« AnteriorContinuar »
nations. This has appeared in all places occupied by them and throughout all the periods of their history. The effect of such a political character has always been the organization of the Celtic nations into numberless petty military states; in each of which individual rights have been always ignored ; between all of which civil war has been the permanent status; and against all of which foreign force has been continually successful. Neither in highest nor lowest instance have they created, or can they create, political institutions of a superior order. Many examples of reckless courage and touching personal devotion are to be met with in their history, but they have never manifested any consciousness of political principles or developed any constancy in political purpose. Government has always been to them a personal affair, and they have never appeared to be conscious of committing any political wrong in using its powers for personal advantage. Violence and corruption have always marked the politics of Celtic nations. These are failings, on their part, rather than positive vices. They spring from the want of political genius rather than from vicious political character. The Celtic nations have always been compelled finally to suffer political organization by foreign talent, and have therefore become subject nations. It would be irrational to dismiss this fact with a phrase of indignation concerning unrighteous spolia. tion. The Celtic nations were more warlike than either the Roman or the German. Had they possessed fair talent for political organization, they would have been irresistible: Italy, France and Britain would to-day be subject to them. Whatever their gift may be, it certainly is not, and never has been, political, and their subjection to politically endowed nations in state organization is both natural and necessary. Any other order of things would confound distinctions which are implanted in the psychologic character of nations.
1 Martin, Histoire de France, Vol. I, p. 45 ff.; Prichard, History of Mankind, Vol. III, p. 175.
Third. On the other hand, the Roman or Latin nations have shown from the earliest beginnings of their history great political and legal genius. The organization of government and the legal formulation of rights were the problems for the solution of which they seemed peculiarly called. But the juristic and political faculties are themselves not simple, but compound. In any particular nation some of their elements may exist in much higher degree than others, and vice versa. The Teutons are also nations of high political and legal endowment, as we shall see further on, but differing widely from the Romans in the composition of their genius, as will appear in the organizations created by them. A further discrimination is therefore necessary. What part of the great problem of legal and political organization has been worked out by the genius of the Roman, and what other part by that of the Teuton? I cannot answer the first part of this question better than Professor Rudolph von Ihering has done in the introduction to his brilliant and suggestive work, Geist des römischen Rechts. “Three times," he writes, "has Rome dictated the order of the world ; three times has she bound the nations in unity together: the first time, when the Roman people were still in the fulness of their power, in the unity of the state; the second time, after they had fallen into decline, in the unity of the church; the third time, in consequence of the reception of the civil law in the middle ages, in the unity of rights, - the first time by the force of arms, but the second and third times by the power of ideas. The world-historic significance and mission of Rome, expressed in a single word, is the triumph of the principle of universality over national diversity.”] The universal empire is the institution peculiar to the Roman political genius. Its creation is a majestic work of political capacity and power. Theoretically, at least, it solves the question of defence of the state against the external foe; in fact, the complete realization of its principle would leave no external foe. It would comprehend mankind within its organization. It also solves the question of the relation of all local organizations within the state ; in fact, in the complete realization of its principle there can be no local organization, except in the form of an imperial agency. On the other hand, it has its failings; and so soon as its mission has been fulfilled the mission of diffusing political civilization, of making it universal — these failings appear unendurable. But these failings are the necessary result of the imperial ideal itself. In the first place, it must sacrifice in large degree the liberty of the individual. Uniformity is its deepest law; and therefore its rule of individual conduct must be that what is not expressly permitted is forbidden. In the second place, it cannot popularize its government. Unity and fixedness of purpose must reign always and everywhere. In the long run this will stifle and destroy the capacity of the individual subject. His education and development must not only be neglected, but hindered and prevented, in order that his unquestioned obedience may be secured and preserved. In the third place, the empire must suppress all local autonomy. · Law and ordinance must be one and the same in every district and for every part of the population. In the fourth place, it must ignore and destroy all ethnical differences, for that, above all things, is its mission and its significance. It is of course possible that if the seat of the Roman Empire had remained in Rome instead of having been removed to Constantinople, and if the German invasion had been successfully repelled, the strong political genius of the Romans might in practice have found the remedy for these failings, and been able to reconcile uniformity with variety, sovereignty with liberty; but I do not think it probable. This was not the mission of the Romans in the civilization of the world, if history is to be taken as indisputable evidence of the missions of nations. This was the work reserved to the Teutonic nations.
1 Von Ihering, Geist des römischen Rechts, Bd. I, S. 1; Bluntschli, Lehre vom modernen Stat, Bd. I, S.S. 29, 41.
Fourth and last, we come to consider the political psychology of those nations which may be termed the political nations par excellence, viz; the Teutonic; and if the peculiar creations of these nations may be expressed in a single phrase, it must be this : that they are the founders of national states. It is not possible to divine whether this great work could have been accomplished by them without the training in Roman ideas received by them in the Carolingian Empire and the Roman Christian Church. The Teutons strove most earnestly and determinedly, during the earlier, pre-Frankish period of their political history, against even the necessary organization of the state, and came to the consciousness of their mission as the founders of national states, only after half a century of life in the European Empire of the great Charles ; but education can only develop what already exists in seed and germ, and we may therefore conclude that no amount of Roman discipline, which was distinctly anti-national in its universality, could have evolved the national idea unless this had been an original principle of Teutonic political genius. Even before their union with each other and with Romanic populations in the Frankish Empire, the continental Teutons showed this national tendency, in that their political organizations were co-extensive, generally, with the lines of dialect and custom. Their restlessness under, and resistance to, the system of the European Empire sprang from their feeling of its unnational character; and since the division of the Empire in 843 they have pursued, with a gradually but continually growing consciousness of their political mission, their work of establishing states upon the principle of national union and independence. Almost every state of modern Europe owes its organization to the Teutons. The Visigoths in Spain, the Suevi in Portugal, the Lombards in Italy, the Franks in France and Belgium, the AngloSaxons and Normans in England, the Scandinavian Teutons in Denmark, Norway and Sweden, and the Germans in Germany, Holland, Switzerland and Austria have been the dominant elements in the creation of these modern national states; and to-day Teutonic houses are organizing Greece, Rumania, and the principalities along the Danube, and even Russia. The United States also must be regarded as a Teutonic national state. In the light of history and of present fact, our propositions cannot be successfully disputed, that the significant production of the Teutonic political genius is the national state; that only the Teutonic nations have produced national states; and that they have proved their intense positive force in this direction by creating national states upon the basis of populations belonging to other races, even upon the basis of a population belonging to a race of so high political endowment as the Roman.
1 Laurent, Études sur l'histoire de l'humanité, Tome X, p. 43.
The national state is the most modern product of political history, political science and practical politics. It comes nearer to solving all the problems of political organization than any other system as yet developed. In the first place, it rescues the world from the monotony of the universal empire. This is an indispensable condition of political progress. We advance politically, as well as individually, by contact, competition and antagonism. The universal empire suppresses all this in its universal reign of peace, which means, in the long run, stagnation and despotism. At the same time, the national state solves the problem of the relation between states by the evolution of the system of international law. Through this it preserves most of the advantages of the universal empire while discarding its one-sided and intolerant character. In the second place, the national
1 Bluntschli, Lehre vom modernen Stat, Bd. I, S. 52 ff.