgotten." [1] Quite enough has been said, too, in discredit of
Puritanism,--its narrowness of aim, its ascetic proclivities, its quaint
affectations of Hebraism. Yet these things were but the symptoms of the
intensity of its reverence for that grand spirit of Hebraism, of which
Mr. Matthew Arnold speaks, to which we owe the Bible and Christianity.
No loftier ideal has ever been conceived than that of the Puritan who
would fain have made of the world a City of God. If we could sum up all
that England owes to Puritanism, the story would be a great one indeed.
As regards the United States, we may safely say that what is noblest in
our history to-day, and of happiest augury for our social and political
future, is the impress left upon the character of our people by the
heroic men who came to New England early in the seventeenth century.

The settlement of New England by the Puritans occupies a peculiar
position in the annals of colonization, and without understanding this
we cannot properly appreciate the character of the purely democratic
society which I have sought to describe. As a general rule colonies have
been founded, either by governments or by private enterprise, for
political or commercial reasons. The aim has been--on the part of
governments--to annoy some rival power, or to get rid of criminals, or
to open some new avenue of trade, or--on the part of the people--to
escape from straitened circumstances at home, or to find a refuge from
religious persecution. In the settlement of New England none of these
motives were operative except the last, and that only to a slight
extent. The Puritans who fled from Nottinghamshire to Holland in 1608,
and twelve years afterwards crossed the ocean in the _Mayflower_, may be
said to have been driven from England by persecution. But this was not
the case with the Puritans who between 1630 and 1650 went from
Lincolnshire, Norfolk and Suffolk, and from Dorset and Devonshire, and
founded the colonies of Massachusetts and Connecticut. These men left
their homes at a time when Puritanism was waxing powerful and could not
be assailed with impunity. They belonged to the upper and middle classes
of the society of that day, outside of the peerage. Mr. Freeman has
pointed out the importance of the change by which, after the Norman
Conquest, the Old-English nobility or _thegnhood_ was pushed down into
"a secondary place in the political and social scale." Of the
far-reaching effects of this change upon the whole subsequent history of
the English race I shall hereafter have occasion to speak. The proximate
effect was that "the ancient lords of the soil, thus thrust down into
the second rank, formed that great body of freeholders, the stout gentry
and yeomanry of England, who were for so many ages the strength of the
land." [2] It was from this ancient thegnhood that the Puritan settlers
of New England were mainly descended. It is no unusual thing for a
Massachusetts family to trace its pedigree to a lord of the manor in the
thirteenth or fourteenth century. The leaders of the New England
emigration were country gentlemen of good fortune, similar in position
to such men as Hampden and Cromwell; a large proportion of them had
taken degrees at Cambridge. The rank and file were mostly intelligent
and prosperous yeomen. The lowest ranks of society were not represented
in the emigration; and all idle, shiftless, or disorderly people were
rigorously refused admission into the new communities, the early history
of which was therefore singularly free from anything like riot or
mutiny. To an extent unparalleled, therefore, in the annals of
colonization, the settlers of New England were a body of _picked men_.
Their Puritanism was the natural outcome of their free-thinking,
combined with an earnestness of character which could constrain them to
any sacrifices needful for realizing their high ideal of life. They gave
up pleasant homes in England, and they left them with no feeling of
rancour towards their native land, in order that, by dint of whatever
hardship, they might establish in the American wilderness what should
approve itself to their judgment as a god-fearing community. It matters
little that their conceptions were in some respects narrow. In the
unflinching adherence to duty which prompted their enterprise, and in
the sober intelligence with which it was carried out, we have, as I said
before, the key to what is best in the history of the American people.

Out of such a colonization as that here described nothing but a
democratic society could very well come, save perhaps in case of a
scarcity of arable land. Between the country gentleman and the yeoman
who has become a landed proprietor, the difference is not great enough
to allow the establishment of permanent distinctions, social or
political. Immediately on their arrival in New England, the settlers
proceeded to form for themselves a government as purely democratic as
any that has ever been seen in the world. Instead of scattering about
over the country, the requirements of education and of public worship,
as well as of defence against Indian attacks, obliged them to form small
village communities. As these villages multiplied, the surface of the
country came to be laid out in small districts (usually from six to ten
miles in length and breadth) called _townships_. Each township contained
its village together with the woodlands surrounding it. In later days
two or more villages have often grown up within the limits of the same
township, and the road from one village to another is sometimes bordered
with homesteads and cultivated fields throughout nearly its whole
length. In the neighbourhood of Boston villages and small towns crowd
closely together for twenty miles in every direction; and all these will
no doubt by and by grow together into a vast and complicated city, in
somewhat the same way that London has grown.

From the outset the government of the township was vested in the
TOWN-MEETING,--an institution which in its present form is said to be
peculiar to New England, but which, as we shall see, has close analogies
with local self-governing bodies in other ages and countries. Once in
each year--usually in the month of March--a meeting is held, at which
every adult male residing within the limits of the township is expected
to be present, and is at liberty to address the meeting or to vote upon
any question that may come up.

In the first years of the colonies it seems to have been attempted to
hold town-meetings every month, and to discuss all the affairs of the
community in these assemblies; but this was soon found to be a cumbrous
way of transacting public business, and as early as 1635 we find
_selectmen_ chosen to administer the affairs of the township during the
intervals between the assemblies. As the system has perfected itself, at
each annual town-meeting there are chosen not less than three or more
than nine selectmen, according to the size of the township. Besides
these, there are chosen a town-clerk, a town-treasurer, a
school-committee, assessors of taxes, overseers of the poor, constables,
surveyors of highways, fence-viewers, and other officers. In very small
townships the selectmen themselves may act as assessors of taxes or
overseers of the poor. The selectmen may appoint police-officers if such
are required; they may act as a Board of Health; in addition to sundry
specific duties too numerous to mention here, they have the general
superintendence of all public business save such as is expressly
assigned to the other officers; and whenever circumstances may seem to
require it they are authorized to call a town-meeting. The selectmen are
thus the principal town-magistrates; and through the annual election
their responsibility to the town is maintained at the maximum. Yet in
many New England towns re-election of the same persons year after year
has very commonly prevailed. I know of an instance where the office of
town-clerk was filled by three members of one family during one hundred
and fourteen consecutive years.

Besides choosing executive officers, the town-meeting has the power of
enacting by-laws, of making appropriations of money for town-purposes,
and of providing for miscellaneous emergencies by what might be termed
special legislation. Besides the annual meeting held in the spring for
transacting all this local business, the selectmen are required to call
a meeting in the autumn of each year for the election of state and
county officers, each second year for the election of representatives to
the federal Congress, and each fourth year for the election of the
President of the United States.

It only remains to add that, as an assembly of the whole people becomes
impracticable in a large community, so when the population of a township
has grown to ten or twelve thousand, the town-meeting is discontinued,
the town is incorporated as a city, and its affairs are managed by a
mayor, a board of aldermen, and a common council, according to the
system adopted in London in the reign of Edward I. In America,
therefore, the distinction between cities and towns has nothing to do
with the presence or absence of a cathedral, but refers solely to
differences in the communal or municipal government. In the city the
common council, as a representative body, replaces (in a certain sense)
the town-meeting; a representative government is substituted for a pure
democracy. But the city officers, like the selectmen of towns, are
elected annually; and in no case (I believe) has municipal government
fallen into the hands of a self-perpetuating body, as it has done in so
many instances in England owing to the unwise policy pursued by the
Tudors and Stuarts in their grants of charters.

It is only in New England that the township system is to be found in its
completeness. In several southern and western states the administrative
unit is the county, and local affairs are managed by county
commissioners elected by the people. Elsewhere we find a mixture of the
county and township systems. In some of the western states settled by
New England people, town-meetings are held, though their powers are
somewhat less extensive than in New England. In the settlement of
Virginia it was attempted to copy directly the parishes and vestries,
boroughs and guilds of England. But in the southern states generally the
great size of the plantations and the wide dispersion of the population
hindered the growth of towns, so that it was impossible to have an
administrative unit smaller than the county. As Tocqueville said fifty
years ago, "the farther south we go the less active does the business of
the township or parish become; the population exercises a less immediate
influence on affairs; the power of the elected magistrate is augmented
and that of the election diminished, while the public spirit of the
local communities is less quickly awakened and less influential." This
is almost equally true to-day; yet with all these differences in local
organization, there is no part of our country in which the spirit of
local self-government can be called weak or uncertain. I have described
the Town-meeting as it exists in the states where it first grew up and
has since chiefly flourished. But something very like the "town-meeting
principle" lies at the bottom of all the political life of the United
States. To maintain vitality in the centre without sacrificing it in the
parts; to preserve tranquillity in the mutual relations of forty
powerful states, while keeping the people everywhere as far as possible
in direct contact with the government; such is the political problem
which the American Union exists for the purpose of solving; and of this
great truth every American citizen is supposed to have some glimmering,
however crude.

It has been said that the town-governments of New England were
established without any conscious reference to precedent; but, however
this may be, they are certainly not without precedents and analogies, to
enumerate which will carry us very far back in the history of the Aryan
world. At the beginning of his essay on the "Growth of the English
Constitution," Mr. Freeman gives an eloquent account of the May
assemblies of Uri and Appenzell, when the whole people elect their
magistrates for the year and vote upon amendments to the old laws or
upon the adoption of new ones. Such a sight Mr. Freeman seems to think
can be seen nowhere but in Switzerland, and he reckons it among the
highest privileges of his life to have looked upon it. But I am unable
to see in what respect the town-meeting in Massachusetts differs from
the _Landesgemeinde_ or cantonal assembly in Switzerland, save that it
is held in a town-hall and not in the open air, that it is conducted
with somewhat less of pageantry, and that the freemen who attend do not
carry arms even by way of ceremony. In the Swiss assembly, as Mr.
Freeman truly observes, we see exemplified the most democratic phase of
the old Teutonic constitution as described in the "Germania" of
Tacitus, "the earliest picture which history can give us of the
political and social being of our own forefathers." The same remark, in
precisely the same terms, would be true of the town-meetings of New
England. Political institutions, on the White Mountains and on the Alps,
not only closely resemble each other, but are connected by strict bonds
of descent from a common original.

The most primitive self-governing body of which we have any knowledge is
the village-community of the ancient Teutons, of which such strict
counterparts are found in other parts of the Aryan world as to make it
apparent that in its essential features it must be an inheritance from
prehistoric Aryan antiquity. In its Teutonic form the primitive
village-community (or rather, the spot inhabited by it) is known as the
_Mark_,--that is, a place defined by a boundary-line. One characteristic
of the mark-community is that all its free members are in theory
supposed to be related to each other through descent from a common
progenitor; and in this respect the mark-community agrees with the
_gens_, [Greek: _ginos_], or _clan_. The earliest form of political
union in the world is one which rests, not upon territorial contiguity,
but upon I blood-relationship, either real or assumed through the legal
fiction of adoption. In the lowest savagery blood-relationship is the
only admissible or conceivable ground for sustained common action among
groups of men. Among peoples which wander about, supporting themselves
either by hunting, or at a somewhat more advanced stage of development
by the rearing of flocks and herds, a group of men, thus permanently
associated through ties of blood-relationship, is what we call a _clan_.
When by the development of agricultural pursuits the nomadic mode of
life is brought to an end, when the clan remains stationary upon some
piece of territory surrounded by a strip of forest-land, or other
boundaries natural or artificial, then the clan becomes a
mark-community. The profound linguistic researches of Pictet, Fick, and
others have made it probable that at the time when the Old-Aryan
language was broken up into the dialects from which the existing
languages of Europe are descended, the Aryan tribes were passing from a
purely pastoral stage of barbarism into an incipient agricultural stage,
somewhat like that which characterized the Iroquois tribes in America in
the seventeenth century. The comparative study of institutions leads to
results in harmony with this view, showing us the mark-community of our
Teutonic ancestors with the clear traces of its origin in the more
primitive clan; though, with Mr. Kemble, I do not doubt that by the time
of Tacitus the German tribes had long since reached the
agricultural stage.

Territorially the old Teutonic mark consisted of three divisions. There
was the _village mark_, where the people lived in houses crowded closely
together, no doubt for defensive purposes; there was the _arable mark_,
divided into as many lots as there were householders; and there was the
_common mark_, or border-strip of untilled land, wherein all the
inhabitants of the village had common rights of pasturage and of cutting
firewood. All this land originally was the property not of any one
family or individual, but of the community. The study of the mark
carries us back to a time when there may have been private property in
weapons, utensils, or trinkets, but not in real estate.[3] Of the three
kinds of land the common mark, save where curtailed or usurped by lords
in the days of feudalism, has generally remained public property to this
day. The pleasant green commons or squares which occur in the midst of
towns and cities in England and the United States most probably
originated from the coalescence of adjacent mark-communities, whereby
the border-land used in common by all was brought into the centre of the
new aggregate. In towns of modern date this origin of the common is of
course forgotten, and in accordance with the general law by which the
useful thing after discharging its functions survives for purposes of
ornament, it is introduced as a pleasure-ground. In old towns of New
England, however, the little park where boys play ball or children and
nurses "take the air" was once the common pasture of the town. Even
Boston Common did not entirely cease to be a grazing-field until 1830.
It was in the village-mark, or assemblage of homesteads, that private
property in real estate naturally began. In the Russian villages to-day
the homesteads are private property, while the cultivated land is owned
in common. This was the case with the _arable mark_ of our ancestors.
The arable mark belonged to the community, and was temporarily divided
into as many fields as there were households, though the division was
probably not into equal parts: more likely, as in Russia to-day, the
number of labourers in each household was taken into the account; and at
irregular intervals, as fluctuations in population seemed to require it,
a thorough-going redivision was effected. In carrying out such
divisions and redivisions, as well as in all matters relating to
village, ploughed field, or pasture, the mark-community was a law unto
itself. Though individual freedom was by no means considerable, the
legal existence of the individual being almost entirely merged in that
of his clan, the mark-community was a completely self-governing body.
The assembly of the mark-men, or members of the community, allotted land
for tillage, determined the law or declared the custom as to methods of
tillage, fixed the dates for sowing and reaping, voted upon the
admission of new families into the village, and in general transacted
what was then regarded as the public business of the community. In all
essential respects this village assembly or _mark-mote_ would seem to
have resembled the town-meetings of New England.

Such was the mark-community of the ancient Teutons, as we gather partly
from hints afforded by Tacitus and partly from the comparative study of
English, German, and Scandinavian institutions. In Russia and in
Hindustan we find the same primitive form of social organization
existing with very little change at the present day. Alike in Hindu and
in Russian village-communities we find the group of habitations, each
despotically ruled by a _pater-familias;_ we find the pasture-land
owned and enjoyed in common; and we find the arable land divided into
separate lots, which are cultivated according to minute regulations
established by the community. But in India the occasional redistribution
of lots survives only in a few localities, and as a mere tradition in
others; the arable mark has become private property, as well as the
homesteads. In Russia, on the other hand, re-allotments occur at
irregular intervals averaging something like fifteen years. In India the
local government is carried on in some places by a Council of Village
Elders, and in other places by a Headman whose office is sometimes
described as hereditary, but is more probably elective, the choice being
confined, as in the case of the old Teutonic kingship, to the members of
a particular family. In the Russian village, on the other hand, the
government is conducted by an assembly at which every head of a
household is expected to be present and vote on all matters of public
concern. This assembly elects the Village Elder, or chief executive
officer, the tax-collector, the watchman, and the communal herd-boy; it
directs the allotment of the arable land; and in general matters of
local legislation its power is as great as that of the New England
town-meeting,--in some respects perhaps even greater, since the precise
extent of its powers has never been determined by legislation, and
(according to Mr. Wallace) "there is no means of appealing against its
decisions." To those who are in the habit of regarding Russia simply as
a despotically-governed country, such a statement may seem surprising.
To those who, because the Russian government is called a bureaucracy,
have been led to think of it as analogous to the government of France
under the Old Régime, it may seem incredible that the decisions of a
village-assembly should not admit of appeal to a higher authority. But
in point of fact, no two despotic governments could be less alike than
that of modern Russia and that of France under the Old Régime. The
Russian government is autocratic inasmuch as over the larger part of the
country it has simply succeeded to the position of the Mongolian khans
who from the thirteenth to the fifteenth century held the Russian people
in subjection. This Mongolian government was--to use a happy distinction
suggested by Sir Henry Maine--a tax-taking despotism, not a legislative
despotism. The conquerors exacted tribute, but did not interfere with
the laws and customs of the subject people. When the Russians drove out
the Mongols they exchanged a despotism which they hated for one in
which they felt a national pride, but in one curious respect the
position of the people with reference to their rulers has remained the
same. The imperial government exacts from each village-community a tax
in gross, for which the community as a whole is responsible, and which
may or may not be oppressive in amount; but the government has never
interfered with local legislation or with local customs. Thus in the
_mir_, or village-community, the Russians still retain an element of
sound political life, the importance of which appears when we consider
that five-sixths of the population of European Russia is comprised in
these communities. The tax assessed upon them by the imperial government
is, however, a feature which--even more than their imperfect system of
property and their low grade of mental culture--separates them by a
world-wide interval from the New England township, to the primeval
embryonic stage of which they correspond.

From these illustrations we see that the mark, or self-governing
village-community, is an institution which must be referred back to
early Aryan times. Whether the mark ever existed in England, in anything
like the primitive form in which it is seen in the Russian _mir_, is
doubtful. Professor Stubbs (one of the greatest living authorities on
such a subject) is inclined to think that the Teutonic settlers of
Britain had passed beyond this stage before they migrated from
Germany.[4] Nevertheless the traces of the mark, as all admit, are
plentiful enough in England; and some of its features have survived down
to modern times. In the great number of town-names that are formed from
patronymics, such as _Walsingham_ "the home of the Walsings,"
_Harlington_ "the town of the Harlings," etc.,[5] we have unimpeachable
evidence of a time when the town was regarded as the dwelling-place of a
clan. Indeed, the comparative rarity of the word _mark_ in English laws,
charters, and local names (to which Professor Stubbs alludes) may be due
to the fact that the word _town_ has precisely the same meaning. _Mark_
means originally the belt of waste land encircling the village, and
secondarily the village with its periphery. _Town_ means originally a
hedge or enclosure, and secondarily the spot that is enclosed: the
modern German _zaun_, a "hedge," preserves the original meaning. But
traces of the mark in England are not found in etymology alone. I have
already alluded to the origin of the "common" in English towns. What is
still more important is that in some parts of England cultivation in
common has continued until quite recently. The local legislation of the
mark appears in the _tunscipesmot_,--a word which is simply Old-English
for "town-meeting." In the shires where the Danes acquired a firm
foothold, the township was often called a "by"; and it had the power of
enacting its own "by-laws" or town-laws, as New England townships have
to-day. But above all, the assembly of the markmen has left vestiges of
itself in the constitution of the parish and the manor. The mark or
township, transformed by the process of feudalization, becomes the
manor. The process of feudalization, throughout western Europe in
general, was no doubt begun by the institution of Benefices, or "grants
of Roman provincial land by the chieftains of the" Teutonic "tribes
which overran the Roman Empire; such grants being conferred on their
associates upon certain conditions, of which the commonest was military
service." [6] The feudal régime naturally reached its most complete
development in France, which affords the most perfect example of a Roman
territory overrun and permanently held in possession by Teutonic
conquerors. Other causes assisted the process, the most potent perhaps
being the chaotic condition of European society during the break-up of
the Carolingian Empire and the Scandinavian and Hungarian invasions.
Land was better protected when held of a powerful chieftain than when
held in one's own right; and hence the practice of commendation, by
which free allodial proprietors were transformed into the tenants of a
lord, became fashionable and was gradually extended to all kinds of
estates. In England the effects of feudalization were different from
what they were in France, but the process was still carried very far,
especially under the Norman kings. The theory grew up that all the
public land in the kingdom was the king's waste, and that all
landholders were the king's tenants. Similarly in every township the
common land was the lord's waste and the landholders were the lord's
tenants. Thus the township became transformed into the manor. Yet even
by such a change as this the townsmen or tenants of the manor did not in
England lose their self-government. "The encroachments of the lord," as
Sir Henry Maine observes, "were in proportion to the want of certainty
in the rights of the community." The lord's proprietorship gave him no
authority to disturb customary rights. The old township-assembly
partially survived in the Court Baron, Court Leet, and Customary Court
of the Manor; and in these courts the arrangements for the common
husbandry were determined.

This metamorphosis of the township into the manor, however, was but
partial: along with it went the partial metamorphosis of the township
into the parish, or district assigned to a priest. Professor Stubbs has
pointed out that "the boundaries of the parish and the township or
townships with which it coincides are generally the same: in small
parishes the idea and even the name of township is frequently, at the
present day, sunk in that of the parish; and all the business that is
not manorial is despatched in vestry-meetings, which are however
primarily meetings of the township for church purposes." [7] The parish
officers, including overseers of the poor, assessors, and way-wardens,
are still elected in vestry-meeting by the freemen of the township. And
while the jurisdiction of the manorial courts has been defined by
charter, or by the customary law existing at the time of the manorial
grant, "all matters arising outside that jurisdiction come under the
management of the vestry."

In England, therefore, the free village-community, though perhaps
nowhere found in its primitive integrity, has nevertheless survived in
partially transfigured forms which have played no unimportant part in
the history of the English people. In one shape or another the assembly
of freemen for purposes of local legislation has always existed. The
Puritans who colonized New England, therefore, did not invent the
town-meeting. They were familiar already with the proceedings of the
vestry-meeting and the manorial courts, but they were severed now from
church and from aristocracy. So they had but to discard the
ecclesiastical and lordly terminology, with such limitations as they
involved, and to reintegrate the separate jurisdictions into one,--and
forthwith the old assembly of the township, founded in immemorial
tradition, but revivified by new thoughts and purposes gained through
ages of political training, emerged into fresh life and entered upon a
more glorious career.

It is not to an audience which speaks the English language that I need
to argue the point that the preservation of local self-government is of
the highest importance for the maintenance of a rich and powerful
national life. As we contemplate the vicissitudes of local
self-government in the various portions of the Aryan world, we see the
contrasted fortunes of France and England illustrating for us most
forcibly the significance of this truth. For the preservation of local
self-government in England various causes may be assigned; but of these
there are two which may be cited as especially prominent. In the first
place, owing to the peculiar circumstances of the Teutonic settlement of
Britain, the civilization of England previous to the Norman Conquest was
but little affected by Roman ideas or institutions. In the second place
the thrusting down of the old thegnhood by the Norman Conquest (to which
I have already alluded) checked the growth of a _noblesse_ or _adel_ of
the continental type,--a nobility raised above the common people like a
separate caste. For the old thegnhood, which might have grown into such
a caste, was pushed down into a secondary position, and the peerage
which arose after the Conquest was something different from a
_noblesse_. It was primarily a nobility of office rather than of rank or
privilege. The peers were those men who retained the right of summons to
the Great Council, or Witenagemote, which has survived as the House of
Lords. The peer was therefore the holder of a legislative and judicial
office, which only one of his children could inherit, from the very
nature of the case, and which none of his children could share with him.
Hence the brothers and younger children of a peer were always commoners,
and their interests were not remotely separated from those of other
commoners. Hence after the establishment of a House of Commons, their
best chance for a political career lay in representing the interests of
the people in the lower house. Hence between the upper and lower strata
of English society there has always been kept up a circulation or
interchange of ideas and interests, and the effect of this upon English
history has been prodigious. While on the continent a sovereign like
Charles the Bold could use his nobility to extinguish the liberties of
the merchant towns of Flanders, nothing of the sort was ever possible in
England. Throughout the Middle Ages, in every contest between the people
and the crown, the weight of the peerage was thrown into the scale in
favour of popular liberties. But for this peculiar position of the
peerage we might have had no Earl Simon; it is largely through it that
representative government and local liberties have been preserved to the
English race.

In France the course of events has brought about very different results.
I shall defer to my next lecture the consideration of the vicissitudes
of local self-government under the Roman Empire, because that point is
really incident upon the study of the formation of vast national
aggregates. Suffice it now to say that when the Teutons overcame Gaul,
they became rulers over a population which had been subjected for five
centuries to that slow but mighty process of trituration which the
Empire everywhere brought to bear upon local self-government. While the
Teutons in Britain, moreover, enslaved their slightly romanized subjects
and gave little heed to their language, religion, or customs; the
Teutons in Gaul, on the other hand, quickly adopted the language and
religion of their intensely romanized subjects and acquired to some
extent their way of looking at things. Hence in the early history of
France there was no such stubborn mass of old Aryan liberties to be
dealt with as in the early history of England. Nor was there any
powerful middle class distributed through the country to defend such
liberties as existed. Beneath the turbulent throng of Teutonic nobles,
among whom the king was only the most exalted and not always the
strongest, there lay the Gallo-Roman population which had so long been
accustomed to be ruled without representation by a distant government
exercising its authority through innumerable prefects. Such Teutonic
rank and file as there was became absorbed into this population; and
except in sundry chartered towns there was nothing like a social stratum
interposed between the nobles and the common people.

The slow conversion of the feudal monarchy of the early Capetians into
the absolute despotism of Louis XIV. was accomplished by the king
gradually _conquering_ his vassals one after another, and adding their
domains to his own. As one vassal territory after another was added to
the royal domain, the king sent prefects, responsible only to himself,
to administer its local affairs, sedulously crushing out, so far as
possible, the last vestiges of self-government. The nobles, deprived of
their provincial rule, in great part flocked to Paris to become idle
courtiers. The means for carrying on the gigantic machinery of
centralized administration, and for supporting the court in its follies,
were wrung from the groaning peasantry with a cynical indifference like
that with which tribute is extorted by barbaric chieftains from a
conquered enemy. And thus came about that abominable state of things
which a century since was abruptly ended by one of the fiercest
convulsions of modern times. The prodigious superiority--in respect to
national vitality--of a freely governed country over one that is
governed by a centralized despotism, is nowhere more brilliantly
illustrated than in the contrasted fortunes of France and England as
_colonizing_ nations. When we consider the declared rivalry between
France and England in their plans for colonizing the barbarous regions
of the earth, when we consider that the military power of the two
countries has been not far from equal, and that France has at times
shown herself a maritime power by no means to be despised, it seems to
me that her overwhelming and irretrievable defeat by England in the
struggle for colonial empire is one of the most striking and one of the
most instructive facts in all modern history. In my lectures of last
year (at University College) I showed that, in the struggle for the
possession of North America, where the victory of England was so
decisive as to settle the question for all coming time, the causes of
the French failure are very plainly to be seen. The French colony in
Canada was one of the most complete examples of a despotic government
that the world has ever seen. All the autocratic and bureaucratic ideas
of Louis XIV. were here carried out without let or hindrance. It would
be incredible, were it not attested by such abundant evidence, that the
affairs of any people could be subjected to such minute and sleepless
supervision as were the affairs of the French colonists in Canada. A man
could not even build his own house, or rear his own cattle, or sow his
own seed, or reap his own grain, save under the supervision of prefects
acting under instructions from the home government. No one was allowed
to enter or leave the colony without permission, not from the colonists
but from the king. No farmer could visit Montreal or Quebec without
permission. No Huguenot could set his foot on Canadian soil. No public
meetings of any kind were tolerated, nor were there any means of giving
expression to one's opinions on any subject. The details of all this,
which may be read in Mr. Parkman's admirable work on "The Old Regime in
Canada," make a wonderful chapter of history. Never was a colony,
moreover, so loaded with bounties, so fostered, petted, and protected.
The result was absolute paralysis, political and social. When after a
century of irritation and skirmishing the French in Canada came to a
life-and-death struggle with the self-governing colonists of New
England, New York, and Virginia, the result for the French power in
America was instant and irretrievable annihilation. The town-meeting
pitted against the bureaucracy was like a Titan overthrowing a cripple.
The historic lesson owes its value to the fact that this ruin of the
French scheme of colonial empire was due to no accidental circumstances,
but was involved in the very nature of the French political system.
Obviously it is impossible for a people to plant beyond sea a colony
which shall be self-supporting, unless it has retained intact the power
of self-government at home. It is to the self-government of England, and
to no lesser cause, that we are to look for the secret of that boundless
vitality which has given to men of English speech the uttermost parts of
the earth for an inheritance. The conquest of Canada first demonstrated
this truth, and when--in the two following lectures--we shall have made
some approach towards comprehending its full import, we shall all, I
think, be ready to admit that the triumph of Wolfe marks the greatest
turning-point as yet discernible in modern history.



The great history of Thukydides, which after twenty-three centuries
still ranks (in spite of Mr. Cobden) among our chief text-books of
political wisdom, has often seemed to me one of the most mournful books
in the world. At no other spot on the earth's surface, and at no other
time in the career of mankind, has the human intellect flowered with
such luxuriance as at Athens during the eighty-five years which
intervened between the victory of Marathon and the defeat of
Ægospotamos. In no other like interval of time, and in no other
community of like dimensions, has so much work been accomplished of
which we can say with truth that it is [Greek: ktaema es aei],--an
eternal possession. It is impossible to conceive of a day so distant, or
an era of culture so exalted, that the lessons taught by Athens shall
cease to be of value, or that the writings of her great thinkers shall
cease to be read with fresh profit and delight. We understand these
things far better to-day than did those monsters of erudition in the
sixteenth century who studied the classics for philological purposes
mainly. Indeed, the older the world grows, the more varied our
experience of practical politics, the more comprehensive our survey of
universal history, the stronger our grasp upon the comparative method of
inquiry, the more brilliant is the light thrown upon that brief day of
Athenian greatness, and the more wonderful and admirable does it all
seem. To see this glorious community overthrown, shorn of half its
virtue (to use the Homeric phrase), and thrust down into an inferior
position in the world, is a mournful spectacle indeed. And the book
which sets before us, so impartially yet so eloquently, the innumerable
petty misunderstandings and contemptible jealousies which brought about
this direful result, is one of the most mournful of books.

We may console ourselves, however, for the premature overthrow of the
power of Athens, by the reflection that that power rested upon political
conditions which could not in any case have been permanent or even
long-enduring. The entire political system of ancient Greece, based as
it was upon the idea of the sovereign independence of each single city,
was one which could not fail sooner or later to exhaust itself through
chronic anarchy. The only remedy lay either in some kind of permanent
federation, combined with representative government; or else in what we
might call "incorporation and assimilation," after the Roman fashion.
But the incorporation of one town with another, though effected with
brilliant results in the early history of Attika, involved such a
disturbance of all the associations which in the Greek mind clustered
about the conception of a city that it was quite impracticable on any
large or general scale. Schemes of federal union were put into
operation, though too late to be of avail against the assaults of
Macedonia and Rome. But as for the principle of representation, that
seems to have been an invention of the Teutonic mind; no statesman of
antiquity, either in Greece or at Rome, seems to have conceived the idea
of a city sending delegates armed with plenary powers to represent its
interests in a general legislative assembly. To the Greek statesmen, no
doubt, this too would have seemed derogatory to the dignity of the
sovereign city.

This feeling with which the ancient Greek statesmen, and to some extent
the Romans also, regarded the city, has become almost incomprehensible
to the modern mind, so far removed are we from the political
circumstances which made such a feeling possible. Teutonic
civilization, indeed, has never passed through a stage in which the
foremost position has been held by civic communities. Teutonic
civilization passed directly from the stage of tribal into that of
national organization, before any Teutonic city had acquired sufficient
importance to have claimed autonomy for itself; and at the time when
Teutonic nationalities were forming, moreover, all the cities in Europe
had so long been accustomed to recognize a master outside of them in the
person of the Roman emperor that the very tradition of civic autonomy,
as it existed in ancient Greece, had become extinct. This difference
between the political basis of Teutonic and of Græco-Roman civilization
is one of which it would be difficult to exaggerate the importance; and
when thoroughly understood it goes farther, perhaps, than anything else
towards accounting for the successive failures of the Greek and Roman
political systems, and towards inspiring us with confidence in the
future stability of the political system which has been wrought out by
the genius of the English race.

We saw, in the preceding lecture, how the most primitive form of
political association known to have existed is that of the _clan_, or
group of families held together by ties of descent from a common
ancestor. We saw how the change from a nomadic to a stationary mode of
life, attendant upon the adoption of agricultural pursuits, converted
the clan into a _mark_ or village-community, something like those which
exist to-day in Russia. The political progress of primitive society
seems to have consisted largely in the coalescence of these small groups
into larger groups. The first series of compound groups resulting from
the coalescence of adjacent marks is that which was known in nearly all
Teutonic lands as the _hundred_, in Athens as the [Greek: _phratria_] or
_brotherhood_, in Rome as the _curia_. Yet alongside of the Roman group
called the _curia_ there is a group whose name, the _century_, exactly
translates the name of the Teutonic group; and, as Mr. Freeman says, it
is difficult to believe that the Roman _century_ did not at the outset
in some way correspond to the Teutonic _hundred_ as a stage in political
organization. But both these terms, as we know them in history, are
survivals from some prehistoric state of things; and whether they were
originally applied to a hundred of houses, or of families, or of
warriors, we do not know.[8] M. Geffroy, in his interesting essay on the
Germania of Tacitus, suggests that the term _canton_ may have a similar
origin.[9] The outlines of these primitive groups are, however, more
obscure than those of the more primitive mark, because in most cases
they have been either crossed and effaced or at any rate diminished in
importance by the more highly compounded groups which came next in order
of formation. Next above the _hundred_, in order of composition, comes
the group known in ancient Italy as the_pagus_, in Attika perhaps as the
_deme_, in Germany and at first in England as the _gau_ or _ga_, at a
later date in England as the _shire_. Whatever its name, this group
answers to the _tribe_ regarded as settled upon a certain determinate
territory. Just as in the earlier nomadic life the aggregation of clans
makes ultimately the tribe, so in the more advanced agricultural life of
our Aryan ancestors the aggregation of marks or village-communities
makes ultimately the _gau_ or _shire_. Properly speaking, the name
_shire_ is descriptive of division and not of aggregation; but this term
came into use in England after the historic order of formation had been
forgotten, and when the _shire_ was looked upon as a _piece_ of some
larger whole, such as the kingdom of Mercia or Wessex. Historically,
however, the _shire_ was not made, like the _departments_ of modern
France, by the division of the kingdom for administrative purposes, but
the kingdom was made by the union of shires that were previously
autonomous. In the primitive process of aggregation, the _shire_ or
_gau_, governed by its _witenagemote_ or "meeting of wise men," and by
its chief magistrate who was called _ealdorman_ in time of peace and
_heretoga_, "army-leader," _dux_, or _duke_, in time of war,--the
_shire_, I say, in this form, is the largest and most complex political
body we find previous to the formation of kingdoms and nations. But in
saying this, we have already passed beyond the point at which we can
include in the same general formula the process of political development
in Teutonic countries on the one hand and in Greece and Rome on the
other. Up as far as the formation of the tribe, territorially regarded,
the parallelism is preserved; but at this point there begins an
all-important divergence. In the looser and more diffused society of the
rural Teutons, the tribe is spread over a shire, and the aggregation of
shires makes a kingdom, embracing cities, towns, and rural districts
held together by similar bonds of relationship to the central governing
power. But in the society of the old Greeks and Italians, the
aggregation of tribes, crowded together on fortified hill-tops, makes
the _Ancient City_,--a very different thing, indeed, from the modern
city of later-Roman or Teutonic foundation. Let us consider, for a
moment, the difference.

Sir Henry Maine tells us that in Hindustan nearly all the great towns
and cities have arisen either from the simple expansion or from the
expansion and coalescence of primitive village-communities; and such as
have not arisen in this way, including some of the greatest of Indian
cities, have grown up about the intrenched camps of the Mogul
emperors.[10] The case has been just the same in modern Europe. Some
famous cities of England and Germany--such as Chester and Lincoln,
Strasburg and Maintz,--grew up about the camps of the Roman legions. But
in general the Teutonic city has been formed by the expansion and
coalescence of thickly-peopled townships and hundreds. In the United
States nearly all cities have come from the growth and expansion of
villages, with such occasional cases of coalescence as that of Boston
with Roxbury and Charlestown. Now and then a city has been laid out as a
city _ab initio_, with full consciousness of its purpose, as a man would
build a house; and this was the case not merely with Martin Chuzzlewit's
"Eden," but with the city of Washington, the seat of our federal
government. But, to go back to the early ages of England--the country
which best exhibits the normal development of Teutonic institutions--the
point which I wish especially to emphasize is this: _in no case does the
city appear as equivalent to the dwelling-place of a tribe or of a
confederation of tribes_. In no case does citizenship, or burghership,
appear to rest upon the basis of a real or assumed community of descent
from a single real or mythical progenitor. In the primitive mark, as we
have seen, the bond which kept the community together and constituted it
a political unit was the bond of blood-relationship, real or assumed;
but this was not the case with the city or borough. The city did not
correspond with the tribe, as the mark corresponded with the clan. The
aggregation of clans into tribes corresponded with the aggregation of
marks, not into _cities_ but into _shires_. The multitude of compound
political units, by the further compounding of which a nation was to be
formed, did not consist of cities but of shires. The city was simply a
point in the shire distinguished by greater density of population. The
relations sustained by the thinly-peopled rural townships and hundreds
to the general government of the shire were co-ordinate with the
relations sustained to the same government by those thickly-peopled
townships and hundreds which upon their coalescence were known as cities
or boroughs. Of course I am speaking now in a broad and general way, and
without reference to such special privileges or immunities as cities and
boroughs frequently obtained by royal charter in feudal times. Such
special privileges--as for instance the exemption of boroughs from the
ordinary sessions of the county court, under Henry I.[11]--were in their
nature grants from an external source, and were in nowise inherent in
the position or mode of origin of the Teutonic city. And they were,
moreover, posterior in date to that embryonic period of national growth
of which I am now speaking. They do not affect in any way the
correctness of my general statement, which is sufficiently illustrated
by the fact that the oldest shire-motes, or county-assemblies, were
attended by representatives from all the townships and hundreds in the
shire, whether such townships and hundreds formed parts of boroughs
or not.

Very different from this was the embryonic growth of political society
in ancient Greece and Italy. There the aggregation of clans into tribes
and confederations of tribes resulted directly, as we have seen, in the
City. There burghership, with its political and social rights and
duties, had its theoretical basis in descent from a common ancestor, or
from a small group of closely-related common ancestors. The group of
fellow-citizens was associated through its related groups of ancestral
household-deities, and through religious rites performed in common to
which it would have been sacrilege to have admitted a stranger. Thus the
Ancient City was a religious as well as a political body, and in either
character it was complete in itself and it was sovereign. Thus in
ancient Greece and Italy the primitive clan-assembly or township-meeting
did not grow by aggregation into the assembly of the shire, but it
developed into the _comitia_ or _ecclesia_ of the city. The chief
magistrate was not the _ealdorman_ of early English history, but the
_rex_ or _basileus_ who combined in himself the functions of king,
general, and priest. Thus, too, there was a severance, politically,
between city and country such as the Teutonic world has never known. The
rural districts surrounding a city might be subject to it, but could
neither share its franchise nor claim a co-ordinate franchise with it.
Athens, indeed, at an early period, went so far as to incorporate with
itself Eleusis and Marathon and the other rural towns of Attika. In this
one respect Athens transgressed the bounds of ancient civic
organization, and no doubt it gained greatly in power thereby. But
generally in the Hellenic world the rural population in the
neighbourhood of a great city were mere [Greek: _perioikoi_], or
"dwellers in the vicinity"; the inhabitants of the city who had moved
thither from some other city, both they and their descendants, were mere
[Greek: metoikoi], or "dwellers in the place"; and neither the one class
nor the other could acquire the rights and privileges of citizenship. A
revolution, indeed, went on at Athens, from the time of Solon to the
time of Kleisthenes, which essentially modified the old tribal divisions
and admitted to the franchise all such families resident from time
immemorial as did not belong to the tribes of eupatrids by whom the city
was founded. But this change once accomplished, the civic exclusiveness
of Athens remained very much what it was before. The popular assembly
was enlarged, and public harmony was secured; but Athenian burghership
still remained a privilege which could not be acquired by the native of
any other city. Similar revolutions, with a similarly limited purpose
and result, occurred at Sparta, Elis, and other Greek cities. At Rome,
by a like revolution, the plebeians of the Capitoline and Aventine
acquired parallel rights of citizenship with the patricians of the
original city on the Palatine; but this revolution, as we shall
presently see, had different results, leading ultimately to the
overthrow of the city-system throughout the ancient world.

The deep-seated difference between the Teutonic political system based
on the shire and the Græco-Roman system based on the city is now, I
think, sufficiently apparent. Now from this fundamental difference have
come two consequences of enormous importance,--consequences of which it
is hardly too much to say that, taken together, they furnish the key to
the whole history of European civilization as regarded purely from a
political point of view.

The first of these consequences had no doubt a very humble origin in the
mere difference between the shire and the city in territorial extent and
in density of population. When people live near together it is easy for
them to attend a town-meeting, and the assembly by which public business
is transacted is likely to remain a _primary assembly_, in the true
sense of the term. But when people are dispersed over a wide tract of
country, the primary assembly inevitably shrinks up into an assembly of
such persons as can best afford the time and trouble of attending it, or
who have the strongest interest in going, or are most likely to be
listened to after they get there. Distance and difficulty, and in early
times danger too, keep many people away. And though a shire is not a
wide tract of country for most purposes, and according to modern ideas,
it was nevertheless quite wide enough in former times to bring about the
result I have mentioned. In the times before the Norman conquest, if not
before the completed union of England under Edgar, the shire-mote or
county assembly, though in theory still a folk-mote or primary assembly,
had shrunk into what was virtually a witenagemote or assembly of the
most important persons in the county. But the several townships, in
order to keep their fair share of control over county affairs, and not
wishing to leave the matter to chance, sent to the meetings each its
_representatives_ in the persons of the town-reeve and four "discreet
men." I believe it has not been determined at what precise time this
step was taken, but it no doubt long antedates the Norman conquest. It
is mentioned by Professor Stubbs as being already, in the reign of Henry
III., a custom of immemorial antiquity.[12] It was one of the greatest
steps ever taken in the political history of mankind. In these four
discreet men we have the forerunners of the two burghers from each town
who were summoned by Earl Simon to the famous parliament of 1265, as
well as of the two knights from each shire whom the king had summoned
eleven years before. In these four discreet men sent to speak for their
township in the old county assembly, we have the germ of institutions
that have ripened into the House of Commons and into the legislatures of
modern kingdoms and republics. In the system of representation thus
inaugurated lay the future possibility of such gigantic political
aggregates as the United States of America.

In the ancient city, on the other hand, the extreme compactness of the
political structure made representation unnecessary and prevented it
from being thought of in circumstances where it might have proved of
immense value. In an aristocratic Greek city, like Sparta, all the
members of the ruling class met together and voted in the assembly; in a
democratic city, like Athens, all the free citizens met and voted; in
each case the assembly was primary and not representative. The only
exception, in all Greek antiquity, is one which emphatically proves the
rule. The Amphiktyonic Council, an institution of prehistoric origin,
concerned mainly with religious affairs pertaining to the worship of the
Delphic Apollo, furnished a precedent for a representative, and indeed
for a federal, assembly. Delegates from various Greek tribes and cities
attended it. The fact that with such a suggestive precedent before their
eyes the Greeks never once hit upon the device of representation, even
in their attempts at framing federal unions, shows how thoroughly their
whole political training had operated to exclude such a conception from
their minds.

The second great consequence of the Graeco-Roman city-system was linked
in many ways with this absence of the representative principle. In
Greece the formation of political aggregates higher and more extensive
than the city was, until a late date, rendered impossible. The good and
bad sides of this peculiar phase of civilization have been often enough
commented on by historians. On the one hand the democratic assembly of
such an imperial city as Athens furnished a school of political training
superior to anything else that the world has ever seen. It was something
like what the New England town-meeting would be if it were continually
required to adjust complicated questions of international polity, if it
were carried on in the very centre or point of confluence of all
contemporary streams of culture, and if it were in the habit every few
days of listening to statesmen and orators like Hamilton or Webster,
jurists like Marshall, generals like Sherman, poets like Lowell,
historians like Parkman. Nothing in all history has approached the
high-wrought intensity and brilliancy of the political life of Athens.

On the other hand, the smallness of the independent city, as a political
aggregate, made it of little or no use in diminishing the liability to
perpetual warfare which is the curse of all primitive communities. In a
group of independent cities, such as made up the Hellenic world, the
tendency to warfare is almost as strong, and the occasions for warfare
are almost as frequent, as in a congeries of mutually hostile tribes of
barbarians. There is something almost lurid in the sharpness of contrast
with which the wonderful height of humanity attained by Hellas is set
off against the fierce barbarism which characterized the relations of
its cities to one another. It may be laid down as a general rule that in
an early state of society, where the political aggregations are small,
warfare is universal and cruel. From the intensity of the jealousies and
rivalries between adjacent self-governing groups of men, nothing short
of chronic warfare can result, until some principle of union is evolved
by which disputes can be settled in accordance with general principles
admitted by all. Among peoples that have never risen above the tribal
stage of aggregation, such as the American Indians, war is the normal
condition of things, and there is nothing fit to be called
_peace_,--there are only truces of brief and uncertain duration. Were it
not for this there would be somewhat less to be said in favour of great
states and kingdoms. As modern life grows more and more complicated and
interdependent, the Great State subserves innumerable useful purposes;
but in the history of civilization its first service, both in order of
time and in order of importance, consists in the diminution of the
quantity of warfare and in the narrowing of its sphere. For within the
territorial limits of any great and permanent state, the tendency is for
warfare to become the exception and peace the rule. In this direction
the political careers of the Greek cities assisted the progress of
civilization but little.

Under the conditions of Graeco-Roman civic life there were but two
practicable methods of forming a great state and diminishing the
quantity of warfare. The one method was _conquest with incorporation_,
the other method was _federation_. Either one city might conquer all
the others and endow their citizens with its own franchise, or all the
cities might give up part of their sovereignty to a federal body which
should have power to keep the peace, and should represent the civilized
world of the time in its relations with outlying barbaric peoples. Of
these two methods, obviously the latter is much the more effective, but
it presupposes for its successful adoption a higher general state of
civilization than the former. Neither method was adopted by the Greeks
in their day of greatness. The Spartan method of extending its power was
conquest without incorporation: when Sparta conquered another Greek
city, she sent a _harmost_ to govern it like a tyrant; in other words
she virtually enslaved the subject city. The efforts of Athens tended
more in the direction of a peaceful federalism. In the great Delian
confederacy which developed into the maritime empire of Athens, the
Ægean cities were treated as allies rather than subjects. As regards
their local affairs they were in no way interfered with, and could they
have been represented in some kind of a federal council at Athens, the
course of Grecian history might have been wonderfully altered. As it
was, they were all deprived of one essential element of
sovereignty,--the power of controlling their own military forces. Some
of them, as Chios and Mitylene, furnished troops at the demand of
Athens; others maintained no troops, but paid a fixed tribute to Athens
in return for her protection. In either case they felt shorn of part of
their dignity, though otherwise they had nothing to complain of; and
during the Peloponnesian war Athens had to reckon with their tendency to
revolt as well as with her Dorian enemies. Such a confederation was
naturally doomed to speedy overthrow.

In the century following the death of Alexander, in the closing age of
Hellenic independence, the federal idea appears in a much more advanced
stage of elaboration, though in a part of Greece which had been held of
little account in the great days of Athens and Sparta. Between the
Achaian federation, framed in 274 B.C., and the United States of
America, there are some interesting points of resemblance which have
been elaborately discussed by Mr. Freeman, in his "History of Federal
Government." About the same time the Aetolian League came into
prominence in the north. Both these leagues were instances of true
federal government, and were not mere confederations; that is, the
central government acted directly upon all the citizens and not merely
upon the local governments. Each of these leagues had for its chief
executive officer a General elected for one year, with powers similar to
those of an American President. In each the supreme assembly was a
primary assembly at which every citizen from every city of the league
had a right to be present, to speak, and to vote; but as a natural
consequence these assemblies shrank into comparatively aristocratic
bodies. In Ætolia, which was a group of mountain cantons similar to
Switzerland, the federal union was more complete than in Achaia, which
was a group of cities. In Achaia cases occurred in which a single city
was allowed to deal separately with foreign powers. Here, as in earlier
Greek history, the instinct of autonomy was too powerful to admit of
complete federation. Yet the career of the Achaian League was not an
inglorious one. For nearly a century and a half it gave the Peloponnesos
a larger measure of orderly government than the country had ever known
before, without infringing upon local liberties. It defied successfully
the threats and assaults of Macedonia, and yielded at last only to the
all-conquering might of Rome.

Thus in so far as Greece contributed anything towards the formation of
great and pacific political aggregates, she did it through attempts at
_federation_. But in so low a state of political development as that
which prevailed throughout the Mediterranean world in pre-Christian
times, the more barbarous method of _conquest with incorporation_ was
more likely to be successful on a great scale. This was well illustrated
in the history of Rome,--a civic community of the same generic type with
Sparta and Athens, but presenting specific differences of the highest
importance. The beginnings of Rome, unfortunately, are prehistoric. I
have often thought that if some beneficent fairy could grant us the
power of somewhere raising the veil of oblivion which enshrouds the
earliest ages of Aryan dominion in Europe, there is no place from which
the historian should be more glad to see it lifted than from Rome in the
centuries which saw the formation of the city, and which preceded the
expulsion of the kings. Even the legends, which were uncritically
accepted from the days of Livy to those of our grandfathers, are
provokingly silent upon the very points as to which we would fain get at
least a hint. This much is plain, however, that in the embryonic stage
of the Roman commonwealth some obscure processes of fusion or
commingling went on. The tribal population of Rome was more
heterogeneous than that of the great cities of Greece, and its earliest
municipal religion seems to have been an assemblage of various tribal
religions that had points of contact with other tribal religions
throughout large portions of the Græco-Italic world. As M. de Coulanges
observes,[13] Rome was almost the only city of antiquity which was not
kept apart from other cities by its religion. There was hardly a people
in Greece or Italy which it was restrained from admitting to
participation in its municipal rites.

However this may have been, it is certain that Rome early succeeded in
freeing itself from that insuperable prejudice which elsewhere prevented
the ancient city from admitting aliens to a share in its franchise. And
in this victory over primeval political ideas lay the whole secret of
Rome's mighty career. The victory was not indeed completed until after
the terrible Social War of B.C. 90, but it was begun at least four
centuries earlier with the admission of the plebeians. At the
consummation of the conquest of Italy in B.C. 270 Roman burghership
already extended, in varying degrees of completeness, through the
greater part of Etruria and Campania, from the coast to the mountains;
while all the rest of Italy was admitted to privileges for which ancient
history had elsewhere furnished no precedent. Hence the invasion of
Hannibal half a century later, even with its stupendous victories of
Thrasymene and Cannae, effected nothing toward detaching the Italian
subjects from their allegiance to Rome; and herein we have a most
instructive contrast to the conduct of the communities subject to Athens
at several critical moments of the Peloponnesian War. With this
consolidation of Italy, thus triumphantly demonstrated, the whole
problem of the conquering career of Rome was solved. All that came
afterwards was simply a corollary from this. The concentration of all
the fighting power of the peninsula into the hands of the ruling city
formed a stronger political aggregate than anything the world had as yet
seen. It was not only proof against the efforts of the greatest military
genius of antiquity, but whenever it was brought into conflict with the
looser organizations of Greece, Africa, and Asia, or with the
semi-barbarous tribes of Spain and Gaul, the result of the struggle was
virtually predetermined. The universal dominion of Rome was inevitable,
so soon as the political union of Italy had been accomplished. Among the
Romans themselves there were those who thoroughly understood this point,
as we may see from the interesting speech of the emperor Claudius in
favour of admitting Gauls to the senate.

The benefits conferred upon the world by the, universal dominion of Rome
were of quite inestimable value. First of these benefits, and (as it
were) the material basis of the others, was the prolonged peace that was
enforced throughout large portions of the world where chronic warfare
had hitherto prevailed. The _pax romana_ has perhaps been sometimes
depicted in exaggerated colours; but as compared with all that had
preceded, and with all that followed, down to the beginning of the
nineteenth century, it deserved the encomiums it has received. The
second benefit was the mingling and mutual destruction of the primitive
tribal and municipal religions, thus clearing the way for
Christianity,--a step which, regarded from a purely political point of
view, was of immense importance for the further consolidation of society
in Europe. The third benefit was the development of the Roman law into a
great body of legal precepts and principles leavened throughout with
ethical principles of universal applicability, and the gradual
substitution of this Roman law for the innumerable local usages of
ancient communities. Thus arose the idea of a common Christendom, of a
brotherhood of peoples associated both by common beliefs regarding the
unseen world and by common principles of action in the daily affairs of
life. The common ethical and traditional basis thus established for the
future development of the great nationalities of Europe is the most
fundamental characteristic distinguishing modern from ancient history.

While, however, it secured these benefits for mankind for all time to
come, the Roman political system in itself was one which could not
possibly endure. That extension of the franchise which made Rome's
conquests possible, was, after all, the extension of a franchise which
could only be practically enjoyed within the walls of the imperial city
itself. From first to last the device of representation was never
thought of, and from first to last the Roman _comitia_ remained a
primary assembly. The result was that, as the burgherhood enlarged, the
assembly became a huge mob as little fitted for the transaction of
public business as a town-meeting of all the inhabitants of New York
would be. The functions which in Athens were performed by the assembly
were accordingly in Rome performed largely by the aristocratic senate;
and for the conflicts consequently arising between the senatorial and
the popular parties it was difficult to find any adequate constitutional
check. Outside of Italy, moreover, in the absence of a representative
system, the Roman government was a despotism which, whether more or less
oppressive, could in the nature of things be nothing else than a
despotism. But nothing is more dangerous for a free people than the
attempt to govern a dependent people despotically. The bad government
kills out the good government as surely as slave-labour destroys
free-labour, or as a debased currency drives out a sound currency. The
existence of proconsuls in the provinces, with great armies at their
beck and call, brought about such results as might have been predicted,
as soon as the growing anarchy at home furnished a valid excuse for
armed interference. In the case of the Roman world, however, the result
is not to be deplored, for it simply substituted a government that was
practicable under the circumstances for one that had become demonstrably

As regards the provinces the change from senatorial to imperial
government at Rome was a great gain, inasmuch as it substituted an
orderly and responsible administration for irregular and irresponsible
extortion. For a long time, too, it was no part of the imperial policy
to interfere with local customs and privileges. But, in the absence of a
representative system, the centralizing tendency inseparable from the
position of such a government proved to be irresistible. And the
strength of this centralizing tendency was further enhanced by the
military character of the government which was necessitated by perpetual
frontier warfare against the barbarians. As year after year went by, the
provincial towns and cities were governed less and less by their local
magistrates, more and more by prefects responsible to the emperor only.
There were other co-operating causes, economical and social, for the
decline of the empire; but this change alone, which was consummated by
the time of Diocletian, was quite enough to burn out the candle of Roman
strength at both ends. With the decrease in the power of the local
governments came an increase in the burdens of taxation and conscription
that were laid upon them.[14] And as "the dislocation of commerce and
industry caused by the barbarian inroads, and the increasing demands of
the central administration for the payment of its countless officials
and the maintenance of its troops, all went together," the load at last
became greater "than human nature could endure." By the time of the
great invasions of the fifth century, local political life had gone far
towards extinction throughout Roman Europe, and the tribal organization
of the Teutons prevailed in the struggle simply because it had come to
be politically stronger than any organization that was left to
oppose it.

We have now seen how the two great political systems that were founded
upon the Ancient City both ended in failure, though both achieved
enormous and lasting results. And we have seen how largely both these
political failures were due to the absence of the principle of
representation from the public life of Greece and Rome. The chief
problem of civilization, from the political point of view, has always
been how to secure concerted action among men on a great scale without
sacrificing local independence. The ancient history of Europe shows that
it is not possible to solve this problem without the aid of the
principle of representation. Greece, until overcome by external force,
sacredly maintained local self-government, but in securing permanent
concert of action it was conspicuously unsuccessful. Rome secured
concert of action on a gigantic scale, and transformed the thousand
unconnected tribes and cities it conquered into an organized European
world, but in doing this it went far towards extinguishing local
self-government. The advent of the Teutons upon the scene seems
therefore to have been necessary, if only to supply the indispensable
element without which the dilemma of civilization could not be
surmounted. The turbulence of Europe during the Teutonic migrations was
so great and so long continued, that on a superficial view one might be
excused for regarding the good work of Rome as largely undone. And in
the feudal isolation of effort and apparent incapacity for combined
action which characterized the different parts of Europe after the
downfall of the Carolingian empire, it might well have seemed that
political society had reverted towards a primitive type of structure. In
truth, however, the retrogradation was much slighter than appeared on
the surface. Feudalism itself, with its curious net-work of fealties and
obligations running through the fabric of society in every direction,
was by no means purely disintegrative in its tendencies. The mutual
relations of rival baronies were by no means like those of rival clans
or tribes in pre-Roman days. The central power of Rome, though no longer
exerted politically through curators and prefects, was no less effective
in the potent hands of the clergy and in the traditions of the imperial
jurisprudence by which the legal ideas of mediaeval society were so
strongly coloured. So powerful, indeed, was this twofold influence of
Rome, that in the later Middle Ages, when the modern nationalities had
fairly taken shape, it was the capacity for local self-government--in
spite of all the Teutonic reinforcement it had had--that had suffered
much more than the capacity for national consolidation. Among the great
modern nations it was only England--which in its political development
had remained more independent of the Roman law and the Roman church than
even the Teutonic fatherland itself--it was only England that came out
of the mediæval crucible with its Teutonic self-government substantially
intact. On the main-land only two little spots, at the two extremities
of the old Teutonic world, had fared equally well. At the mouth of the
Rhine the little Dutch communities were prepared to lead the attack in
the terrible battle for freedom with which the drama of modern history
was ushered in. In the impregnable mountain fastnesses of upper Germany
the Swiss cantons had bid defiance alike to Austrian tyrant and to
Burgundian invader, and had preserved in its purest form the rustic
democracy of their Aryan forefathers. By a curious coincidence, both
these free peoples, in their efforts towards national unity, were led to
frame federal unions, and one of these political achievements is, from
the stand-point of universal history, of very great significance. The
old League of High Germany, which earned immortal renown at Morgarten
and Sempach, consisted of German-speaking cantons only. But in the
fifteenth century the League won by force of arms a small bit of Italian
territory about Lake Lugano, and in the sixteenth the powerful city of
Bern annexed the Burgundian bishopric of Lausanne and rescued the free
city of Geneva from the clutches of the Duke of Savoy. Other Burgundian
possessions of Savoy were seized by the canton of Freiburg; and after
awhile all these subjects and allies were admitted on equal terms into
the confederation. The result is that modern Switzerland is made up of
what might seem to be most discordant and unmanageable elements. Four
languages--German, French, Italian, and Rhaetian--are spoken within the
limits of the confederacy; and in point of religion the cantons are
sharply divided as Catholic and Protestant. Yet in spite of all this,
Switzerland is as thoroughly united in feeling as any nation in Europe.
To the German-speaking Catholic of Altdorf the German Catholics of
Bavaria are foreigners, while the French-speaking Protestants of Geneva
are fellow-countrymen. Deeper down even than these deep-seated
differences of speech and creed lies the feeling that comes from the
common possession of a political freedom that is greater than that
possessed by surrounding peoples. Such has been the happy outcome of the
first attempt at federal union made by men of Teutonic descent. Complete
independence in local affairs, when combined with adequate
representation in the federal council, has effected such an intense
cohesion of interests throughout the nation as no centralized
government, however cunningly devised, could ever have secured.

Until the nineteenth century, however, the federal form of government
had given no clear indication of its capacity for holding together great
bodies of men, spread over vast territorial areas, in orderly and
peaceful relations with one another. The empire of Trajan and Marcus
Aurelius still remained the greatest known example of political
aggregation; and men who argued from simple historic precedent without
that power of analyzing precedents which the comparative method has
supplied, came not unnaturally to the conclusions that great political
aggregates have an inherent tendency towards breaking up, and that great
political aggregates cannot be maintained except by a strongly-
centralized administration and at the sacrifice of local self-
government. A century ago the very idea of a stable federation of forty
powerful states, covering a territory nearly equal in area to the whole
of Europe, carried on by a republican government elected by universal
suffrage, and guaranteeing to every tiniest village its full meed of
local independence,--the very idea of all this would have been scouted
as a thoroughly impracticable Utopian dream. And such scepticism would
have been quite justifiable, for European history did not seem to afford
any precedents upon which such a forecast of the future could be
logically based. Between the various nations of Europe there has
certainly always existed an element of political community, bequeathed
by the Roman empire, manifested during the Middle Ages in a common
relationship to the Church, and in modern times in a common adherence to
certain uncodified rules of international law, more or less im perfectly
defined and enforced. Between England and Spain, for example, or between
France and Austria, there has never been such utter political severance
as existed normally between Greece and Persia, or Rome and Carthage. But
this community of political inheritance in Europe, it is needless to
say, falls very far short of the degree of community implied in a
federal union; and so great is the diversity of language and of creed,
and of local historic development with the deep-seated prejudices
attendant thereupon, that the formation of a European federation could
hardly be looked for except as the result of mighty though quiet and
subtle influences operating for a long time from without. From what
direction, and in what manner, such an irresistible though perfectly
pacific pressure is likely to be exerted in the future, I shall
endeavour to show in my next lecture. At present we have to observe that
the experiment of federal union on a grand scale required as its
conditions, _first_, a vast extent of unoccupied country which could be
settled without much warfare by men of the same race and speech, and
_secondly_, on the part of the settlers, a rich inheritance of political
training such as is afforded by long ages of self-government. The
Atlantic coast of North America, easily accessible to Europe, yet remote
enough to be freed from the political complications of the old world,
furnished the first of these conditions: the history of the English
people through fifty generations furnished the second. It was through
English self-government, as I argued in my first lecture, that England
alone, among the great nations of Europe, was able to found durable and
self-supporting colonies. I have now to add that it was only England,
among all the great nations of Europe, that could send forth colonists
capable of dealing successfully with the difficult problem of forming
such a political aggregate as the United States have become. For
obviously the preservation of local self-government is essential to the
very idea of a federal union. Without the Town-Meeting, or its
equivalent in some form or other, the Federal Union would become _ipso
facto_ converted into a centralizing imperial government. Should
anything of this sort ever happen--should American towns ever come to be
ruled by prefects appointed at Washington, and should American States
ever become like the administrative departments of France, or even like
the counties of England at the present day--then the time will have come
when men may safely predict the break-up of the American political
system by reason of its overgrown dimensions and the diversity of
interests between its parts. States so unlike one another as Maine and
Louisiana and California cannot be held together by the stiff bonds of a
centralizing government. The durableness of the federal union lies in
its flexibility, and it is this flexibility which makes it the only kind
of government, according to modern ideas, that is permanently applicable
to a whole continent. If ¸the United States were to-day a consolidated
republic like France, recent events in California might have disturbed
the peace of the country. But in the federal union, if California, as a
state sovereign within its own sphere, adopts a grotesque constitution
that aims at infringing on the rights of capitalists, the other states
are not directly affected. They may disapprove, but they have neither
the right nor the desire to interfere. Meanwhile the laws of nature
quietly operate to repair the blunder. Capital flows away from
California, and the business of the state is damaged, until presently
the ignorant demagogues lose favour, the silly constitution becomes a
dead-letter, and its formal repeal begins to be talked of. Not the
smallest ripple of excitement disturbs the profound peace of the country
at large. It is in this complete independence that is preserved by every
state, in all matters save those in which the federal principle itself
is concerned, that we find the surest guaranty of the permanence of the
American political system. Obviously no race of men, save the race to
which habits of self-government and the skilful use of political
representation had come to be as second nature, could ever have
succeeded in founding such a system.

Yet even by men of English race, working with out let or hindrance from
any foreign source, and with the better part of a continent at their
disposal for a field to work in, so great a political problem as that of
the American Union has not been solved without much toil and trouble.
The great puzzle of civilization--how to secure permanent concert of
action without sacrificing independence of action--is a puzzle which has
taxed the ingenuity of Americans as well as of older Aryan peoples. In
the year 1788 when our Federal Union was completed, the problem had
already occupied the minds of American statesmen for a century and a
half,--that is to say, ever since the English settlement of
Massachusetts. In 1643 a New England confederation was formed between
Massachusetts and Connecticut, together with Plymouth since merged in
Massachusetts and New Haven since merged in Connecticut. The
confederation was formed for defence against the French in Canada, the
Dutch on the Hudson river, and the Indians. But owing simply to the
inequality in the sizes of these colonies--Massachusetts more than
outweighing the other three combined--the practical working of this
confederacy was never very successful. In 1754, just before the outbreak
of the great war which drove the French from America, a general Congress
of the colonies was held at Albany, and a comprehensive scheme of union
was proposed by Benjamin Franklin, but nothing came of the project at
that time. The commercial rivalry between the colonies, and their
disputes over boundary lines, were then quite like the similar phenomena
with which Europe had so long been familiar. In 1756 Georgia and South
Carolina actually came to blows over the navigation of the Savannah
river. The idea that the thirteen colonies could ever overcome their
mutual jealousies so far as to unite in a single political body, was
received at that time in England with a derision like that which a
proposal for a permanent federation of European States would excite in
many minds to-day. It was confidently predicted that if the common
allegiance to the British crown were once withdrawn, the colonies would
forthwith proceed to destroy themselves with internecine war. In fact,
however, it was the shaking off of allegiance to the British crown, and
the common trials and sufferings of the war of independence, that at
last welded the colonies together and made a federal union possible. As
it was, the union was consummated only by degrees. By the Articles of
Confederation, agreed on by Congress in 1777 but not adopted by all the
States until 1781, the federal government acted only upon the several
state governments and not directly upon individuals; there was no
federal judiciary for the decision of constitutional questions arising
out of the relations between the states; and the Congress was not
provided with any efficient means of raising a revenue or of enforcing
its legislative decrees. Under such a government the difficulty of
insuring concerted action was so great that, but for the transcendent
personal qualities of Washington, the bungling mismanagement of the
British ministry, and the timely aid of the French fleet, the war of
independence would most likely have ended in failure. After the
independence of the colonies was acknowledged, the formation of a more
perfect union was seen to be the only method of securing peace and
making a nation which should be respected by foreign powers; and so in
1788, after much discussion, the present Constitution of the United
States was adopted,--a constitution which satisfied very few people at
the time, and which was from beginning to end a series of compromises,
yet which has proved in its working a masterpiece of political wisdom.

The first great compromise answered to the initial difficulty of
securing approximate equality of weight in the federal councils between
states of unequal size. The simple device by which this difficulty was
at last surmounted has proved effectual, although the inequalities
between the states have greatly increased. To-day the population of New
York is more than eighty times that of Nevada. In area the state of
Rhode Island is smaller than Montenegro, while the state of Texas is
larger than the Austrian empire with Bavaria and Würtemberg thrown in.
Yet New York and Nevada, Rhode Island and Texas, each send two senators
to Washington, while on the other hand in the lower house each state has
a number of representatives proportioned to its population. The upper
house of Congress is therefore a federal while the lower house is a
national body, and the government is brought into direct contact with
the people without endangering the equal rights of the several states.

The second great compromise of the American constitution consists in the
series of arrangements by which sovereignty is divided between the
states and the federal government. In all domestic legislation and
jurisdiction, civil and criminal, in all matters relating to tenure of
property, marriage and divorce, the fulfilment of contracts and the
punishment of malefactors, each separate state is as completely a
sovereign state as France or Great Britain. In speaking to a British
audience a concrete illustration may not be superfluous. If a criminal
is condemned to death in Pennsylvania, the royal prerogative of pardon
resides in the Governor of Pennsylvania: the President of the United
States has no more authority in the case than the Czar of Russia. Nor in
civil cases can an appeal lie from the state courts to the Supreme Court
of the United States, save where express provision has been made in the
Constitution. Within its own sphere the state is supreme. The chief
attributes of sovereignty with which the several states have parted are
the coining of money, the carrying of mails, the imposition of tariff
dues, the granting of patents and copyrights, the declaration of war,
and the maintenance of a navy. The regular army is supported and
controlled by the federal government, but each state maintains its own
militia which it is bound to use in case of internal disturbance before
calling upon the central government for aid. In time of war, however,
these militias come under the control of the central government. Thus
every American citizen lives under two governments, the functions of
which are clearly and intelligibly distinct.

To insure the stability of the federal union thus formed, the
Constitution created a "system of United States courts extending
throughout the states, empowered to define the boundaries of federal
authority, and to enforce its decisions by federal power." This
omnipresent federal judiciary was undoubtedly the most important
creation of the statesmen who framed the Constitution. The closely-knit
relations which it established between the states contributed powerfully
to the growth of a feeling of national solidarity throughout the whole
country. The United States today cling together with a coherency far
greater than the coherency of any ordinary federation or league. Yet the
primary aspect of the federal Constitution was undoubtedly that of a
permanent league, in which each state, while retaining its domestic
sovereignty intact, renounced forever its right to make war upon its
neighbours and relegated its international interests to the care of a
central council in which all the states were alike represented and a
central tribunal endowed with purely judicial functions of
interpretation. It was the first attempt in the history of the world, to
apply on a grand scale to the relations between states the same legal
methods of procedure which, as long applied in all civilized countries
to the relations between individuals, have rendered private warfare
obsolete. And it was so far successful that, during a period of
seventy-two years in which the United States increased fourfold in
extent, tenfold in population, and more than tenfold in wealth and
power, the federal union maintained a state of peace more profound than
the _pax romana._

Twenty years ago this unexampled state of peace was suddenly interrupted
by a tremendous war, which in its results, however, has served only to
bring out with fresh emphasis the pacific implications of federalism.
With the eleven revolted states at first completely conquered and then
reinstated with full rights and privileges in the federal union, with
their people accepting in good faith the results of the contest, with
their leaders not executed as traitors but admitted again to seats in
Congress and in the Cabinet, and with all this accomplished without any
violent constitutional changes,--I think we may fairly claim that the
strength of the pacific implications of federalism has been more
strikingly demonstrated than if there had been no war at all. Certainly
the world never beheld such a spectacle before. In my next and
concluding lecture I shall return to this point while summing up the
argument and illustrating the part played by the English race in the
general history of civilization.



Among the legends of our late Civil War there is a story of a
dinner-party given by the Americans residing in Paris, at which were
propounded sundry toasts concerning not so much the past and present as
the expected glories of the great American nation. In the general
character of these toasts geographical considerations were very
prominent, and the principal fact which seemed to occupy the minds of
the speakers was the unprecedented _bigness_ of our country. "Here's to
the United States," said the first speaker, "bounded on the north by
British America, on the south by the Gulf of Mexico, on the east by the
Atlantic, and on the west by the Pacific, Ocean." "But," said the second
speaker, "this is far too limited a view of the subject: in assigning
our boundaries we must look to the great and glorious future which is
prescribed for us by the Manifest Destiny of the Anglo-Saxon Race.
Here's to the United States,--bounded on the north by the North Pole,
on the south by the South Pole, on the east by the rising and on the
west by the setting sun." Emphatic applause greeted this aspiring
prophecy. But here arose the third speaker--a very serious gentleman
from the Far West. "If we are going," said this truly patriotic
American, "to leave the historic past and present, and take our manifest
destiny into the account, why restrict ourselves within the narrow
limits assigned by our fellow-countryman who has just sat down? I give
you the United States,--bounded on the north by the Aurora Borealis, on
the south by the precession of the equinoxes, on the east by the
primeval chaos, and on the west by the Day of Judgment!"

I offer this anecdote at the outset by way of self-defence, inasmuch as
I shall by and by have myself to introduce some considerations
concerning the future of our country, and of what some people, without
the fear of Mr. Freeman before their eyes, call the "Anglo-Saxon" race;
and if it should happen to strike you that my calculations are
unreasonably large, I hope you will remember that they are quite modest
after all, when compared with some others.

The "manifest destiny" of the "Anglo-Saxon" race and the huge dimensions
of our country are favourite topics with Fourth-of-July orators, but
they are none the less interesting on that account when considered from
the point of view of the historian. To be a citizen of a great and
growing state, or to belong to one of the dominant races of the world,
is no doubt a legitimate source of patriotic pride, though there is
perhaps an equal justification for such a feeling in being a citizen of
a tiny state like Holland, which, in spite of its small dimensions, has
nevertheless achieved so much,--fighting at one time the battle of
freedom for the world, producing statesmen like William and Barneveldt,
generals like Maurice, scholars like Erasmus and Grotius, and thinkers
like Spinoza, and taking the lead even to-day in the study of
Christianity and in the interpretation of the Bible. But my course in
the present lecture is determined by historical or philosophical rather
than by patriotic interest, and I shall endeavour to characterize and
group events as impartially as if my home were at Leyden in the Old
World instead of Cambridge in the New.

First of all, I shall take sides with Mr. Freeman in eschewing
altogether the word "Anglo-Saxon." The term is sufficiently absurd and
misleading as applied in England to the Old-English speech of our
forefathers, or to that portion of English history which is included
between the fifth and the eleventh centuries. But in America it is
frequently used, not indeed by scholars, but by popular writers and
speakers, in a still more loose and slovenly way. In the war of
independence our great-great-grandfathers, not yet having ceased to
think of themselves as Englishmen, used to distinguish themselves as
"Continentals," while the king's troops were known as the "British." The
quaint term "Continental" long ago fell into disuse, except in the slang
phrase "not worth a Continental" which referred to the debased condition
of our currency at the close of the Revolutionary War; but "American"
and "British" might still serve the purpose sufficiently whenever it is
necessary to distinguish between the two great English nationalities.
The term "English," however, is so often used with sole reference to
people and things in England as to have become in some measure
antithetical to "American;" and when it is found desirable to include
the two in a general expression, one often hears in America the term
"Anglo-Saxon" colloquially employed for this purpose. A more slovenly
use of language can hardly be imagined. Such a compound term as
"Anglo-American" might perhaps be logically defensible, but that has
already become restricted to the English-descended inhabitants of the
United States and Canada alone, in distinction from Spanish Americans
and red Indians. It is never so used as to include Englishmen.
Refraining from all such barbarisms, I prefer to call the English race
by the name which it has always applied to itself, from the time when it
inhabited the little district of Angeln on the Baltic coast of Sleswick
down to the time when it had begun to spread itself over three great
continents. It is a race which has shown a rare capacity for absorbing
slightly foreign elements and moulding them into conformity with a
political type that was first wrought out through centuries of effort on
British soil; and this capacity it has shown perhaps in a heightened
degree in the peculiar circumstances in which it has been placed in
America. The American has absorbed considerable quantities of closely
kindred European blood, but he is rapidly assimilating it all, and in
his political habits and aptitudes he remains as thoroughly English as
his forefathers in the days of De Montfort, or Hampden, or Washington.
Premising this, we may go on to consider some aspects of the work which
the English race has done and is doing in the world, and we need not
feel discouraged if, in order to do justice to the subject, we have to
take our start far back in ancient history. We shall begin, it may be
said, somewhere near the primeval chaos, and though we shall indeed
stop short of the day of judgment, we shall hope at all events to reach
the millennium.

Our eloquent friends of the Paris dinner-party seem to have been
strongly impressed with the excellence of enormous political aggregates.
We, too, approaching the subject from a different point of view, have
been led to see how desirable it is that self-governing groups of men
should be enabled to work together in permanent harmony and on a great
scale. In this kind of political integration the work of civilization
very largely consists. We have seen how in its most primitive form
political society is made up of small self-governing groups that are
perpetually at war with one another. Now the process of change which we
call civilization means quite a number of things. But there is no doubt
that on its political side it means primarily the gradual substitution
of a state of peace for a state of war. This change is the condition
precedent for all the other kinds of improvement that are connoted by
such a term as "civilization." Manifestly the development of industry is
largely dependent upon the cessation or restriction of warfare; and
furthermore, as the industrial phase of civilization slowly supplants
the military phase, men's characters undergo, though very slowly, a
corresponding change. Men become less inclined to destroy life or to
inflict pain; or--to use the popular terminology which happens here to
coincide precisely with that of the Doctrine of Evolution--they become
less _brutal_ and more _humane_. Obviously then the prime feature of the
process called civilization is the general diminution of warfare. But we
have seen that a general diminution of warfare is rendered possible only
by the union of small political groups into larger groups that are kept
together by community of interests, and that can adjust their mutual
relations by legal discussion without coming to blows. In the preceding
lecture we considered this process of political integration as variously
exemplified by communities of Hellenic, of Roman, and of Teutonic race,
and we saw how manifold were the difficulties which the process had to
encounter. We saw how the Teutons--at least in Switzerland, England, and
America--had succeeded best through the retention of local
self-government combined with central representation. We saw how the
Romans failed of ultimate success because by weakening self-government
they weakened that community of interest which is essential to the
permanence of a great political aggregate. We saw how the Greeks, after
passing through their most glorious period in a state of chronic
warfare, had begun to achieve considerable success in forming a pacific
federation when their independent career was suddenly cut short by the
Roman conqueror.

This last example introduces us to a fresh consideration, of very great
importance. It is not only that every progressive community has had to
solve, in one way or another, the problem of securing permanent concert
of action without sacrificing local independence of action; but while
engaged in this difficult work the community has had to defend itself
against the attacks of other communities. In the case just cited, of the
conquest of Greece by Rome, little harm was done perhaps. But under
different circumstances immense damage may have been done in this way,
and the nearer we go to the beginnings of civilization the greater the
danger. At the dawn of history we see a few brilliant points of
civilization surrounded on every side by a midnight blackness of
barbarism. In order that the pacific community may be able to go on
doing its work, it must be strong enough and warlike enough to overcome
its barbaric neighbours who have no notion whatever of keeping peace.
This is another of the seeming paradoxes of the history of
civilization, that for a very long time the possibility of peace can be
guaranteed only through war. Obviously the permanent peace of the world
can be secured only through the gradual concentration of the
preponderant military strength into the hands of the most pacific
communities. With infinite toil and trouble this point has been slowly
gained by mankind, through the circumstance that the very same political
aggregation of small primitive communities which makes them less
disposed to quarrel among themselves tends also to make them more than a
match for the less coherent groups of their more barbarous neighbours.
The same concert of action which tends towards internal harmony tends
also towards external victory, and both ends are promoted by the
co-operation of the same sets of causes. But for a long time all the
political problems of the civilized world were complicated by the fact
that the community had to fight for its life. We seldom stop to reflect
upon the imminent danger from outside attacks, whether from surrounding
barbarism or from neighbouring civilizations of lower type, amid which
the rich and high-toned civilizations of Greece and Rome were developed.
When the king of Persia undertook to reduce Greece to the condition of a
Persian satrapy, there was imminent danger that all the enormous
fruition of Greek thought in the intellectual life of the European world
might have been nipped in the bud. And who can tell how often, in
prehistoric times, some little gleam of civilization, less bright and
steady than this one had become, may have been quenched in slavery or
massacre? The greatest work which the Romans performed in the world was
to assume the aggressive against menacing barbarism, to subdue it, to
tame it, and to enlist its brute force on the side of law and order.
This was a murderous work, and in doing it the Romans became excessively
cruel, but it had to be done by some one before you could expect to have
great and peaceful civilizations like our own. The warfare of Rome is by
no means adequately explained by the theory of a deliberate immoral
policy of aggression,--"infernal," I believe, is the stronger adjective
which Dr. Draper uses. The aggressive wars of Rome were largely dictated
by just such considerations as those which a century ago made it
necessary for the English to put down the raids of the Scotch
Highlanders, and which have since made it necessary for Russia to subdue
the Caucasus. It is not easy for a turbulent community to live next to
an orderly one without continually stirring up frontier disturbances
which call for stern repression from the orderly community. Such
considerations go far towards explaining the military history of the
Romans, and it is a history with which, on the whole, we ought to
sympathize. In its European relations that history is the history of the
moving of the civilized frontier northward and eastward against the
disastrous encroachments of barbarous peoples. This great movement has,
on the whole, been steadily kept up, in spite of some apparent
fluctuation in the fifth and sixth centuries of the Christian era, and
it is still going on to-day. It was a great gain for civilization when
the Romans overcame the Keltiberians of Spain, and taught them good
manners and the Latin language, and made it for their interest hereafter
to fight against barbarians. The third European peninsula was thus won
over to the side of law and order. Danger now remained on the north. The
Gauls had once sacked the city of Rome; hordes of Teutons had lately
menaced the very heart of civilization, but had been overthrown in
murderous combat by Caius Marius; another great Teutonic movement, led
by Ariovistus, now threatened to precipitate the whole barbaric force of
south-eastern Gaul upon the civilized world; and so it occurred to the
prescient genius of Caesar to be beforehand and conquer Gaul, and
enlist all its giant barbaric force on the side of civilization. This
great work was as thoroughly done as anything that was ever done in
human history, and we ought to be thankful to Caesar for it every day
that we live. The frontier to be defended against barbarism was now
moved away up to the Rhine, and was very much shortened; but above all,
the Gauls were made to feel themselves to be Romans. Their country
became one of the chief strongholds of civilization and of Christianity;
and when the frightful shock of barbarism came--the most formidable blow
that has ever been directed by barbaric brute force against European
civilization--it was in Gaul that it was repelled and that its force was
spent. At the beginning of the fifth century an enormous horde of yellow
Mongolians, known as Huns, poured down into Europe with avowed intent to
burn and destroy all the good work which Rome had wrought in the world;
and terrible was the havoc they effected in the course of fifty years.
If Attila had carried his point, it has been thought that the work of
European civilization might have had to be begun over again. But near
Chálons-on-the-Marne, in the year 451, in one of the most obstinate
struggles of which history preserves the record, the career of the
"Scourge of God" was arrested, and mainly by the prowess of Gauls and of
Visigoths whom the genius of Rome had tamed. That was the last day on
which barbarism was able to contend with civilization on equal terms. It
was no doubt a critical day for all future history; and for its
favourable issue we must largely thank the policy adopted by Caesar five
centuries before. By the end of the eighth century the great power of
the Franks had become enlisted in behalf of law and order, and the Roman
throne was occupied by a Frank,--the ablest man who had appeared in the
world since Caesar's death; and one of the worthiest achievements of
Charles the Great was the conquest and conversion of pagan Germany,
which threw the frontier against barbarism eastward as far as the Oder,
and made it so much the easier to defend Europe. In the thirteenth
century this frontier was permanently carried forward to the Vistula by
the Teutonic Knights who, under commission from the emperor Frederick
II., overcame the heathen Prussians and Lithuanians; and now it began to
be shown how greatly the military strength of Europe had increased. In
this same century Batu, the grandson of Jinghis Khan, came down into
Europe with a horde of more than a million Mongols, and tried to repeat
the experiment of Attila. Batu penetrated as far as Silesia, and won a
great battle at Liegnitz in 1241, but in spite of his victory he had to
desist from the task of conquering Europe. Since the fifth century the
physical power of the civilized world had grown immensely; and the
impetus of this barbaric invasion was mainly spent upon Russia, the
growth of which it succeeded in retarding for more than two centuries.
Finally since the sixteenth century we have seen the Russians, redeemed
from their Mongolian oppressors, and rich in many of the elements of a
vigorous national life,--we have seen the Russians resume the aggressive
in this conflict of ages, beginning to do for Central Asia in some sort
what the Romans did for Europe. The frontier against barbarism, which
Cæsar left at the Rhine, has been carried eastward to the Volga, and is
now advancing even to the Oxus. The question has sometimes been raised
whether it would be possible for European civilization to be seriously
threatened by any future invasion of barbarism or of some lower type of
civilization. By barbarism certainly not: all the nomad strength of
Mongolian Asia would throw itself in vain against the insuperable
barrier constituted by Russia. But I have heard it quite seriously
suggested that if some future Attila or Jinghis were to wield as a unit
the entire military strength of the four hundred millions of Chinese,
possessed with some suddenly-conceived idea of conquering the world,
even as Omar and Abderrahman wielded as a unit the newly-welded power of
the Saracens in the seventh and eighth centuries, then perhaps a
staggering blow might yet be dealt against European civilization. I will
not waste precious time in considering this imaginary case, further than
to remark that if the Chinese are ever going to try anything of this
sort, they cannot afford to wait very long; for within another century,
as we shall presently see, their very numbers will be surpassed by those
of the English race alone. By that time all the elements of military
predominance on the earth, including that of simple numerical
superiority, will have been gathered into the hands not merely of men of
European descent in general, but more specifically into the hands of the
offspring of the Teutonic tribes who conquered Britain in the fifth
century. So far as the relations of civilization with barbarism are
concerned to-day, the only serious question is by what process of
modification the barbarous races are to maintain their foothold upon the
earth at all. While once such people threatened the very continuance of
civilization, they now exist only on sufferance.

In this brief survey of the advancing frontier of European
civilization, I have said nothing about the danger that has from time to
time been threatened by the followers of Mohammed,--of the overthrow of
the Saracens in Gaul by the grandfather of Charles the Great, or their
overthrow at Constantinople by the image-breaking Leo, of the great
mediæval Crusades, or of the mischievous but futile career of the Turks.
For if I were to attempt to draw this outline with anything like
completeness, I should have no room left for the conclusion of my
argument. Considering my position thus far as sufficiently illustrated,
let us go on to contemplate for a moment some of the effects of all this
secular turmoil upon the political development of the progressive
nations of Europe. I think we may safely lay it down, as a large and
general rule, that all this prodigious warfare required to free the
civilized world from peril of barbarian attack served greatly to
increase the difficulty of solving the great initial problem of
civilization. In the first place, the turbulence thus arising was a
serious obstacle to the formation of closely-coherent political
aggregates; as we see exemplified in the terrible convulsions of the
fifth and sixth centuries, and again in the ascendency acquired by the
isolating features of feudalism between the time of Charles the Great
and the time of Louis VI. of France. In the second place, this
perpetual turbulence was a serious obstacle to the preservation of
popular liberties. It is a very difficult thing for a free people to
maintain its free, constitution if it has to keep perpetually fighting
for its life. The "one-man-power." less fit for, carrying on the
peaceful pursuits of life, is sure to be brought into the foreground in
a state of endless warfare. It is a still more difficult thing for a
free people to maintain its free constitution when it undertakes to
govern a dependent people despotically, as has been wont to happen when
a portion of the barbaric world has been overcome and annexed to the
civilized world. Under the weight, of these two difficulties combined,
the free institutions of the ancient Romans succumbed, and their
government gradually passed into the hands of a kind of close
corporation more despotic than anything else of the sort that Europe has
ever seen. This despotic character--this tendency, if you will pardon
the phrase, towards the _Asiaticization_ of European life--was continued
by inheritance in the Roman Church, the influence of which was
beneficent so long as it constituted a wholesome check to the isolating
tendencies of feudalism, but began to become noxious the moment these
tendencies yielded to the centralizing monarchical tendency in nearly
all parts of Europe. The asiaticizing tendency of Roman political life
had become so powerful by the fourth century, and has since been so
powerfully propagated through the Church, that we ought to be glad that
the Teutons came into the empire as masters rather than as subjects. As
the Germanic tribes got possession of the government in one part of
Europe after another, they brought with them free institutions again.
The political ideas of the Goths in Spain, of the Lombards in Italy, and
of the Franks and Burgundians in Gaul, were as distinctly free as those
of the Angles in Britain. But as the outcome of the long and
uninterrupted turmoil of the Middle Ages, society throughout the
continent of Europe remained predominantly military in type, and this
fact greatly increased the tendency towards despotism which was
bequeathed by Rome. After the close of the thirteenth century the whole
power of the Church was finally thrown into the scale against the
liberties of the people; and as the result of all these forces combined,
we find that at the time when America was discovered government was
hardening into despotism in all the great countries of Europe except
England. Even in England the tendency towards despotism had begun to
become quite conspicuous after the wholesale slaughter of the great
barons and the confiscation of their estates which took place in the
Wars of the Roses. The constitutional history of England during the
Tudor and Stuart periods is mainly the history of the persistent effort
of the English sovereign to free himself from constitutional checks, as
his brother sovereigns on the continent were doing. But how different
the result! How enormous the political difference between William III.
and Louis XIV., compared with the difference between Henry VIII. and
Francis I.! The close of the seventeenth century, which marks the
culmination of the asiaticizing tendency in Europe, saw despotism both
political and religious firmly established in France and Spain and
Italy, and in half of Germany; while the rest of Germany seemed to have
exhausted itself in the attempt to throw off the incubus. But in England
this same epoch saw freedom both political and religious established on
so firm a foundation as never again to be shaken, never again with
impunity to be threatened, so long as the language of Locke and Milton
and Sydney shall remain a living speech on the lips of men. Now this
wonderful difference between the career of popular liberty in England
and on the Continent was due no doubt to a complicated variety of
causes, one or two of which I have already sought to point out. In my
first lecture I alluded to the curious combination of circumstances
which prevented anything like a severance of interests between the upper
and the lower ranks of society; and something was also said about the
feebleness of the grasp of imperial Rome upon Britain compared with its
grasp upon the continent of Europe. But what I wish now to point
out--since we are looking at the military aspect of the subject--is the
enormous advantage of what we may call the _strategic position_ of
England in the long mediæval struggle between civilization and
barbarism. In Professor Stubbs's admirable collection of charters and
documents illustrative of English history, we read that "on the 6th of
July [1264] the whole force of the country was summoned to London for
the 3d of August, to resist the army which was coming from France under
the queen and her son Edmund. _The invading fleet was prevented by the
weather from sailing until too late in the season_.... The papal legate,
Guy Foulquois, who soon after became Clement IV., threatened the barons
with excommunication, but the bull containing the sentence was taken by
the men of Dover as soon as it arrived, and was thrown into the
sea." [15] As I read this, I think of the sturdy men of Connecticut,
beating the drum to prevent the reading of the royal order of James II.
depriving the colony of the control of its own militia, and feel with
pride that the indomitable spirit of English liberty is alike
indomitable in every land where men of English race have set their feet
as masters. But as the success of Americans in withstanding the
unconstitutional pretensions of the crown was greatly favoured by the
barrier of the ocean, so the success of Englishmen in defying the
enemies of their freedom has no doubt been greatly favoured by the
barrier of the British channel. The war between Henry III. and the
barons was an event in English history no less critical than the war
between Charles I. and the parliament four centuries later; and British
and Americans alike have every reason to be thankful that a great French
army was not able to get across the channel in August, 1264. Nor was
this the only time when the insular position of England did goodly
service in maintaining its liberties and its internal peace. We cannot
forget how Lord Howard of Effingham, aided also by the weather, defeated
the armada that boasted itself "invincible," sent to strangle freedom in
its chosen home by the most execrable and ruthless tyrant that Europe
has ever seen, a tyrant whose victory would have meant not simply the
usurpation of the English crown but the establishment of the Spanish
Inquisition at Westminster Hall. Nor can we forget with what longing
eyes the Corsican barbarian who wielded for mischief the forces of
France in 1805 looked across from Boulogne at the shores of the one
European land that never in word or deed granted him homage. But in
these latter days England has had no need of stormy weather to aid the
prowess of the sea-kings who are her natural defenders. It is impossible
for the thoughtful student of history to walk across Trafalgar Square,
and gaze on the image of the mightiest naval hero that ever lived, on
the summit of his lofty column and guarded by the royal lions, looking
down towards the government-house of the land that he freed from the
dread of Napoleonic invasion and towards that ancient church wherein the
most sacred memories of English talent and English toil are clustered
together,--it is impossible, I say, to look at this, and not admire both
the artistic instinct that devised so happy a symbolism, and the rare
good-fortune of our Teutonic ancestors in securing a territorial
position so readily defensible against the assaults of despotic powers.
But it was not merely in the simple facility of warding off external
attack that the insular position of England was so serviceable. This
ease in warding off external attack had its most marked effect upon the
internal polity of the nation. It never became necessary for the English
government to keep up a great standing army. For purposes of external
defence a navy was all-sufficient; and there is this practical
difference between a permanent army and a permanent navy. Both are
originally designed for purposes of external defence; but the one can
readily be used for purposes of internal oppression, and the other
cannot. Nobody ever heard of a navy putting up an empire at auction and
knocking down the throne of the world to a Didius Julianus. When,
therefore, a country is effectually screened by water from external
attack, it is screened in a way that permits its normal political
development to go on internally without those manifold military
hinderances that have ordinarily been so obstructive in the history of
civilization. Hence we not only see why, after the Norman Conquest had
operated to increase its unity and its strength, England enjoyed a far
greater amount of security and was far more peaceful than any other
country in Europe; but we also see why society never assumed the
military type in England which it assumed upon the continent; we see how
it was that the bonds of feudalism were far looser here than elsewhere,
and therefore how it happened that nowhere else was the condition of the
common people so good politically. We now begin to see, moreover, how
thoroughly Professor Stubbs and Mr. Freeman are justified in insisting
upon the fact that the political institutions of the Germans of Tacitus
have had a more normal and uninterrupted development in England than
anywhere else. Nowhere, indeed, in the whole history of the human race,
can we point to such a well-rounded and unbroken continuity of political
life as we find in the thousand years of English history that have
elapsed since the victory of William the Norman at Senlac. In England
the free government of the primitive Aryans has been to this day
uninterruptedly maintained, though everywhere lost or seriously impaired
on the continent of Europe, except in remote Scandinavia and impregnable
Switzerland. But obviously, if in the conflict of ages between
civilization and barbarism England had occupied such an inferior
strategic position as that occupied by Hungary or Poland or Spain, if
her territory had been liable once or twice in a century to be overrun
by fanatical Saracens or beastly Mongols, no such remarkable and quite
exceptional result could have been achieved. Having duly fathomed the
significance of this strategic position of the English race while
confined within the limits of the British islands, we are now prepared
to consider the significance of the stupendous expansion of the English
race which first became possible through the discovery and settlement of
North America. I said, at the close of my first lecture, that the
victory of Wolfe at Quebec marks the greatest turning-point as yet
discernible in all modern history. At the first blush such an
unqualified statement may have sounded as if an American student of
history were inclined to attach an undue value to events that have
happened upon his own soil. After the survey of universal history which
we have now taken, however, I am fully prepared to show that the
conquest of the North American continent by men of English race was
unquestionably the most prodigious event in the political annals of man
kind. Let us consider, for a moment, the cardinal facts which this
English conquest and settlement of North America involved.

Chronologically the discovery of America coincides precisely with the
close of the Middle Ages, and with the opening of the drama of what is
called _modern_ history. The coincidence is in many ways significant.
The close of the Middle Ages--as we have seen--was characterized by the
increasing power of the crown in all the great countries of Europe, and
by strong symptoms of popular restlessness in view of this increasing
power. It was characterized also by the great Protestant outbreak
against the despotic pretensions of the Church, which once, in its
antagonism to the rival temporal power, had befriended the liberties of
the people, but now (especially since the death of Boniface VIII.)
sought to enthrall them with a tyranny far worse than that of
irresponsible king or emperor. As we have seen Aryan civilization in
Europe struggling for many centuries to prove itself superior to the
assaults of outer barbarism, so here we find a decisive struggle
beginning between the antagonist tendencies which had grown up in the
midst of this civilization. Having at length won the privilege of living
without risk of slaughter and pillage at the hands of Saracens or
Mongols, the question now arose whether the people of Europe should go
on and apply their intelligence freely to the problem of making life as
rich and fruitful as possible in varied material and spiritual
achievement, or should fall forever into the barren and monotonous way
of living and thinking which has always distinguished the half-civilized
populations of Asia. This--and nothing less than this, I think--was the
practical political question really at stake in the sixteenth century
between Protestantism and Catholicism. Holland and England entered the
lists in behalf of the one solution of this question, while Spain and
the Pope defended the other, and the issue was fought out on European
soil, as we have seen, with varying success. But the discovery of
America now came to open up an enormous region in which whatever seed of
civilization should be planted was sure to grow to such enormous
dimensions as by and by to exert a controlling influence upon all such
controversies. It was for Spain, France, and England to contend for the
possession of this vast region, and to prove by the result of the
struggle which kind of civilization was endowed with the higher and
sturdier political life. The race which here should gain the victory was
clearly destined hereafter to take the lead in the world, though the
rival powers could not in those days fully appreciate this fact. They
who founded colonies in America as trading-stations or military outposts
probably did not foresee that these colonies must by and by become
imperial states far greater in physical mass than the states which
planted them. It is not likely that they were philosophers enough to
foresee that this prodigious physical development would mean that the
political ideas of the parent state should acquire a hundred-fold power
and seminal influence in the future work of the world. It was not until
the American Resolution that this began to be dimly realized by a few
prescient thinkers. It is by no means so fully realized even now that a
clear and thorough-going statement of it has not somewhat an air of
novelty. When the highly-civilized community, representing the ripest
political ideas of England, was planted in America, removed from the
manifold and complicated checks we have just been studying in the
history of the Old World, the growth was portentously rapid and steady.
There were no Attilas now to stand in the way,--only a Philip or a
Pontiac. The assaults of barbarism constituted only a petty annoyance as
compared with the conflict of ages which had gone on in Europe. There
was no occasion for society to assume a military aspect. Principles of
self-government were at once put into operation, and no one thought of
calling them in question. When the neighbouring civilization of inferior
type--I allude to the French in Canada--began to become seriously
troublesome, it was struck down at a blow. When the mother-country,
under the guidance of an ignorant king and short-sighted ministers,
undertook to act upon the antiquated theory that the new communities
were merely groups of trading-stations, the political bond of connection
was severed; yet the war which ensued was not like the war which had but
just now been so gloriously ended by the victory of Wolfe. It was not a
struggle between two different peoples, like the French of the Old
Regime and the English, each representing antagonistic theories of how
political life ought to be conducted. But, like the Barons' War of the
thirteenth century and the Parliament's War of the seventeenth, it was a
struggle sustained by a part of the English people in behalf of
principles that time has shown to be equally dear to all. And so the
issue only made it apparent to an astonished world that instead of _one_
there were now _two Englands_, alike prepared to work with might and
main toward the political regeneration of mankind.

Let us consider now to what conclusions the rapidity and unabated
steadiness of the increase of the English race in America must lead us
as we go on to forecast the future. Carlyle somewhere speaks slightingly
of the fact that the Americans double their numbers every twenty years,
as if to have forty million dollar-hunters in the world were any better
than to have twenty million dollar-hunters! The implication that
Americans are nothing but dollar-hunters, and are thereby
distinguishable from the rest of mankind, would not perhaps bear too
elaborate scrutiny. But during the present lecture we have been
considering the gradual transfer of the preponderance of physical
strength from the hands of the war-loving portion of the human race into
the hands of the peace-loving portion,--into the hands of the
dollar-hunters, if you please, but out of the hands of the
scalp-hunters. Obviously to double the numbers of a pre-eminently
industrious, peaceful, orderly, and free-thinking community, is somewhat
to increase the weight in the world of the tendencies that go towards
making communities free and orderly and peaceful and industrious. So
that, from this point of view, the fact we are speaking of is well worth
considering, even for its physical dimensions. I do not know whether the
United States could support a population everywhere as dense as that of
Belgium; so I will suppose that, with ordinary improvement in
cultivation and in the industrial arts, we might support a population
half as dense as that of Belgium,--and this is no doubt an extremely
moderate supposition. Now a very simple operation in arithmetic will
show that this means a population of fifteen hundred millions, or more
than the population of the whole world at the present date. Another
very simple operation in arithmetic will show that if we were to go on
doubling our numbers, even once in every twenty-five years, we should
reach that stupendous figure at about the close of the twentieth
century,--that is, in the days of our great-greatgrandchildren. I do not
predict any such result, for there are discernible economic reasons for
believing that there will be a diminution in the rate of increase. The
rate must nevertheless continue to be very great, in the absence of such
causes as formerly retarded the growth of population in Europe. Our
modern wars are hideous enough, no doubt, but they are short. They are
settled with a few heavy blows, and the loss of life and property
occasioned by them is but trifling when compared with the awful ruin and
desolation wrought by the perpetual and protracted contests of antiquity
and of the Middle Ages. Chronic warfare, both private and public,
periodic famines, and sweeping pestilences like the Black Death,--these
were the things which formerly shortened human life and kept down
population. In the absence of such causes, and with the abundant
capacity of our country for feeding its people, I think it an extremely
moderate statement if we say that by the end of the next century the
English race in the United States will number at least six or seven
hundred millions.

It used to be said that so huge a people as this could not be kept
together as a single national aggregate,--or, if kept together at all,
could only be so by means of a powerful centralized government, like
that of ancient Rome under the emperors. I think we are now prepared to
see that this is a great mistake. If the Roman Empire could have
possessed that political vitality in all its parts which is secured to
the United States by the principles of equal representation and of
limited state sovereignty, it might well have defied all the shocks
which tribally-organized barbarism could ever have directed against it.
As it was, its strong centralized government did _not_ save it from
political disintegration. One of its weakest political features was
precisely this,--that its "strong centralized government" was a kind of
close corporation, governing a score of provinces in its own interest
rather than in the interest of the provincials. In contrast with such a
system as that of the Roman Empire, the skilfully elaborated American
system of federalism appears as one of the most important contributions
that the English race has made to the general work of civilization. The
working out of this feature in our national constitution, by Hamilton
and Madison and their associates, was the finest specimen of
constructive statesmanship that the world has ever seen. Not that these
statesmen originated the principle, but they gave form and expression to
the principle which was latent in the circumstances under which the
group of American colonies had grown up, and which suggested itself so
forcibly that the clear vision of these thinkers did not fail to seize
upon it as the fundamental principle upon which alone could the affairs
of a great people, spreading over a vast continent, be kept in a
condition approaching to something like permanent peace. Stated broadly,
so as to acquire somewhat the force of a universal proposition, the
principle of federalism is just this:--that the people of a state shall
have full and entire control of their own domestic affairs, which
directly concern them only, and which they will naturally manage with
more intelligence and with more zeal than any distant governing body
could possibly exercise; but that, as regards matters of common concern
between a group of states, a decision shall in every case be reached,
not by brutal warfare or by weary diplomacy, but by the systematic
legislation of a central government which represents both states and
people, and whose decisions can always be enforced, if necessary, by
the combined physical power of all the states. This principle, in
various practical applications, is so familiar to Americans to-day that
we seldom pause to admire it, any more than we stop to admire the air
which we breathe or the sun which gives us light and life. Yet I believe
that if no other political result than this could to-day be pointed out
as coming from the colonization of America by Englishmen, we should
still be justified in regarding that event as one of the most important
in the history of mankind. For obviously the principle of federalism, as
thus broadly stated, contains within itself the seeds of permanent peace
between nations; and to this glorious end I believe it will come in the
fulness of time.

And now we may begin to see distinctly what it was that the American
government fought for in the late civil war,--a point which at the time
was by no means clearly apprehended outside the United States. We used
to hear it often said, while that war was going on, that we were
fighting not so much for the emancipation of the negro as for the
maintenance of our federal union; and I well remember that to many who
were burning to see our country purged of the folly and iniquity of
negro slavery this used to seem like taking a low and unrighteous view
of the case. From the stand-point of universal history it was
nevertheless the correct and proper view. The emancipation of the negro,
as an incidental result of the struggle, was a priceless gain which was
greeted warmly by all right-minded people. But deeper down than this
question, far more subtly interwoven with the innermost fibres of our
national well-being, far heavier laden too with weighty consequences for
the future weal of all mankind, was the question whether this great
pacific principle of union joined with independence should be overthrown
by the first deep-seated social difficulty it had to encounter, or
should stand as an example of priceless value to other ages and to other
lands. The solution was well worth the effort it cost. There have been
many useless wars, but this was not one of them, for more than most wars
that have been, it was fought in the direct interest of peace, and the
victory so dearly purchased and so humanely used was an earnest of
future peace and happiness for the world.

The object, therefore, for which the American government fought, was the
perpetual maintenance of that peculiar state of things which the federal
union had created,--a state of things in which, throughout the whole
vast territory over which the Union holds sway, questions between
states, like questions between individuals, must be settled by legal
argument and judicial decisions and not by wager of battle. Far better
to demonstrate this point once for all, at whatever cost, than to be
burdened hereafter, like the states of Europe, with frontier fortresses
and standing armies and all the barbaric apparatus of mutual suspicion!
For so great an end did this most pacific people engage in an obstinate
war, and never did any war so thoroughly illustrate how military power
may be wielded, when necessary, by a people that has passed entirely
from the military into the industrial stage of civilization. The events
falsified all the predictions that were drawn from the contemplation of
societies less advanced politically. It was thought that so peaceful a
people could not raise a great army on demand; yet within a twelvemonth
the government had raised five hundred thousand men by voluntary
enlistment. It was thought that a territory involving military
operations at points as far apart as Paris and Moscow could never be
thoroughly conquered; yet in April 1865 the federal armies might have
inarched from end to end of the Gulf States without meeting any force to
oppose them. It was thought that the maintenance of a great army would
beget a military temper in the Americans and lead to manifestations of
Bonapartism,--domestic usurpation and foreign aggression; yet the moment
the work was done the great army vanished, and a force of twenty-five
thousand men was found sufficient for the military needs of the whole
country. It was thought that eleven states which had struggled so hard
to escape from the federal tie could not be re-admitted to voluntary
co-operation in the general government, but must henceforth be held as
conquered territory,--a most dangerous experiment for any free people to
try. Yet within a dozen years we find the old federal relations resumed
in all their completeness, and the disunion party powerless and
discredited in the very states where once it had wrought such mischief.
Nay more, we even see a curiously disputed presidential election, in
which the votes of the southern states were given almost with unanimity
to one of the candidates, decided quietly by a court of arbitration; and
we see a universal acquiescence in the decision, even in spite of a
general belief that an extraordinary combination of legal subtleties
resulted in adjudging the presidency to the candidate who was not
really elected.

Such has been the result of the first great attempt to break up the
federal union in America. It is not probable that another attempt can
ever be made with anything like an equal chance of success. Here were
eleven states, geographically contiguous, governed by groups of men who
for half a century had pursued a well-defined policy in common, united
among themselves and marked off from most of the other states by a
difference far more deeply rooted in the groundwork of society than any
mere economic difference,--the difference between slave-labour and
free-labour. These eleven states, moreover, held such an economic
relationship with England that they counted upon compelling the naval
power of England to be used in their behalf. And finally it had not yet
been demonstrated that the maintenance of the federal union was
something for which the great mass of the people would cheerfully fight.
Never could the experiment of secession be tried, apparently, under
fairer auspices; yet how tremendous the defeat! It was a defeat that
wrought conviction,--the conviction that no matter how grave the
political questions that may arise hereafter, they must be settled in
accordance with the legal methods the Constitution has provided, and
that no state can be allowed to break the peace. It is the thoroughness
of this conviction that has so greatly facilitated the reinstatement of
the revolted states in their old federal relations; and the good sense
and good faith with which the southern people, in spite of the chagrin
of defeat, have accepted the situation and acted upon it, is something
unprecedented in history, and calls for the warmest sympathy and
admiration on the part of their brethren of the north. The federal
principle in America has passed through this fearful ordeal and come out
stronger than ever; and we trust it will not again be put to so severe a
test. But with this principle unimpaired, there is no reason why any
further increase of territory or of population should overtask the
resources of our government.

In the United States of America a century hence we shall therefore
doubtless have a political aggregation immeasurably surpassing in power
and in dimensions any empire that has as yet existed. But we must now
consider for a moment the probable future career of the English race in
other parts of the world. The colonization of North America by
Englishmen had its direct effects upon the eastern as well as upon the
western side of the Atlantic. The immense growth of the commercial and
naval strength of England between the time of Cromwell and the time of
the elder Pitt was intimately connected with the colonization of North
America and the establishment of plantations in the West Indies. These
circumstances reacted powerfully upon the material development of
England, multiplying manifold the dimensions of her foreign trade,
increasing proportionately her commercial marine, and giving her in the
eighteenth century the dominion over the seas. Endowed with this
maritime supremacy, she has with an unerring instinct proceeded to seize
upon the keys of empire in all parts of the world,--Gibraltar, Malta,
the isthmus of Suez, Aden, Ceylon, the coasts of Australia, island after
island in the Pacific,--every station, in short, that commands the
pathways of maritime commerce, or guards the approaches to the barbarous
countries which she is beginning to regard as in some way her natural
heritage. Any well-filled album of postage-stamps is an eloquent
commentary on this maritime supremacy of England. It is enough to turn
one's head to look over her colonial blue-books. The natural outcome of
all this overflowing vitality it is not difficult to foresee. No one can
carefully watch what is going on in Africa to-day without recognizing it
as the same sort of thing which was going on in North America in the
seventeenth century; and it cannot fail to bring forth similar results
in course of time. Here is a vast country, rich in beautiful scenery and
in resources of timber and minerals, with a salubrious climate and
fertile soil, with great navigable rivers and inland lakes, which will
not much longer be left in control of tawny lions and long-eared
elephants and negro fetich-worshippers. Already five flourishing English
states have been established in the south, besides the settlements on
the Gold Coast and those at Aden commanding the Red Sea. English
explorers work their way, with infinite hardship, through its
untravelled wilds, and track the courses of the Congo and the Nile as
their forefathers tracked the Potomac and the Hudson. The work of La
Salle and Smith is finding its counterpart in the labours of Baker and
Livingstone. Who can doubt that within two or three centuries the
African continent will be occupied by a mighty nation of English
descent, and covered with populous cities and flourishing farms, with
railroads and telegraphs and other devices of civilization as yet
undreamed of?

If we look next to Australia, we find a country of more than two-thirds
the area of the United States, with a temperate climate and immense
resources, agricultural and mineral,--a country sparsely peopled by a
race of irredeemable savages hardly above the level of brutes. Here
England within the present century has planted six greatly thriving
states, concerning which I have not time to say much, but one fact will
serve as a specimen. When in America we wish to illustrate in one word
the wonderful growth of our so-called north-western states, we refer to
Chicago,--a city of half-a-million inhabitants standing on a spot which
fifty years ago was an uninhabited marsh. In Australia the city of
Melbourne was founded in 1837, the year when the present queen of
England began to reign, and the state of which it is the capital was
hence called Victoria. This city, now[16] just forty-three years old,
has a population half as great as that of Chicago, has a public library
of 200,000 volumes, and has a university with at least one professor of
world-wide renown. When we see, by the way, within a period of five
years and at such remote points upon the earth's surface, such erudite
and ponderous works in the English language issuing from the press as
those of Professor Hearn of Melbourne, of Bishop Colenso of Natal, and
of Mr. Hubert Bancroft of San Francisco,--even such a little commonplace
fact as this is fraught with wonderful significance when we think of all
that it implies. Then there is New Zealand, with its climate of
perpetual spring, where the English race is now multiplying faster than
anywhere else in the world unless it be in Texas and Minnesota. And
there are in the Pacific Ocean many rich and fertile spots where we
shall very soon see the same things going on.

It is not necessary to dwell upon such considerations as these. It is
enough to point to the general conclusion, that the work which the
English race began when it colonized North America is destined to go on
until every land on the earth's surface that is not already the seat of
an old civilization shall become English in its language, in its
political habits and traditions, and to a predominant extent in the
blood of its people. The day is at hand when, four-fifths of the human
race will trace its pedigree to English forefathers, as four-fifths of
the white people in the United States trace their pedigree to-day. The
race thus spread over both hemispheres, and from the rising to the
setting sun, will not fail to keep that sovereignty of the sea and that
commercial supremacy which it began to acquire when England first
stretched its arm across the Atlantic to the shores of Virginia and
Massachusetts. The language spoken by these great communities will not
be sundered into dialects like the language of the ancient Romans, but
perpetual intercommunication and the universal habit of reading and
writing will preserve its integrity; and the world's business will be
transacted by English-speaking people to so great an extent, that
whatever language any man may have learned in his infancy he will find
it necessary sooner or later to learn to express his thoughts in
English. And in this way it is by no means improbable that, as Grimm the
German and Candolle the Frenchman long since foretold, the language of
Shakespeare may ultimately become the language of mankind.

In view of these considerations as to the stupendous future of the
English race, does it not seem very probable that in due course of time
Europe--which has learned some valuable lessons from America
already--will find it worth while to adopt the lesson of federalism?
Probably the European states, in order to preserve their relative weight
in the general polity of the world, will find it necessary to do so. In
that most critical period of American history between the winning of
independence and the framing of the Constitution, one of the strongest
of the motives which led the confederated states to sacrifice part of
their sovereignty by entering into a federal union was their keen sense
of their weakness when taken severally. In physical strength such a
state as Massachusetts at that time amounted to little more than Hamburg
or Bremen; but the thirteen states taken together made a nation of
respectable power. Even the wonderful progress we have made in a century
has not essentially changed this relation of things. Our greatest state,
New York, taken singly, is about the equivalent of Belgium; our weakest
state, Nevada, would scarcely be a match for tha county of Dorset; yet
the United States, taken together, are probably at this moment the
strongest nation in the world.

Now a century hence, with a population of six hundred millions in the
United States, and a hundred and fifty millions in Australia and New
Zealand, to say nothing of the increase of power in other parts of the
English-speaking world, the relative weights will be very different from
what they were in 1788. The population of Europe will not increase in
anything like the same proportion, and a very considerable part of the
increase will be transferred by emigration to the English-speaking world
outside of Europe. By the end of the twentieth century such nations as
France and Germany can only claim such a relative position in the
political world as Holland and Switzerland now occupy. Their greatness
in thought and scholarship, in industrial and aesthetic art, will
doubtless continue unabated. But their political weights will severally
have come to be insignificant; and as we now look back, with historic
curiosity, to the days when Holland was navally and commercially the
rival of England, so people will then need to be reminded that there was
actually once a time when little France was the most powerful nation on
the earth. It will then become as desirable for the states of Europe to
enter into a federal union as it was for the states of North America a
century ago.

It is only by thus adopting the lesson of federalism that Europe can do
away with the chances of useless warfare which remain so long as its
different states own no allegiance to any common authority. War, as we
have seen, is with barbarous races both a necessity and a favourite
occupation. As long as civilization comes into contact with barbarism,
it remains a too frequent necessity. But as between civilized and
Christian nations it is a wretched absurdity. One sympathizes keenly
with wars such as that which Russia has lately concluded, for setting
free a kindred race endowed with capacity for progress, and for humbling
the worthless barbarian who during four centuries has wrought such
incalculable damage to the European world. But a sanguinary struggle for
the Rhine frontier, between two civilized Christian nations who have
each enough work to do in ithe world without engaging in such a strife
as this, will, I am sure, be by and by condemned by the general opinion
of mankind. Such questions will have to be settled by discussion in some
sort of federal council or parliament, if Europe would keep pace with
America in the advance towards universal law and order. All will admit
that such a state of things is a great desideratum: let us see if it is
really quite so utopian as it may seem at the first glance. No doubt the
lord who dwelt in Haddon Hall in the fifteenth century would have
thought it very absurd if you had told him that within four hundred
years it would not be necessary for country gentlemen to live in great
stone dungeons with little cross-barred windows and loopholes from which
to shoot at people going by. Yet to-day a country gentleman in some
parts of Massachusetts may sleep securely without locking his
front-door. We have not yet done away with robbery and murder, but we
have at least made private warfare illegal; we have arrayed public
opinion against it to such an extent that the police-court usually makes
short shrift for the misguided man who tries to wreak vengeance on his
enemy. Is it too much to hope that by and by we may similarly put public
warfare under the ban? I think not. Already in America, as wre have
seen, it has become customary to deal with questions between states just
as we would deal with questions between individuals. This we have seen
to be the real purport of American federalism. To have established such
a system ovrer one great continent is to have made a very good beginning
towards establishing it over the world. To establish such a system in
Europe will no doubt be difficult, for here we have to deal with an
immense complication of prejudices, intensified by linguistic and
ethnological differences. Nevertheless the pacific pressure exerted upon
Europe by America is becoming so great that it will doubtless before
long overcome all these obstacles. I refer to the industrial competition
between the old and the new worlds, which has become so conspicuous
within the last ten years. Agriculturally Minnesota, Nebraska, and
Kansas are already formidable competitors with England, France, and
Germany; but this is but the beginning. It is but the first spray from
the tremendous wave of economic competition that is gathering in the
Mississippi valley. By and by, when our shameful tariff--falsely called
"protective"--shall have been done away with, and our manufacturers
shall produce superior articles at less cost of raw material, we shall
begin to compete with European countries in all the markets of the
world; and the competition in manufactures will become as keen as it is
now beginning to be in agriculture. This time will not be long in
coming, for our tariff-system has already begun to be discussed, and in
the light of our present knowledge discussion means its doom. Born of
crass ignorance and self-defeating greed, it cannot bear the light. When
this curse to American labour--scarcely less blighting than the; curse
of negro slavery--shall have been once removed, the economic pressure
exerted upon Europe by the United States will soon become very great
indeed. It will not be long before this economic pressure will make it
simply impossible for the states of Europe to keep up such military
armaments as they are now maintaining. The disparity between the United
States, with a standing army of only twenty-five thousand men withdrawn
from industrial pursuits, and the states of Europe, with their standing
armies amounting to four millions of men, is something that cannot
possibly be kept up. The economic competition will become so keen that
European armies will have to be disbanded, the swords will have to be
turned into ploughshares, and _thus_ the victory of the industrial over
the military type of civilization will at last become complete. But to
disband the great armies of Europe will necessarily involve the forcing
of the great states of Europe into some sort of federal relation, in
which Congresses--already held on rare occasions--will become more
frequent, in which the principles of international law will acquire a
more definite sanction, and in which the combined physical power of all
the states will constitute (as it now does in America) a permanent
threat against any state that dares to wish for selfish reasons to break
the peace. In some such way as this, I believe, the industrial
development of the English race outside of Europe will by and by enforce
federalism upon Europe. As regards the serious difficulties that grow
out of prejudices attendant upon differences in language, race, and
creed, a most valuable lesson is furnished us by the history of
Switzerland. I am inclined to think that the greatest contribution which
Switzerland has made to the general progress of civilization has been to
show us how such obstacles can be surmounted, even on a small scale. To
surmount them on a great scale will soon become the political problem of
Europe; and it is America which has set the example and indicated
the method.

Thus we may foresee in general outline how, through the gradual
concentration of the preponderance of physical power into the hands of
the most pacific communities, the wretched business of warfare must
finally become obsolete all over the globe. The element of distance is
now fast becoming eliminated from political problems, and the history of
human progress politically will continue in the future to be what it has
been in the past,--the history of the successive union of groups of men
into larger and more complex aggregates. As this process goes on, it may
after many more ages of political experience become apparent that there
is really no reason, in the nature of things, why the whole of mankind
should not constitute politically one huge federation,--each little
group managing its local affairs in entire independence, but relegating
all questions of international interest to the decision of one central
tribunal supported by the public opinion of the entire human race. I
believe that the time will come when such a state of things will exist
upon the earth, when it will be possible (with our friends of the Paris
dinner-party) to speak of the UNITED STATES as stretching from pole to
pole,--or, with Tennyson, to celebrate the "parliament of man and the
federation of the world." Indeed, only when such a state of things has
begun to be realized, can Civilization, as sharply demarcated from
Barbarism, be said to have fairly begun. Only then can the world be said
to have become truly Christian. Many ages of toil and doubt and
perplexity will no doubt pass by before such a desideratum is reached.
Meanwhile it is pleasant to feel that the dispassionate contemplation of
great masses of historical facts goes far towards confirming our faith
in this ultimate triumph of good over evil. Our survey began with
pictures of horrid slaughter and desolation: it ends with the picture of
a world covered with cheerful homesteads, blessed with a sabbath of
perpetual peace.

[Footnote 1: Freeman, "Norman Conquest," v. 482.]

[Footnote 2: Freeman, "Comparative Politics," 264.]

[Footnote 3: This is disputed, however. See Ross, "Early History of
Landholding among the Germans."]

[Footnote 4: Stubbs, "Constitutional History," i. 84.]

[Footnote 5: Kemble, "Saxons in England," i. 59.]

[Footnote 6: Maine, "Village Communities," Lond., 1871, p. 132.]

[Footnote 7: Stubbs, "Constitutional History," i. 85.]

[Footnote 8: Freeman, "Comparative Politics," 118.]

[Footnote 9: Geffroy, "Rome et les Barbares," 209.]

[Footnote 10: Maine, "Village Communities," 118.]

[Footnote 11: Stubbs, "Constitutional History," i. 625.]

[Footnote 12: Stubbs, "Select Charters," 401.]

[Footnote 13: "La Cité Antique," 441.]

[Footnote 14: Arnold, "Roman Provincial Administration," 237.]

[Footnote 15: Stubbs, "Select Charters," 401.]

[Footnote 16: In 1880.]


Achaian league
Aetolian league
Africa, English colonies in
Albany Congress
Amphiktyonic Council
Arable mark
Armada, the Invincible
Armies of Europe will be disbanded
Arnold, M.
Athens, grandeur of
  incorporated demes of Attika,
  old tribal divisions modified,
  school of political training
  maritime empire of

Baker, Sir S.
Bancroft, Hubert
Barons, war of the
Bonaparte, N.
Boroughs, special privileges of
Boston, growth of
  its Common
Boundaries of United States

Caesar, J.
California, social experiments in
Canada under Old Régime
Candolle, A. de,
Carlyle on dollar-hunters,
Centralized government, weakness of,
Châlons, battle of,
Charles I.,
Charles the Bold,
Charles Martel,
Charles the Great,
Chatham, Lord,
Church, mediaeval,
Cities in England and America,
  origin of,
City, the ancient,
Civilization, its primary phase,
  long threatened by neighbouring barbarism,
Clan-system of political union,
Claudius, emperor,
Clement IV.,
Cleveland, city of.
Colenso, J.W.
Colonies, how founded,
Commons, House of,
Commons, origin of,
Communal farming in England,
Communal landholding,
Competition, industrial, between Europe and America,
Confederation, articles of,
Connecticut, men of, defy James II.,
Constitution of the United States,
Continentals and British,
Cromwell, O.,

Delian confederacy,
Departments of France,
Dependencies, danger of governing them despotically,
Didius Julianus,
Domestic service in a New England village,
Dover, men of, throw papal bull into sea,
Dutch republic,

Eden, Chuzzlewit's,
Electoral commission,
Emancipation of slaves,
England, maritime supremacy of
English colonization
  language, future of
  self-government, how preserved,

Federal union on great scale,
  conditions of
  its durableness lies in its flexibility
Federalism, pacific implications of
  will be adopted by Europe
Federation and conquest
Federations in Greece
Feudal system, origin of
Fick, A.
France, political development of
  contrasted with England as a colonizer
France and Germany, their late war
  their political weight a century hence
Francis I.
Franklin, B.
Freeman, E.A.
French villages

Gaul, Roman conquest of
Germany conquered and converted by Charles the Great
Great states, method of forming,
  notion of their having an inherent tendency to break up
  difficulty of forming
Grimm, J.

Haddon Hall
Hamilton, A.
Hampden, J.
Hannibal's invasion of Italy
Hearn, Professor
Henry VIII.
Hindustan, village communities in
  cities in
Howard of Effingham
Hunnish invasion of Europe

Iroquois tribes

James II.
Jinghis Khan,
Judiciary, federal,

Kemble, J.,
Kingship among ancient Teutons,

La Salle, R.,
Leo's defeat of the Saracens,
Lewes, battle of,
Liegnitz, battle of,
Lincoln, A.,
Lincoln, city of,
Livingstone, Dr.,
London, growth of,
Louis VI.,
Louis XIV.,

Madison, J.,
Maine, Sir II.,
Manorial courts,
Manors, origin of,
March meetings in New England,
Marius, C.,
  in England,
  meaning of the word,
May assemblies in Switzerland,
Melbourne, city of,
Middle Ages, turbulence of,
Military strength of civilized world, its increase,
Mir, or Russian village,
Mongolian Khans in Russia,
Montfort, S. de,

Naseby, battle of,
Navies less dangerous than standing armies,
Nelson's statue in Trafalgar Square,
New England confederacy,
New York,
New Zealand,
Norman conquest,
North America, struggle for possession of,


Paris, American dinner-party in,
Parish, its relation to township,
Parkman, F.
Pax romana
Peace of the world, how secured,
Peerage of England
Peloponnesian war
Persian war against Greece
Philip, King
Pictet, A.
Population of United States a century hence
Private property in land
Problem of political civilization
Protestantism and Catholicism, political question at stake between
Prussia conquered by Teutonic knights
Puritans of New England, their origin

Quebec, Wolfe's victory at

Rebellion against Charles I.
Redivision of arable lands
Re-election of town officers
Representation unknown to Greeks and Romans
  origin of
  federal, in United States
Rhode Island
Roman law
Rome, plebeian revolution at
  early stages of
  secret of its power
  advantages of its dominion
  causes of its political failure,
  powerful influence of, in Middle Ages
  meaning of its great wars
Roses, wars of the
Ross, D.
Russia, Mongolian conquest of
  village communities in
  its late war against the Turks
  its despotic government contrasted with that of France under Old Régime

Secession, war of
Self-government preserved in England
  lost in France
Shottery, cottage at
Smith, J.
Social war
South Carolina
Spain, Roman conquest of
State sovereignty in America
Strategic position of England
Stubbs, W.
Swiss cantonal assemblies
Switzerland, lesson of its history
  self-government preserved in

Tariff in America
Tax-taking despotisms
Tennyson, A.
Teutonic civilization contrasted with Graeco-Roman
Teutonic knights
Teutonic village communities
Thirty Years' War
Tourist in United States
Town, meaning of the word
Town-meetings, origin of
Town-names formed from patronymics
Township in New England,
  in western states
Tribe and shire

Victoria, Australia
Villages of New England
Virginia, parishes in

Wallace, D.M.
War of independence
Warfare, universal in early times
  how diminished
  interferes with political development
  less destructive now than in ancient times
  how effectively waged by the most pacific of peoples
Washington, city of
Washington, G.
William III.
Wolfe's victory at Quebec



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