Page:Democratic Ideals and Reality (1919).djvu/18

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.


II

SOCIAL MOMENTUM

'To him that hath shall be given.'

In the year 1789 the lucid French People, in its brain-town of Paris, saw visions, generous visions—Liberty, Equality, Fraternity. But presently French Idealism lost its hold on Reality, and drifted into the grip of Fate, in the person of Napoleon. With his military efficiency Napoleon restored order, but in doing so organised a French Power the very law of whose being was a denial of Liberty. The story of the great French Revolution and Empire has influenced all subsequent political thought; it has seemed a tragedy in the old Greek sense of a disaster predestined in the very character of Revolutionary Idealism.

When, therefore, in 1848, the peoples of Europe were again in a vision-seeing mood, their idealism was of a more complex nature. The principle of Nationality was added to that of Liberty, in the hope that liberty might be secured against the overreaching